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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Robert Downey Jr. rejoins Ben Stiller in Mastermind


Moviehole recently announced that Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey could possibly star in the upcoming Ben Stiller produced animated film Mastermind. The film follows the trials and tribulations of a supervillain after killing off the hero, Uberman in the first few minutes of the film. The movie will be directed by Dreamworks Animation veterans Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson and has a screenplay written by Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons. Ben Stiller has also stated that he may provide the voice for the main character but he's unsure of it at this point.

The last superhero satire helmed by Ben Stiller was the critically panned Mystery Men. Though, Tropic Thunder which was both written and directed by Ben Stiller received critical acclaim and box office success alike. With this film reuniting Stiller and Downey Jr. could we have a Ben Stiller renaissance? this film is still a long way off but at least its looking slightly more promising than the Jerry Seinfeld produced Bee Movie.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Recapping Marvel's Summer 'Block Busters'

Summer is over, and everyone is back to school and back to work (even though business does not take a summer break), so I think a short re-cap of the MARVEL films that were anticipated should be discussed and see if they live up to what they we're expected to be.



IRON MAN

Robert Downey Jr. plays the newest Marvel Comics hero to hit the big screen - IRON MAN. Downey Jr. gives a fantastic performance as the new hero, surprising many, and setting a new standard for the Marvel films. Also, this film is the first film produces entirely by the new Marvel Studios.

The plot was nicely handled, and the change of Jarvis from a human to a robot system was well received. Jeff Bridges played a good villain who had reason for his motives, and Gwenyth Paltrow and Downey Jr. had fantastic chemistry that made the man and woman relationship fun and believable, with out the tacky standard of 'love story'. Samuel L Jackson after the credits was a good nod to the character of Nick Fury, and indeed a nice touch.

Even so... the Video Game was terrible, and one of the worst that has been made in years.

But- Did IRON MAN live up to its expectations? ABSOLUTELY


The Incredible Hulk




A few years ago, Ang Lee directed a film called 'HULK' starring Eric Bana, that wasn't exactly a hit. It went far too deep into an existential journey of family reconciliation, loss, acceptance, and hulk dogs. But - just because that one wasn't a hit, does not mean that this one is awesome by default.

Here are the problems with it. The Hulk is never running away from the action, as the Hulk is normally supposed to do. He has no idea who this villain is, why he is fighting him or if he should be. Also, the action was weak, his head was too small, and there was an absurdly weak love story. One fantastic shot, however, was of him and Liv Tyler sitting on some rocks in the canyon in the rain at night. That was good filmmaking. However, the rest is just a cat and mouse, pointless chase that ends with a lame and weak outcome.

Norton did a good job with his performance as Bruce Banner/ Hulk, and Tim Roth did a nice job as well, it's nice to see him on the big screen again. However it is a shame that most story and character development were glazed over. But- apparently 70 minutes of footage were cut, and I will certainly re-judge the movie when I have a chance to check out the DVD and see it in what should be its fullest form.

Even so... The Video Game was fantastic. Lots of fun, roaming the cities in a free-form world, doing things the Hulk does that are fun in games but don't satisfy at all in movie form.

But - Did THE INCREDIBLE HULK live up to its expectations? NOT AT ALL




With a reboot of 'The Punisher' franchise coming soon, as well as sequels to most previous Marvel films, and more avengers movies on the way, it looks like Marvel has a chance to make some more good things on the grill. Lets hope they don't get spoiled with the success of Iron Man and think anything they do is golden. Movies take work to make them good. Even if you already wrote the storyboard 50 years ago.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Follow Up: Kung Fu Gecko



This post is a follow up to the previous post about movie rip-offs from a few days ago (See: 'Spot The Difference' 8/18/08), where I spoke about out-of-country studios that pump out weird, low-quality knockoff's of already popular or soon to be released movies.

This is Kung Fu Gecko. A amazing LOOKING movie (Background and Rendering-wise), but the story seems to make no sense and the actual movement and animation sucks. However, the art is fantastic and near the same quality as that of a big budget studio film.






http://www.kungfugeckothemovie.com/

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Dark Knight: Through the Eyes of a Joker Fanatic (Annotated Version)


by Guest Contributor: Mark Donica

All right, so I’ve been a fan of Batman since I can remember. I know who Jervis Tetch is. Do you? Anyway, for as long as I’ve been a Batman fan, I have been a Joker fan. This was mostly due to Mark Hamill’s performance on Batman: The Animated Series. His characterization is part of the reason why I wanted to become a comedian. When I heard a rumor way back when that Mark Hamill was up for the role of the Joker, I was ecstatic. Then more people rose up to show interest, Adrien Brody (who I was for), Robin Williams and even Steve Carrell. So when it came to be known that Heath Ledger was going to be playing the Joker, the community let out a collective groan. Brokeback Mountain jokes commenced, but little did we know that one of the greatest young actors was developing, what in my opinion, was the greatest role of his career. When the Internet at large also found out that the Joker was not going to be his acid-bathed self. More scoffing. Oye.

