Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Funny Choices

It seems Sony Pictures has refused to release comedian Albert Brooks’ latest film, “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World”, unless he removes the word ‘Muslim’ from the title. This is not class; this is just stupid, plain and simple. That’s the PC-America we live in these days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Frankenstein: The Untold Story

Hillary Clinton supporters are reportedly chomping at the bit, according to the New York Daily News, to see the new documentary called Inside the Bubble which examines the downfall of the Kerry/Edwards campaign in the last presidential election. I do not believe Senator John Kerry had a chance in resurrecting his failed attempt at the White House in the 2008 presidential campaign anyway with the prospect of Hillary Clinton running on the Democratic Party ticket all but inevitable by now but this may do it in. The director of the documentary said he was a Kerry supporter and that he hoped that his film will put the candidate in a fair light. Like fellow filmmaker Michael Moore, I believe however that this will have quite the opposite effect.

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story

Purchase ' Family Guy presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story' from Barnes & Noble Today!

Monday, September 26, 2005

If Barbara Said It, It Must Be True!

In all honesty, I have to say that I am proud of Barbara Streisand. I know it sounds like some sort of miracle but I am. Here we have the staunchest left-wing Hollywood elitist in the country live on national television talking about Hurricane Katrina and Rita and not once does she lay a finger of blame on President Bush, unlike Kayane West whose sole intention was to drum-up free publicity for his new album (now that is not so much to ask for). Instead Streisand declared the nation to be under a state of global warming emergency, going so far as to say that “there could be more droughts, dust bowls” along with the increased frequency and intensity of these storms. The facts however, as the Drudge Report discovered, easily trump liberal mythology, pointing out the significant number of intense hurricanes which ripped through the Southern portion of this country during Barbara’s lifetime, some of which were Category 5s. Ooopps! A simple slip-up, I’m sure.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Foster's Flightplan Buries Burton's Bride


Jodie Foster has done it again. As she nears her 43rd birthday, the actress proved that she had enough credibility and clout to bring audiences into theatres with her first major release in three years, the thriller Flightplan from Touchstone Pictures. It earned an estimated $24.4 million its opening weekend in over 3,400 theatres, averaging $7,198 per theatre.

Although many saw it as the favorite due to stellar reviews and an impressive opening weekend in limited release, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride had to settle for second place this weekend. Still, the unconventional stop-motion animated musical comedy earned just over $20 million as it expanded into over 3,200 theatres nationwide this weekend, and it looks likely to earn more than Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas which didn't fare nearly as well its opening weekend.

The nicest surprise this weekend may have have been Fox Searchlight's Roll Bounce starring recording artist Bow Wow. Produced by the guys who made the breakout hit Barbershop a few years ago, the 70's roller-disco comedy brought in an estimated $8 million opening weekend in less than 1,700 theatres to take fourth place.

Meanwhile, Reese Witherspoon's supernatural romantic comedy Just Like Heaven dropped down to third place with $9.8 million, bringing its total to just under $30 million.

Screen Gems' horror thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose continues to do well despite an almost 50% drop-off in its third weekend, and the studio should be delighted with its cumulative gross of just over $62 million. The film cost roughly $19 million to produce. Likewise, Nicholas Cage's Lord of War from Lions Gate had a significant drop in its second weekend, earning just under $5 million in its second weekend for sixth place.

At #7, Universal Pictures comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, continues to claw its way to $100 million, adding another $4.3 million this weekend.

The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, has made back its production budget as it earned another $2.2 million in eighth place, bringing its total over the $27 million mark. The Top 10 was rounded out by Fox's action sequel Transporter 2 with Jason Statham, and Rogue Pictures' Cry_Wolf, both earning just over $2 million.

Just outside the Top 10, Warner Independent Pictures' documentary March of the Penguins added another $1.7 million to bring its gross to an impressive $72.8 million, while Lasse Hallström's drama An Unfinished Life made just a bit less than that in 888 theatres to bring its total to $5.7 million. New Line's Wedding Crashers finally dropped out of the Top 10 after ten weeks there, grossing $206 million, over four times its production budget.

