Monday, October 31, 2005

Our Favorite Horror Films - Halloween 2005

1. Psycho
2. Aliens
3. The Shining
4. Alien
5. The Birds
6. Signs
7. Silence of the Lambs
8. Nightmare on Elm Street
9. The Frighteners
10. The Sixth Sense

Honorable Mention - Scream

ABC's Hillary Smash

As if I need any further reason to speculate that the ABC hit television series, Commander-in-Chief, is nothing more then a Hillary Clinton propagandist tool, James Hirsen of the ‘Left Coast Report’ informs us that Steve Cohen, Hillary Clinton’s communications director in the 1990s, and Capricia Marshall, former social secretary to President Bill Clinton, have come onboard as writer and adviser respectively. And if that weren’t enough, Sandy Berger who was recently charged with tampering with confidential documents (why he is not in jail and was merely given a slap on the wrist for his offense is beyond me) has also come onboard as an adviser. Convinced yet?

DVD Depot Update

There was unfortunately not much to update in regards to the DVD Depot this past weekend. Additions included the underrated Michael Bay science-fiction thriller, The Island, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Cave, and the HBO documentary, Left of the Dial, which focuses on the rise and fall of the Air America radio station, prior to the recent scandal involving stolen donations meant go toward a children’s foundation.

Poster for Steven Spielberg's Munich

Production Starts on Angel From Montgomery


Principal photography is underway on Angel From Montgomery, a Paramount feature film for the newly- created CMT Films division, and Paramount Home Entertainment. Production began in Atlanta earlier this month and stars country music's top artist and three-time 2005 American Music Awards nominee, Toby Keith; Kelly Preston; Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Burt Reynolds; GRAMMY Award winning Willie Nelson; Tess Harper; Anna Maria Horsford and Lindsey Haun.

"Paramount is thrilled to be in business with a great talent like Toby Keith and CMT, and we look forward to our collaboration on 'Angel From Montgomery'," says Paramount president Gail Berman.

Written by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld, the film is directed by Steven Goldmann and is produced by Sara Risher and Donald Zuckerman. Loretha Jones, senior vice president MTV Films and Home Entertainment, serves as executive in charge of production.

Angel From Montgomery is slated for a 2006 theatrical release, and will be followed by a limited run on CMT, and DVD release. The film is the first CMT title under the new studio partnership forged by Jeff Yapp, executive vice president, MTV Networks Music and Logo Enterprise Group and Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Home Entertainment.

Angel From Montgomery is a bittersweet story of former high school sweethearts Bo Price (Toby Keith) and Angela Delton (Kelly Preston), who return home after the deaths of their younger brothers which forces them to deal with the past and future. Keith plays a country music singer who has fallen from the spotlight and whose life changes after coming home, reuniting with his true love and meeting his 16-year old daughter (Lindsey Haun) for the first time.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saw Sequel Saves Box Office Slump


After a month of poor business with no single movie earning more than $17 million in a single weekend, the box office has finally been knocked out of its doldrums by two sequels, each appealing to different audiences.

The clear cut winner of the weekend was Lions Gate Films' sequel to their 2004 horror hit, Saw II, bringing back the serial killer known as Jigsaw. It made an estimated $30.5 million its opening weekend, setting the record for a Halloween opening and becoming the Vancouver based studio's highest opening film to date. It also became the fifth highest October opener of all time with an average per-theatre over $10 thousand. Presumably filmed for $4 million, more than three times the cost of its predecessor, the sequel made three times its production budget by the close of business on Friday.

Then, there was Sony Pictures' The Legend of Zorro, the sequel to the 1998 film starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, which cost $75 million to make and had to settle for second place with an estimated $16.5 million. Directed by Martin Campbell, the movie opened in over 3,500 theatres with an average of $4,687.

Universal's romantic comedy Prime, starring Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep and newcomer Bryan Greenberg opened with a respectable $6.4 million in just over 1,800 theatres for third place.

It came out just ahead of DreamWorks' horseracing film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, which added over 400 theatres in its second weekend and another $6.3 million. It had the smallest drop of any movie in the Top 10, as it grossed $17 million in its first ten days. DreamWorks' other family film Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit got very close to $50 million thanks to its $4.4 million weekend take, as it dropped down to fifth place.

Opening in the #6 slot, Paramount's dark comedy The Weather Man starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine, failed to attract audiences with the thought of flying fast food, and it grossed only $4.2 million in a moderate release of 1,500 theatres.

Universal Pictures' Doom, based on the popular video game, took a huge hit in its second weekend, dropping 73% and six places after topping the charts last weekend with just over $15 million. Its second weekend take of $4 million brought its total to just under $23 million.

The eighth and ninth place went to Screen Gems' remake of The Fog and the Charlize Theron mining drama North Country respectively, each making just over $3 million. Rounding out the Top 10 was the Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan from Touchstone Pictures, which grossed $2.6 million, bringing its total gross to $81 million.