Fast forward to July 2007, the first teaser trailer was released with the Simpsons Movie. Hearing Christian Bale was great, but the moment that I found out how great this movie was going to be was hearing the Jokers first dialogue. “Starting tonight, people will die. I’m a man of my word.” Hearing the cackle made my eyes widen and my stomach turn. It was perfect. I couldn’t wait to hear more. I hoped that this would be the epitome of what the Joker was supposed to be. After the movie wrapped, it was just a waiting game. Then a horrible tragedy happened. As you all know Heath Ledger died due to an accidental overdose. My biggest want became my biggest fear. If this WAS the excellent Joker performance that everybody wanted, we wouldn’t be able to get a repeat. My condolences go to his family and I hope that his daughter turns out okay.

This made the hype for “The Dark Knight” even bigger. So I went to the midnight showing at the nearest movie theatre with a great group of friends. We were with a group of devoted fans that couldn’t wait to see what Christopher Nolan had to offer. The teased us with the Joker first, then built up what the main movie storyline would be. The first full scene with the Joker showed exactly what we wanted to see, morbid comedy and disregard for everyone else as long as he gets what wants. He knows the inner workings of Batman because they are essentially the same person. He states every move that Batman is going to make before he makes it and gets it perfectly right. Except of course for the last one, assuming that if someone has a bad enough day, it will drive him or her mad. His changing of his back-story shows how deep into madness he has gone. In Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, the Joker himself says, “ If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” His “humor” made people laugh throughout the film despite how inhumane he acts. Never have the words “hospital”, “explosion”, and “gag” all been used as a phrase. That is indeed what it was, and everyone enjoyed it. One of the more subtle jokes that I enjoyed was when they were transferring Harvey. It was a sight gag that involved a fire truck. It was on fire. … GET IT?! See it’s subtle, hokey humor that the Joker is all about. His or her attention to detail was phenomenal and sadly, though the Joker is in Arkham, there is a very small chance that anyone would want to try to recreate Ledger’s performance in any way. The final thing that I will talk about in terms of the Joker’s character is in the interrogation scene. When the Joker’s said, “You complete me”, the crowd laughed a bit. Finally, someone got it right, without the Batman, the Joker would have never come to be. Without Batman, the Joker has no challenge. Actually, in the comics one time the Joker thought he did kill Batman. He became a regular guy by the name of Joseph Kerr, get it? Once he found out that Batman was still alive, he went crazy again. The Joker has no other equivalent and likes it that way, it’s fun to him. At one point, someone was auctioning off the knowledge of Batman’s secret identity, so the Joker shot him, similar to the occurrence in the film. In both, the Joker thought that if he or someone knew, it wouldn’t be fun anymore! That’s the idea, as long as it’s fun!

I could go on about the Joker forever (if you’d like me to, let me know, as I am well learned in the Clown Prince of Crime), but I will wrap this up with some speculation from a fans perspective. There are several little nods that could imply what villains could be in the next movie. I will simply tell the references that I noticed and can let you think of your own. I have mine, but I will let you know of what I think. The first is in one of the first scenes of the film. Bruce asks Lucius if his new armor will protect him against dogs. Lucius replies with, “It’ll work against cats.” Obviously a clue to fans that could mean Catwoman may be involved in the story soon. Clue number two, one of Bruce’s employees discovered his identity. Sounds like a man who loves to challenge his brain to riddles. Mister Reese sends the city into a panic with what he knows. Say it with me now, Mister Reese. A little bit faster now. Does that sound like mysteries to you? One who deals with mysteries? The Riddler is it? Maybe. Now, Harvey’s last toss was originally for Gordan’s son, but if the son was saved, why show how the coin landed, it wouldn’t have mattered. The coin could have been landing for Harvey. What do you think?

So this was longer than I intended, but actually, I could have written a lot more. If the gracious man known as Ezra would like me to write more on the subject of the future of the Batman franchise, I would love to do so.

Thanks for reading.


Editorial: Unnecessary Movie Sequels

by Guest Contributor: Mark Donica




Well hello everyone, this is going to be a little more of a rant, but it deals with a subject that is near and dear to my heart. So I was walking through the Target the other day when to my surprise I saw that there in fact exists, a sequel to one of the greatest movies of my childhood, “The Sandlot”. You know, I didn’t mind all of the crappy Disney sequels that have been put out (including the upcoming prequel to the Little Mermaid), but when you start messing with live action movies I grew up with, you’ve gone too far.