Released by New Line in limited release, David Cronenberg's take on the John Wagner graphic novel A History of Violence, with Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, earned $504 thousand its opening weekend in 14 theatres, a respectable average of $36 thousand per theatre. By comparison, Roman Polanski's version of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist opened in five theatres and only averaged $13.8 thousand per theatre for a total of $69 thousand. Both films expand nationwide next weekend, but it's not a good sign for Polanski's latest film if it can't do better in New York and Los Angeles. On the other hand, Cronenberg is looking to have his biggest hit in over ten years once the film expands into more than 1,000 theatres next week.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lost Rules Wednesday


The Hollywood Reporter says Wednesday's second season premiere of ABC's Lost dominated all ratings:

Lost opened its second season with a stellar 23.1 million viewers and 10 rating/24 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. That marked all-time high ratings for the series, even higher than its first-season finale, a two-hour cliffhanger that brought in 20.7 million viewers and 7.8/19 in May even as it faced off against the final round of competition on Fox's American Idol. But Lost proved it was going to be a major player for ABC right out of the box this time last year when it premiered to an impressive 18.7 million viewers and 6.8/20 in adults 18-49.

ABC's new Invasion also performed strongly.

Friday, September 23, 2005

PC-America Stikes Again with 'Flightplan'

Opening this weekend in theatres across the country, the new Jodie Foster vehicle (I do not think I am alone in saying that she has become somewhat of a recluse as of late), Flightplan, has been hijacked by PC-America. In the film audiences are made to believe that four sinaster Arabs are behind the kidnapping of Foster’s daughter, only to discover that it was in fact [click and drag mouse to reveal spoiler – unless you do not want to know in which case just skip this post altogether] the Air Marshall and the flight attendants who were behind it. We can not even go the movies without being slammed with this political correctness bullshit.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

NFL Predictions - Week #3

Atlanta at Buffalo
Carolina at Miami
Cincinnati at Chicago
Cleveland at Indianapolis
Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets
New Orleans at Minnesota
Oakland at Philadelphia
Tampa Bay at Green Bay
Tennessee at St. Louis
Arizona at Seattle
Dallas at San Francisco
New England at Pittsburgh
N.Y. Giants at San Diego

Monday Night Football - Kansas City at Denver

Last Week's Scorecard - 7-9
Total Scorecard - 14 - 18

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Season 2 of LOST Premieres!

Did you happen to catch the season premiere of LOST this evening? I did and I have to say that I was not disappoint, despite my deep suspicions that the second season would not live up to the hype generated by last season. I can only hope that as the season progresses I am proven wrong and if the opening episode for the second season of the Emmy-winning drama is any indication on where the show is going, it can only get better from here. For those who did not catch this evening’s program, head on over to the official LOST website and catch up … here’s a hint: they discover what is inside the hatch almost immediately but you won’t know what it means for quite some time, I’m sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

"The Longest Yard fulfills the promise its advertising suggests it set out to accomplish from the beginning which was to deliver a load of cheap laughs to its audience in a senseless piece of comedic entertainment, albeit coming off a bit abrasive, mean-spirited, and even indecisively salacious in the process ... "

Purchase 'The Longest Yard' from Barnes & Noble Today!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

LOST Wins Best Drama at Primetime Emmy Awards

Visit for a complete list of the winners of last evening’s 57th Annual Emmy Awards presentation. I did not watch it myself (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was on after all … that and I don’t find Ellen DeGeneres to be all that funny) but I was elated to hear the news that LOST, the best show on television, won for Best Drama and Best Directing, though I do not quite understand how the same two episodes which won in this category did not win in the Best Writing for a Drama Series category, but I digress. The second season of LOST premieres this Wednesday on ABC.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Updated Link for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Trailer

Here is the updated link for the trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which was posted on this on Thursday, September 15th, as well as the inclusion of a link to the second international trailer for the film which boasts an impressive array of special effects shots. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens in theatres nation-wide on November 16th, 2005.

Heaven Beats Hell at the Box Office


Just Like Heaven, DreamWorks' romantic afterlife comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, topped the box office with an estimated $16.5 million, a far cry from Ms. Witherspoon's previous September romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama, which has held the opening record for a movie opening in September since 2002.

It narrowly defeated the Sony/Screen Gems supernatural thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which dropped down to second place with a respectable second weekend take of $15.3 million, bringing its total up to $52 million.

Opening in third place, Andrew Niccol's action-drama Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, brought in $9.2 million in 2,814 theatres, fairly weak even compared to Cage's last September release, Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men.