It got me to take a look at the entire trend of doing straight to VHS/DVD sequels and sequels in general. Obviously, it’s to make more money, but it has to get to a point where the studios question the purpose of their lives. The Disney generation that lived through the “Renaissance” is a gifted group. The best that Disney had to offer came out while we were kids and we have the opportunity to show those classics to our children. Now the only passable sequels were the first. The first were, of course, “The Return of Jafar” and “Aladdin and the King of Thieves”. These being the first, we didn’t know what to expect. “Jafar” was good enough, it had most of the cast returning, but of course the most notable member did not return, Robin Williams. Luckily he did for the final installment of the Aladdin series. Disney’s constant returning to the dried out well of story is thankfully coming to an end thanks to John Lasseter, so we can forget about movies like “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” and “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”. Bad sequels to good movies are one thing, but terrible sequels to bad movies have no excuse, but Disney has turned into a money grubbing company that doesn’t care about a child’s happiness.

My point is this, what is creative about doing a sequel to a fully fleshed out stand alone film if you can’t get the same (voice) actors or even crew for that matter. The Disney sequels are a good example, but a more recent example would be “Mummy 3: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”. It lacks several aspects of the first two films, most notably, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo and, I think, most importantly Steven Sommers so that already marks it down to maybe a 70%. Starting the movie at that percentage doesn’t leave it with that good of a chance to be very good. Even with Brendan Fraser attached to the film, the fact that their son has aged dramatically since the last film makes the film look confusing, especially since the new actor for the son is only a few years younger than Fraser. The movie couldn't overtake The Dark Knight, so it didn't have too much of an impact on the moviegoers who seem to be more interested in seeing The Joker blow up Gotham.

Sequels in general aren’t usually a good idea with original story ideas or even with some preconceived ideas. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to sequels, they can make good series’ even better, ala this summers Dark Knight to Batman Begins. As a matter of fact, tomorrow I will be giving Batman geek review of the Dark Knight. Now I’m sure you’ve read plenty of reviews of the film, but I’m just going to show what I enjoyed and certain things to watch for in the next movie, whenever it may come out. In terms of sequels, do we really need a Madagascar 2, or a Shrek 5, or a Star Wars 2.5? It is in this moviegoers opinion that no we do not. Let some stories alone so we don't have to get our hopes up with another "Spiderman 3" or "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull". Let the nostalgia, no matter how recent, live on in the minds of the moviegoer. Most people would gladly double dip on a DVD that has more special features then see their favorites get butchered. Seriously, don' even get me started on X-Men 3.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what's to come.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What They Smoked in "Pineapple Express"




Ever since the trailer for "Pineapple Express" came out, people have been wondering left and right, what did they actually smoke on set of the film.

Obviously, they did not smoke real marijuana, because that would have severely hampered the amount of takes they could shoot a scene, but now, it has been revealed what they really smoked.

It is a marijuana look-a-like / act-a-like known as 'Wizards Smoke', which is a legal alternative to marijuana. It produces the same amount and type of smoke, and also looks very similar in plant form. Apparently this has much less of a mental effect on the body than actual marijuana. According to James Franco "You can buy this at any smoke shop."

The case is closed on what Rogen and Franco smoked in both the film and at the MTV 2008 movie awards, as pictured above.


Ironically, Rogen was almost kicked out of the MAXIM party (San Diego, during Comic-Con 2008), which was a party honoring the Pineapple Express cast. Apparently, people noticed that Rogen's cigarette was laced with more than just normal tobacco. He was told to extinguish the cigarette or leave immediately.

Should have saved some of that 'Wizards Smoke' from the shooting. I'm sure there was plenty left over.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spot The Difference



Remember back in the 90's when you would go to the video store to rent Aladdin, and you would come out with Aladdin, but it would be a crummy knock off about a guy named Aladdin but not the same story at all... and the animation sucked. This is the result of studios like "Video Brinquedo", a Brazilian based company that takes every good Pixar and Dreamworks movie, and pumps out a really sh***y version two or three days later.

Please... for your consideration... here are the looser trailers and the trailers for the real Dreamworks / Pixar movies. Tell me if you can spot the differences.

NOTE*** Everytime I am at a store that is selling this insult to film, I take it off the shelf and hide it. I expect you to do the same. Even if you work for the company that made this.


TINY ROBOTS / WALL-E (I had to use a user posted trailer, because the company does not have embed code for this one)






LITTLE CARS / CARS (Here is just a clip from 'Little Cars'






LITTLE PANDA FIGHTER / KUNG FU PANDA





LITTLE BEE / BEE MOVIE (The trailer is kinda dubbed cause the company won't allow me to embed it)






and the best one...

RATATOING / RATATOUILLE









Read more about Vídeo Brinquedo here!

Jump Back in Time to: And God Created Woman (French Film)




Maybe you are rushing off to theaters this weekend to check out some dry new films like "Space Chimps" and "Fly Me to the Moon", but i'm going to suggest you go to the video rental store instead and pick up a copy of "Et Dieu... créa la femme". Yeah, its a French film from 1956, and its decently boring, but let me tell you why this is easily the greatest movie on earth.

"Et Dieu... créa la femme" roughly translates to "and God created woman" and the wonderful tagline is "but the Devil invented Brigitte Bardot!" Which pretty much means that Brigitte is a woman who needs to be tamed by the movies end.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Upcoming: Anchorman Sequel is Moon Bound


In an interview with MTV's Movie Blog Paul Rudd mentioned that an Anchorman sequel is very possible after Adam McKay finishes his next project, Channel 3 Billion which is slated for a summer 2010 release date. He told MTV...
"Last I heard they were starting to write it and they were thinking about setting it in the eighties, [But] I know when we were shooting it [director] Adam [McKay] said if they ever did something it would have to be really weird like we were on the moon or something. I think it has to go even further if it was to work.”
at the Movie Watch, we'd advise taking this tidbit with a grain of salt. McKay's Channel 3 Billion will have a futuristic sci-fi dystopian television theme to it and to go immediately to an Anchorman sequel on the moon would seem a little too soon for the director. It could wind up being a minor quirk in the movie much like how in the original script there was planned to be a scene where Ron Burgundy would be singing with sharks in an Aquarium. With the release date so far off, anything can really happen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Siggraph 2008 - New Information Revealed!



Another Siggraph has come and gone. For those who do not know, Siggraph is a convetion devoted to Film Technology, Animation, Special Effects, and other Film Media. This year it was held in Los Angeles, at the LA Convention Center. Many studios and effects houses were in attendance, including, Laika, LucasArts, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PIXAR, Image Movers Digital, Blue Sky, Autodesk, and many many more. Each had its own booth full of displays and demos, ready to show to the masses and line up some incredible stuff for the coming year.

Motion Capture technology is moving away from the little suits with balls on them, to suits with bend-proof metal straps that allow the user to capture motion to a computer with absolutely no cameras, and easily trackable data.




Robert Zemekis' "A Christmas Carol" looks absolutely fantastic. Many of the sets are more epic than Beowulf, and the graphics are even more astounding. Jim Carrey plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a crotchety old man who hate everything except money, as well as plays the three ghosts that help him change his life for the better. As more images are released, they will be posted here.



3D Stereoscopic projectors are the future of film. Or so I was told. Or so I was shown. Starting next year, 99% of animated films are going to be created in Stereoscopic 3d, meaning it will feel like you are in the movie. With a pair of open/close 3D glasses, films will take you into an immersive world where you are a player and not just a critic. It seems that this will soon roll over to normal film and then (hopefully the industry says) to home viewing, where you pop in a game to your PS4 or Blue Ray player and instantly are a part of what before you could only see. The projectors I was shown were dual-HD meaning that you can see HD in each eye and through each lens. Also, the 3d creates itself in a way that it does not require someone to throw something at the camera to show you the effect. With a projector like this, and a set of surround sound speakers, I think this may be the coolest idea for gaming and film viewing ever... at least, so far.

Disney had lots of people demoing drawing and showed many clips from Bolt, which has already been covered by this Blog. Russ Edwards (animator) came in and animated a scene for the upcoming "Princess and the Frog" (see previous post) and then Andreas Deja (animator), dropped by to draw some pictures, give a history lesson of his life, and sketch out the Character of "Mama Odie" who he is animating for "Princess and The Frog". Very exciting stuff indeed.


Andreas Deja draws a frame of 'Mama Odie' from the upcoming Disney flick "The Princess and the Frog". Read more about "The Princess and the Frog" in the previous devoted post.


Siggraph 2009 will be held in New Orleans. See You There!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Harry Potter 6 pushed to July 2009


In a recent press release Warner Bros. announced that they will push Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince from a Thanksgiving weekend release over to July 17, 2009.

in their press release they wrote:
"Our reasons for shifting 'Half-Blood Prince' to summer are twofold: we know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment. Additionally, like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films--changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of. We agreed the best strategy was to move 'Half-Blood Prince' to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer."
consequently, Disney moved Bolt's release date up a week to November 21, 2008 in response to this announcement.

Tropic Thunder Premier Protest!




Yesterday at the world premier of Tropic Thunder, the new Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black film, which chronicles actors who are dropped into a live war zone to film a war movie guerrilla style, the stars walked the carpet (which to their surprise) to not cheers from fans, but boo's of protest from angry protesters.

Apparently, in the film, somebody calls Ben Stiller's character a 'Retard', which is apparently a word you can't say in modern cinema. With movies like Superbad, Soul Plane, Borat, and Epic Movie, constantly lampooning gay people, as well as people of other nationalities and religions, you would think that anything said in a film is alright, as long as a film is given a proper rating to keep out the lil' kids.

I think this is ridiculous because retard is a word that people use all the time in real-life, and it is a film that is a comedy and is not meant to be taken seriously in any degree. Secondly, if you know it is happening in the film and don't approve, just don't see it.