Universal's raunchy sex comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell held up respectfully in its fifth weekend, adding another $5.8 million to bring its total gross over the $90 million mark.

Entering the charts at #5, Rogue Pictures' internet-based horror thriller Cry_Wolf grossed roughly $4.5 million its opening weekend in 1,790 theatres, not great but still far better than Dimension Films' last horror film before its split from Disney, Venom. The latter was dumped into only 489 theatres with very little advance notice, and its weak average of just over $1,000 per theatre only allowed it an opening weekend of $501,000.

Transporter 2, the action sequel starring Jason Statham, dropped down to sixth place with just over $4 million, although its $36.5 million total gross puts it in the black compared to its production budget.

The Focus Features drama The Constant Gardener, based on John Le Carré's novel, held up better in its third weekend than the week before, earning roughly $3.7 million, a minor 21% drop from its second weekend.

The documentary March of the Penguins continues its journey as the second highest grossing documentary of all time. It crossed the $70 million mark in its 13th weekend, earning another $2.5 million, which is only slightly less than it made last weekend. New Line's Wedding Crashers rounded out the Top 10, also with $2.5 million. This is its tenth week in the Top 10 after crossing the $200 million mark earlier this week.

A Miramax hold-over from last winter, Lasse Hallström's An Unfinished Life, starring Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Morgan Freeman, expanded into over 750 theatres nationwide where it earned $2.1 million in its second weekend, not quite enough to get into the Top 10. It has earned just under $3.5 million in just ten days.

Part of the reason for the softer opening of new films in major release might be accounted for by the vast number of new movies opening in limited release this weekend, many of them having debuted at last week's Toronto Film Festival.

The strongest of these new movies was Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, an animated film featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, which earned $411 thousand in just 5 theatres, a jaw-dropping average of over $82 thousand per theatre. That's the 13th highest per-theatre average ever compared to Burton's previous animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, which averaged $95 thousand in two theatres back in 1993. Warner Bros. will release Corpse Bride nationwide next Friday.

Paul Reiser's road comedy The Thing About My Folks with Peter Falk earned $266,000 its opening weekend, but that was in 93 theatres, a weak opening average of $2,860 per theatre that doesn't bode well for future expansion.

By comparison, Miramax Films' big screen version of the stageplay Proof, Gwyneth Paltrow's first film since last September's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, earned $201 thousand in just 8 theatres, an average of just over $25 thousand per theatre. Over the next two weeks, it will expand into more cities across the country.

Three directorial debuts also did decent business in their platform releases in New York and L.A. this weekend. Mike Mills' Thumbsucker and Liev Schreiber's Everything is Illuminated earned $93.6 thousand and $73.6 thousand respectively, while the directorial debut from Julian "Gosford Park" Fellowes, Separate Lies, starring Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson, earned just over $23 thousand in two New York theatres. They each averaged roughly $10 to 12 thousand per theatre.

DVD Depot Update

There were quite a few notable additions to the DVD Depot this past weekend, including a number of releases which are flashbacks for people of my generation. These releases include The Adventures of Pete & Pete - The Complete Second Season, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers - Volume One, and Ducktales - Volume One ... those were the days! Other additions include the single-disc version of the Tim Burton blockbuster, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (at the time of publication, art work for the two-disc special edition release was not made available to us but will be posted as soon as we receive it), an unrated edition of Alien vs. Predator (truly disappointed with this film, so much potential, but to be honest I was never expecting all that much in the first place – my review of the film should be online within the next few weeks), the two-disc limited edition of the Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise collaboration, War of the Worlds, as well as a single-disc version of the film, and the Fantastic Four starring the delicious Jessica Alba. Yeah, the film may have been a total nightmare (I can not say since I did not see it but word on the street was that it was unintentional humorous) but can anything with her in it seriously be all that bad?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NFL Predictions - Week #2

Baltimore at Tennessee
Buffalo at Tampa Bay
Detroit at Chicago
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Minnesota at Cincinnati
New England
at Carolina
Pittsburgh at Houston
San Francisco at Philadelphia
Atlanta at Seattle
St. Louis at Arizona
Cleveland at Green Bay
Miami at N.Y. Jets
San Diego at Denver
Kansas City at Oakland