This reminds me of back when Horton Hears a Who came out earlier this year, and was met by protests of people who took the line "A Person's a Person No Matter How Small" quite literally as to a anti-abortion statement. Due to protesters in the theaters with the industry people and the stars, at Tropic Thunder, they took nothing with a grain of salt. Everyone who was not industry was locked out of the main theater, and sent into the one across the street. The red carpet was blocked off, and security was increased, making it no fun for anyone.

Maybe next time people can realize that a film is just a film, and will be gone and forgotten sooner than it will with out them performing antics that will make this a day to remember, and promote the film quite well. Remember, even bad publicity is still publicity.



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Siggraph 2008




I will be attending SIGGRAPH 2008 for the next 2 days with a full report when I return.

When I return I will give a full report as well as:

ROLE MODELS 1st Ever Screening Review!

TROPIC THUNDER Review

Celebrity Interviews

and much much more!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Upcoming DREAMWORKS Film: Monsters Vs Aliens



Monsters vs Aliens is next years DREAMWORKS film. It will be the first animated film to go to theaters that is 100% 3D and made for it properly (no more throwing stuff at the screen). The animation and rendering looks simply fantastic, and based on the leaked trailer (which is no longer available online, the premise and jokes are quite funny too.

Here is a synopisis according to Wikipedia:

When California girl Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is unexpectedly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall (An inch short of being 50 feet tall, a joke on Attack of the 50 Foot Woman) and is instantly labeled a "monster" named Ginormica. The military jumps into action, and she is captured and held in a secret government compound. The world learns that the military has been quietly rounding up other monsters over the years. This ragtag group consists of the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (voiced by Hugh Laurie); the macho Dagon the Missing Link (voiced by Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (voiced by Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement time is cut short however, when a mysterious alien robot named Gallaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson) lands on Earth and begins storming the country.
As a last resort, under the guidance of General W.R. Monger (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland), on a desperate order from The President (voiced by Stephen Colbert), the motley crew of Monsters is called into action to combat the aliens and save the world from imminent destruction.


This trailer also seems to lampoon every single one of its cast members current or past careers as well. Hugh Laurie (HOUSE) plays a Dr. Will Arnett plays a wierdo who is quirky. Seth Rogen plays a blob who is basically Seth Rogen animated (as all his roles are. Kiefer Sutherland (24) plays a war expert Badass. Stephen Colbert plays the president (a nod to the Stephen Colbert for President Campaign).

Based on the trailer, the film is fast paced with a joke a minute, with great rendering and animation. The only oddity is the human male characters faces look a bit... too... caricatured. Almost like MAD Magazine. It seems to be a hilarious take on the B sci-fi movies, and a fresh source of humor that has not been seen in animated films for a while, and before this only seen in Leslie Neilsen movies.

I'll check it out.

Monsters Vs. Aliens hits theaters May 2009


Monday, August 11, 2008

Editorial: In defense of Beverly Hills Chihuahua

As long as I'm a new contributor on the Movie Watch, I might as well blow any reputation I might have in my first post. Yesterday I read that Ezra said that he'd rather watch the direct-to-DVD sequel to 101 Dalmatians. While I would not expect Beverly Hills Chihuahua to be the next Citizen Kane or anything after seeing the latest trailer it looks far from a throw away family film.

I'll admit it, I was as negative as everyone else when I saw the first poster for this movie. It didn't really show much besides for two chihuahuas, an Aztec temple and a large marquee bragging about the voice roles of George Lopez (ugh) and Drew Barrymore. Many felt it looked like the worst movie of the year, though with films like Meet Dave and The Love Guru (yes, I've seen them) I'd beg to differ. The second punch to this movie's face was the teaser that was attached to WALL-E. This teaser really said little what the movie was actually about and for 90% of the people in the audience it would be the only footage they'd see from the actual movie before its September release. For the seasoned movie viewer the teaser really had nothing to offer besides for poorly animated Chihuahua's playing the drums. With the inevitable pop-culture references as implied by an old DJ BOBO pop song blaring in the background with Chihuahua's singing and dancing behind it. This teaser made the offensive trailer for Madagascar seem tame. The fact that this movie also is helmed by the director of the live-action Scooby-Doo movies and Big Mamma's House didn't do much to win me over on this movie either.

However when I saw that new trailer that was posted by Disney up on YouTube more recently it was a very different movie than the gimmicky dreck I was expecting. The new trailer seemed more like Homeward Bound with a pretty inoffensive and subdued sense of humor. The trailer even did the miraculous job of putting the teaser into perspective making the little prologue about the Aztecs before the opening make a lot more sense. The trailer also had very little CGI apart from the obvious moving lips on the dogs whereas the teaser was completely 3D animated. The other surprise was that there were no pop-culture references in the full trailer either apart from that Scarface line but that's so deeply embedded into our culture I don't know if it even counts. In a world where the trailer for Madagascar Escape 2 Africa was getting an uproarious laugh in the movie theater this is a great thing. Sure, it had its share of lame jokes in the trailer but so do a lot of Disney movies. If you judged Enchanted by its trailer it would look pretty formulaic as well. Disney is concerned first and foremost with families and if showing a gang of chihuahuas playing the bongos was enough to get the kids excited, then it will ultimately be a success.

The new trailer made me develop quite a soft spot for this movie. It reminded me a lot of the movies I've been forced to sit through in elementary school just to get the mangey kids quite for an hour or so. I had no clue at that time what the general fan consensus those movies had. In fact, a lot of the films I fondly remembered received terrible reviews, such as Mouse Hunt whereas Babe was nominated for an Academy Award and I had no idea at the time. I was crushed when I saw Roger Ebert's scathing review of Home Alone when they opened up their review archive to the internet. But at the same time I agreed with a lot of his criticism. He may have missed the point of a simple dumb family movie. Roger Ebert had a point in that it would have more emotional resonance if they showed Kevin as a vulnerable and defenseless kid in the face of criminals, but it would seem entirely out of place among the various slapstick gags that were to follow. If screenwriter John Hughes were to follow Ebert's advice he'd have to retool the film entirely for something that's already become a classic family movie in its current state.

To get things straight I'm still not going to go out of my way to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua, that is unless by some weird miracle it winds up getting a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, this is definitely something I'd watch on a lazy sunday had it been on Disney Channel or something and in comparison to other non-Disney family dreck like Fly Me to the Moon and Space Chimps this movie's looking pretty promising for its fairly young audience. At the very least prints of Salvador Dali's short film Destino will be screened before all the prints of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, that's worth the price of admission alone or it could make a better stoner film than Pineapple Express, and that's saying a lot.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Upcoming Film: Beverly Hills Chihuahua



Beverly Hills Chihuahua tells the story of a Chihuahua (Drew Barrymore) who gets seperated from her family on a trip to Mexico and must find her family with the help of hr new friends before the dog catcher catches her and uses her fur to start a fur factory.


This movie seems... uh lacking... for a few reasons. 1) It seems to be an excuse to have lame Mexican stereotypes in a movie because they are all seen in dog form. 2) Who the hell uses a "Chihuahua", one of the smallest dogs with ridiculously short hair to start a fur factory. It literally makes no sense. I think I'd rather go to the store and rent "101 Dalmatians 2: Patches London Adventure".

What are your opinions?

Check out the Trailer Below!




Beverly Hills Chihuahua Hits Theaters October 3, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Contributor to The Movie Watch



Hey guys! Its Chris Cookson and I just joined as a contributor to The Movie Watch. Unlike the LA-bound Ezra, Chris resides in Stamford, Connecticut a suburb of New York City and also shares a background in animation as a Digital Animation major from the Brookyln based Pratt Institute. Apart from being a movie buff, Chris has been a lifelong Nintendo fanboy and enjoys a good trip to Taco Bell.

Expect to see a couple of posts from me a week and if we ever have a podcast on this site, I'll be all over it. My first post will be tomorrow where I guarantee that I'll lose any street cred I ever had on this site.

RIP: Bernie Mac



This morning, Legend and King of Comedy Bernie Mac died. He was 50 years old and suffered from sarcoidosis, which is a lung disease where lumps of cells grow on the body's organs. In early 2005 it went into remission, but on August 1st he was admitted to the hospital for Pneumonia. Several days a rumor was stated that he had passed, it turned out to be false, and all was thought to be well until he passed earlier this morning.

To quote Wikipedia for a quick biography of Bernie Mac:


Mac was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised by a single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when Mac was sixteen.[1] Mac attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy. Mac started his career during high school, when he would put on shows for neighborhood kids in Chicago's South Side until moving to Tampa. During his 20s he worked in a variety of jobs, including furniture mover, UPS agent, and a bread delivery sales rep.
Career