Monday Night Football
N.Y. Giants at New Orleans
Washington at Dallas

Last Week's Scorecard - 7 - 9

Premiere of the Trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Premiering before copies of Tim Burton’s latest twisted claymation creation, Corpse Bride (which opens in select theatres this weekend and widens its release next week), featuring the voices of Burton regular Johnny Depp and the director’s girlfriend Helen Bonham Carter, is the trailer for the highly anticipated film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fourth film in the tremendously profitable Harry Potter film series will be the first one released with a PG-13 rating when it premieres in theatres world-wide on November 16th, 2005.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

"The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy lacks the essential elements which would make it a coherent and meaningful motion picture experience for those beyond the close knit realm of the book series’ cult followers ... "

Purchase 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' from Barnes & Noble Today!

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Cult of Oprah

There are quite a few celebrities in this country that I am so sick and tired of seeing their mug plastered all over the places. They are the ones who make the nightly news for one cockamamie reason or another when in reality their actions have no profound effect on our daily lives whatsoever. But since they are celebrities after all, they are automatically newsworthy, relevant or not. One of those people who is high on my list is Oprah Winfrey who the media lends you to believe owns the world. She recently tapes an episode for her lucrative neo-feminist convention, also referred to as her talk show, in which underprivileged children were given the opportunity to visit the Disneyland resort for an entire week. I will admit that is a charitable act but they way she presented in her television program is what is manipulative about her. The way the segments for each attraction and performance it would appear as though she spent the entire week with these kids when in fact collectively she spent less then a few hours with them in one day. This is one celebrity, as charitable as she may seem, is one I am sure does these sorts of things simply for the publicity. Whether this was always the case or she was forced into this situation in order to maintain her vast media empire, from my point of view I see this as pretty low. Her cult following is almost Nazistic in loyalty to her. She said this is a great book and everyone immediately jumps onto to order it up simply because Oprah Winfrey says it’s good. It may be a classic or a flat-out stinker but since Oprah said to read it, we should. She orders them to jump and they ask ‘how high’. It is disturbing, truly disturbing.

With the cleanup of the Gulf Coast following the arrival of Hurricane Katrina now in full swing, the great and powerful Oprah has commanded that America apologize for the way in which victims were treated, as if it were entirely our fault. They knew for a week at least that this hurricane was coming and yet many residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were arrogant and stupid enough to stay put. The mayor of New Orleans has nearly a hundred school buses waiting in a parking lot to evacuate the city but he never used them and now they lie underwater. Who should apologize again? What makes me even more steamed about her is later in the interview she says, “I was sitting at home feeling frustrated and useless, like so many other people, so I came down to personally assess how I could best be of service”, because God knows nothing could have been if not under the oversight of Oprah Winfrey!

Emily Rose Possesses the Box Office


Sony's Screen Gems' The Exorcism of Emily Rose topped the box office with an impressive $30.2 million from 2,981 theaters. The horror-thriller was made for only $19 million and averaged a strong $10,130 per location. The studio repeated its first place finish from last year this same weekend, when Resident Evil: Apocalypse opened to $23 million. Emily Rose marks the third-biggest opening for the month of September in box office history, trailing just Rush Hour ($33 million) and Sweet Home Alabama ($35.6 million).

Universal's The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, held on to second place in its fourth weekend in theaters. The $26 million-budgeted R-rated comedy added another $7.9 million for a total of $82.3 million so far.

Last week's #1, Jason Statham's Transporter 2, dropped two spots to third and 56.5% of its first weekend's ticket sales. The action-sequel, which holds the record for biggest Labor Day debut and was made for about $32 million, has earned $30.1 million for 20th Century Fox.

Director Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, collected $4.9 million in the fourth spot. The dramatic thriller has earned $19.1 million in two weeks and was produced for $25 million.

Wes Craven's Red Eye rounded out the top five with $4.6 million. The $26 million DreamWorks thriller is at $51.3 million after four weeks.

After having great success with the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson comedy Wedding Crashers, which surpassed the $200 million mark this weekend on a budget of only $40 million, New Line's new comedy The Man, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy, failed to pull in audiences. The film opened in 2,040 theaters and earned just $4 million over its first three days.