Mac started as a stand-up comedian in Chicago's Cotton Pickin' Club. He won the Miller Lite Comedy Search at the age of 32, at which point his popularity as a comedian began to grow. A performance on HBO's Def Comedy Jam thrust him into the spotlight. He opened for Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx and Natalie Cole. He also had a short-lived talk show on HBO titled Midnight Mac. Later, Mac also began acting in minor roles, and received his big break as Pastor Clever in Ice Cube's 1995 film Friday. Following that role, Mac would also work in many other movies, and some television appearances, including Booty Call, How to Be a Player, Life and What's the Worst That Could Happen?. Mac was one of the few African American comedic actors to be able to break out of the traditional "black comedy" genre, having roles in the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven and becoming the new Bosley for the Charlie's Angels sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. In 2003, he also turned in an impressive performance in a small but important role as Gin "The Store Dick" in Bad Santa. He also starred in Guess Who?, a comedic remake of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. He also made an appearance in the 2007 movie Transformers as the car salesman Bobby Bolivia.
In 2000, Mac returned to his stand-up comedy roots, touring the country as one of The Original Kings of Comedy, along with Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley. The comedy act was filmed by Spike Lee and was included later in the movie The Original Kings of Comedy.
In 2001, Fox gave Mac his own sitcom called The Bernie Mac Show, somewhat based on his own life. In the show, he suddenly becomes custodian over his sister's three children after she enters rehab. It was a success, in part because it allows Mac to stay true to his stand-up comedy roots, breaking the fourth wall to communicate his thoughts to the audience. The show contained many parodies of events in Bernie's actual life. However, the show was not renewed after the 2006 season. Viewers were left without a conclusion for the series, and no ending to the storyline where Bernie and Wanda were trying to have a baby. His character on The Bernie Mac Show was ranked #47 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [June 20, 2004 issue].
In 2004, Mac had his first starring role as a retired baseball player in the movie Mr. 3000. In the 2003 NLCS, Mac sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley Field with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins in the series 3-2 and up in Game Six 3-0. Instead of saying "root, root, root for the Cubbies" Mac said, "root, root, root for the champions!" The Cubs would go on to lose the game and the series, with some fans claiming that Mac helped to jinx the Cubs. Mac later admitted that he has hated the Cubs his whole life, is a die-hard White Sox fan, and was seen during the 2005 World Series at US Cellular Field.
Mac was number 72 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time. On March 19, 2007 Mac told David Letterman on CBS Late Show that he would retire from his 30-year career after he finished shooting the comedy film The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac. "I'm going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit," Mac told Letterman. "I missed a lot of things, you know".[2]

Mac married Rhonda McCullough in 1977. They had one daughter, Je'Niece (born 1978), who attended Xavier University of Louisiana, where she received both her bachelor's degree in Psychology and master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. She has been married for three years and has one daughter, Jasmine.



One good thing about him being an actor is that he will never be forgotten. Later this year and in the next, there will 3 films with him in solid roles (Old Dogs, Soul Men, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa), there was to be another TV series starring him, but it is assumed that will either be recast or scrapped entirely.

R.I.P Bernie Mac. You will be missed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Screen Writes: Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio



Whether you have heard of them or not, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio have probably been very influential in your movie watching life. Together, this dynamic duo of screenwriters have penned many many blockbuster hits including: Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Godzilla, Small Soldiers, The Road to El Dorado, Shrek, National Treasure 1 &2, and the 3 Pirates of the Caribbean films.

There is not much about them around, for a biography's sake, but each was born in Michigan and they use Movie Magic Pro software to write their screenplays.

There will be more on them in time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Upcoming Film: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (With Trailer)



The trailer for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is now online. It looks rather epic, and Michael Gambon looks to be playing a better role of Dumbledore than he did in the previous films. I think this looks to be the best Harry Potter film in the franchise so far, with a whole new style and manner about it.


Check out the Trailer Below




Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince hits theaters November 21st.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Upcoming Film: Role Models



Role Models is the story of two energy drink sales representatives (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott), who after some bad judgement calls find themselves forced into a child mentorship program. Danny (Rudd) is assigned Auggie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a dungeons and dragons / medieval obsessed kid, and Wheeler (William Scott) is assigned Ronnie (Bobb'e J. Thompson ), who seems to be a 8 year old version of Dave Chappelle, who no 'Role Model' has ever been able to tame. Hilarity ensues as they take care of these kids and presumably learn a little about themselves along the way.

Directed by David Wain (The Ten). Written By Timothy Dowling, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, and David Wain. Also with Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, Nicole Randall Johnson, Nate Hartley, Ken Jeong, and Joe Lo Truglio.

Role Models hits theaters November 14th.




Catch The Trailer Below


PINEAPPLE EXPRESS NOW IN THEATERS



THIS REVIEW IS A RE-POST. IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN THE MAY SECTION OF THIS BLOG.

Lets get to it. Pineapple Express. The most highly anticipated film of the summer for people who like Judd Apatow, Weed, Seth Rogen, Actions, and Comedy. Trust me, Pineapple Express fulfills all those desires. Reuniting for the first time since the short lived television series "Freaks and Geeks" (1999), Seth Rogen and James Franco pair up for the first time on the big screen, and Franco reminds the world that he can be funny as hell if people let him be.

(Spoilers May Occur, but not Major ones)
The film starts off in a World War II era where a unit of the military is deciding if Marijuana should be legal or not, and after an interview with Private Miller (Bill Hader) it is decided that the drug will be permanently illegal. Flash forward to the future, where Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) a process server with an 18 year old high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) drives over to his drug dealers house to get a new batch of weed. The drug dealer is none other than Saul Silver (James Franco), who sells Dale some rare weed, Pineapple Express, because he desperately wants to be friends with him. The weed is so rare in fact that Saul is the only one who has it.

Long story short, Dale witnesses a murder, drops his joint on the scene, and since the weed is so rare, the biggest drug dealer around (Gary Cole) sends his two hit-men (Craig Robinson & Peter Lewis) after him, believing he is working with the other drug lords known simply as 'The Asians.'

Hilarity and non-stop action ensues.

(Spoilers End Here)

The film is successful in every aspect it sets out on, though the relationship between (Gary Cole) and crooked cop (Rosie Perez) is very weak and remains questionable and undeveloped. Seth Rogen plays the same character as always, a delightful stoner, who pulls through in the end, but is is fun as ever to watch him and his improvisational talents. James Franco delivers an excellent performance, full of comedy and wit, and you feel each emotion he throws at you. Of the two leads, Saul Silver is the easiest to identify with.

Danny McBride, new Apatow regular since Drillbit Taylor, plays Red, another drug dealer, who is very much like Fogell from Superbad. He steals the show every scene he is in, but the character has way to much spirit for the way he is treated. However, this always creates a laugh, because he reminds me of the role of Mustafa from Austin Powers (The role that started Will Ferrell's career), in that whatever happens to him he is always alright.

Its nice to see Craig Robinson in a larger role than he has on NBC's "The Office" and that he had in "Knocked Up." The role he creates is hilarious and it can be seen that he created much more for his character than was written in the script.

Essentially this is the exact same script as 2007's "Superbad," also written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, but if you replace the alcohol with weed, Cops for Drug Lords, then you have the same movie down to the last shot in the action. But Pineapple Express has more layers of jokes, which will probably lead to a more re-watch-able DVD.

Joe Lo Truglio (The Creepy Guy at the Party in Superbad) has a delightful cameo as Angie's Teacher in the high school, while Ken Jeong (The Gynecologist in Knocked Up) plays the head assassin for the Asians, which was another nice surprise.

The budget is the highest of Apatow's, probably even higher than "Walk Hard" , and it shows. Each action scene gets better and builds on the last, and when it comes to directorial style, no one makes this film better than David Gordon Green, with very creative cuts and edits, often showing two scenes on screen at the same time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Morgan Freeman In A Car Crash



Many people remember Morgan Freeman from movies such as "The Shawshank Redemption", "Driving Mrs. Daisy", and playing God in 2003's "Bruce Almighty". Freeman's captivating voice and memorable characters make him a well received actor in almost any film he acts in. He can play the scary villain, the old grandfather, or the funny old man, and he can always get the emotion out of the audience that he sets out to find.

Last night on August 3rd, 2008, Morgan Freeman was involved in a car crash. He was driving with an unidentified female passenger in Ruleville, Mississippi. The car flipped several times and ended upside down in a ditch. Freeman and the female were removed from the car using the "Jaws of Life", and taken to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

While it is said that Freeman is in 'serious' condition, other people, including friends and family, have reported him sitting up in bed, and joking with the staff. He has reported a few broken ribs and a knee, but he will hopefully be just fine in a few days.

***UPDATE***


Morgan Freeman Actually only broke his arm and bruised his elbow. He had surgery and is now walking and looking forward to his hospital release.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Upcoming Movie: The Princess and the Frog



This may be the first Disney animated movie ever to have mad crazy hype. Let me begin by saying..... its a musical. Its traditionally animated (2d), and its about a black princess, Disney's first ever.

Basically it is the story of Tiana, a princess in 1920's new orleans, and other than that is based on the story of 'The Frog Prince', which is a story about a prince that has been turned into a frog and needs to be kissed by his true love to turn back into a human.

Not much is know about the film other than the fact that music is being done by Randy Newman and the film is being directed by John Musker and Ron Clemets, who directed films such as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Hercules, and Treasure Planet (among others).

Keep your ear out for more news on this film. I'll write more when I know about it. There is a cast list on Imdb, so check that one out perhaps.

Heres the Trailer.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and The 'Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy'



Want anything from the shop? Cornetto.

If you have seen Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, this line will ring out at you as one of the many similarities between the two films of decidedly different genres. Directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead are prime examples of brilliant parody, where the subject matter stays serious, and only the conventions are mocked. The films they make put 'parody films' of today such as "Date Movie', and 'Epic Movie' to shame.

Now, you might be wondering, "Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead are very different movies. How could this and whatever' coming next be considered a trilogy?" Well its because of the similarities in the films that make them a series, mainly, each film features blood and ice cream. (Kind of a gross mix. Sorry I didn't make it).

Shaun of the Dead = Zombies = Blood Cornetto = Red/ Strawberry

Hot Fuzz = Slasher = Blood Cornetto = Blue and White

The Worlds End = Blood = ?? Cornetto = Mint

Recently Pegg and Wright announced that the newest flavor of their upcoming movie "The Worlds End" will be mint, leading one to believe the film may be of the sci-fi genre, possibly including aliens. It is exciting to figure out how blood will fit into the mix, because Edgar Wright is so good at it.


For those of you who don't know, this is a Cornetto.





... Want one?
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