In limited release, Miramax Films debuted An Unfinished Life, with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Morgan Freeman, in 139 theaters. The drama made $1 million for an average of $7,266. Lexi Alexander's Green Street Hooligans, starring Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam and Claire Forlani, also earned $60,200 from seven theaters.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jazz in the Park - Random Walk

The Cathedral

The US Bank building

I don't know what this building is called exactly but it appeared to be a combination of office space and apartments ... very nice I might say

Close-up shots of statues along the Cathedral

The Blessed Virgin and Child

Dedication in Latin

Random Walk

They were apparently the 'It' band during the 1980s

Closing shot of the beautifully lit Cathedral

Friday, September 09, 2005

Why Steven, Why?!

This is simply disgusting! The terrorist mastermind and the last surviving member of a group of Palestinian savages who enacted ‘Black September’, an assassination of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics which has become the basis of the new film directed by Steven Spielberg, is upset that he was not consulted by the world-famous director for the production, fearing he will be portrayed in a bad light. Spielberg insists however that his production will be sensitive to all sides. What makes the direction of this production all the more confusing considering that it is coming from the man behind the Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List” is that the film is based on the book “Vengeance” which has widely been discredited. Steven, perhaps you should take a break and relax for awhile because clearly you are not thinking properly.

NFL Predictions - Week #1

Chicago vs. Washington
Denver vs. Miami
New Orleans vs. Carolina
Seattle vs. Jacksonville
Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh
Cincinnati vs. Cleveland
Houston vs. Buffalo
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota
Green Bay vs. Detroit
NY Jets vs. Kansas City
Dallas vs. San Diego
St. Louis vs. San Francisco
Arizona vs. NY Giants
vs. Baltimore

Monday Night Football - Philadelphia vs. Atlanta

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

Lost - Undeniably the Best Show on Television!

Purchase 'Lost - The Complete First Season' from Barnes & Noble Today!

Transporter 2 Sets New Labor Day Record

Jason Statham's return as Frank Martin in the action-sequel Transporter 2 set a new Labor Day holiday weekend box office record. The 20th Century Fox release, budgeted at $32 million, earned an impressive $20.3 million from 3,303 theaters over the four days, surpassing 2003's Jeepers Creepers 2, which made $18.4 million. The film's tally almost equaled the entire haul of its predecessor, The Transporter, which ended up with $25.3 million in 2002. That film opened to $9.1 million in its three-day opening weekend.

Universal's The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, dropped to second place after reigning in first for the last two weeks. The R-rated comedy added $16.6 million during the four days for a total of $71.9 million in three weeks. It only cost about $26 million to make.

Third place belonged to director Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. The well-reviewed dramatic thriller made $10.8 million from just 1,346 theaters for a total of $12.5 million since its debut on Wednesday. The Focus Features release made more in six days than Meirelles' last movie, City of God, earned in 17 months in theaters and it is also the fourth-biggest opening ever for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Wes Craven's Red Eye dropped a spot to fourth with $9.3 million in its third weekend. The $26 million DreamWorks thriller has collected $45.4 million to date.

Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm rounded out the top five with $7.9 million in its second weekend. Made for $88 million, the fantasy-adventure has earned $27.6 million so far.

Two other newcomers bombed out of the gate. Nick Cannon action-comedy Underclassman made just $3.1 million from 1,132 theaters, good for the 11th spot, while Warner Bros.' A Sound of Thunder did even worse, making just $1.2 million from 816 locations. The latter cost $80 million to make.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

DVD Depot Update

It took me awhile (give me a break, classes just started up again at Marquette University) but I finally got around to updating the DVD Depot this weekend. There were quite a few notable additions, most of which are released on the same in October. There’s the United Nations propagandist piece (did you really expect anything else from a film starring Sean Penn) The Interpreter, the package set of the original four Batman movies (there are separate editions of each film but links to pre-order them are currently unavailable – I know, why pay for Joel Schumacher’s bastard children?), the ‘new groove’ edition of The Emperor's New Groove (one of the last truly great two-dimensional animated films from the Walt Disney Company), the Dreamworks animated smash-hit Madagascar, and the ABC epic miniseries Empire.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Jazz in the Park - The Midwest Blues All-Stars

The following pictures were taken at Milwaukee's own Jazz in the Park on September 1st, 2005:

The Midwest Blues All-Stars

Lead Singer, Jimmy Davis

The Cathedral

The Cathedral at night