George Clooney's historic drama Good Night, And Good Luck continues to chug away, holding its place at #12 with a minimal 11% drop-off. Next weekend, it will expand into over 550 theatres nationwide after earning $7.2 million in limited release, so expect it to make its presence felt in the Top 10.

Outside of the Top 12, the urban drama G was given a nationwide release into 495 theatres this weekend, where it earned $1.3 million, twice its box office gross in its first five weeks of limited release. Steve Martin's drama Shop Girl, starring Claire Danes, expanded into 42 theatres and moved into the Top 20 with a second weekend take of $459 thousand.

The only two significant films in limited release were the Palestinian drama Paradise Now from Warner Independent Pictures and the Three...Extremes, an Asian horror anthology from Lions Gate Films. The former made a respectable $49 thousand in four theatres in New York and L.A., while the latter made less than that in almost five times as many theatres. Presumably, Lions Gate are too busy celebrating their #1 hit to worry too much about it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

NFL Predictions - Week #8

Arizona at Dallas
Chicago at Detroit
Cleveland at Houston
Green Bay at Cincinnati
Jacksonville at St. Louis
Minnesota at Carolina
at Tennessee
Washington at N.Y. Giants
Kansas City at San Diego
Miami at New Orleans
Philadelphia at Denver
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
Buffalo at New England

Monday Night Football - Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Last Week's Scorecard: 9-5
Total Scorecard: 57-45 (0.559)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Trailer for Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Premieres

The trailer for the new Albert Brooks comedy, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, is now available online.

King Kong Clocks in at Three Hours


The New York Times reports that Peter Jackson's King Kong is substantially longer than Universal Pictures had anticipated and the extra length (mostly due to the special effects) has helped increase the budget by a third, to $207 million. The studio paid Jackson and Fran Walsh $20 million to create the film.

Universal executives got to see a version of the film in late September in New Zealand and now with seven weeks to go, they have agreed to release King Kong at a length of three hours. Each of the three Lord of the Rings films had a length around the same time.

"This is a three-hour feast of an event," said Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures, who described the film as a tragic love story between the ape and Naomi Watts, who plays Ann Darrow, an actress. "I've never come close to seeing an artist working at this level."

"I anticipated it would be long, but not this long," added Universal chairwoman, Stacey Snider. As recently as late September, she expected about two hours and 40 minutes, she said. But on Wednesday she expressed delight with the picture she's got: "This is a masterpiece. I can't wait to unveil it."

Aronofsky to Direct a Lost Episode


Darren Aronofksy, director of Requiem for a Dream and upcoming The Fountain, has signed on to direct an episode of ABC's Lost, which will likely air at the beginning of May sweeps.

"It was one of those fantastic calls out of the blue," Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse told Entertainment Weekly. "His agents let us know he liked the show, and we jumped at the opportunity. Apparently, he had been watching Lost while up in Montreal shooting The Fountain and got hooked."

Cuse added that he thinks Aronofsky will be done with The Fountain, starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, before taking on Lost. "We scheduled it so that [the episode] is coming on the heels of finishing The Fountain. And we will try to put together a story that will be well-suited for Darren's talents and visual imagination."

Lost returns from its two-week hiatus on November 9th.

Flying Harry Potter Car is Stolen


The "flying" Ford Anglia used in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has been stolen from a film studio lot, police told Reuters.

"For those who have not seen the Harry Potter films, this is the car that flies in the movies and is very well known," a police spokesman said.

The blue Anglia went missing from South West Film Studios at St Agnes in the southwestern English county of Cornwall.

"The film prop was being stored under a tarpaulin. It was not in good condition and could not have been driven away under its own steam," the police spokesman said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

There's No Place Like Home ... And There's Nothing Close to the Majesty of This Fantasy Classic

Purchase 'The Wizard of Oz' from Barnes & Noble Today!!

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

One of the Last Great Traditionally Animated Motion Pictures from the Walt Disney Company - Boyah!!

Purchase 'The Emperor's New Groove' from Barnes & Noble Today!!

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

Damn ABC for Moving This Show to Thursday! Please Keep the Show Alive and Move the Show Back to Wednesdays Before LOST!

Purchase 'Alias - The Complete Fourth Season' from Barnes & Noble Today!

Film Review - Red Eye

Director Wes Craven, the unanimous ‘master of ceremonies’ for many within the horror genre, started his filmmaking career back in 1971 with the drama Together, dubbed in German and a rare find in the current film market. This is not the sort of hollowed beginning one would expect from the man who would go on to be credited for creating one of the most terrifying movie monsters of all time, Freddy Krueger, and for revitalizing the horror genre itself with his now venerable Scream franchise. Critically and publicly acclaimed work in The Hills Have Eyes, Swamp Thing, and The Nightmare on Elm Street are the types of films which have made him infamous throughout Hollywood. However, for reasons which may never be explained – perhaps out of personal interest, who knows, he has chosen to shift his directing skills away from the slasher flicks which have made him essentially a household name and more toward ordinary dramas. But this is Wes Craven after all. Is anything he has done ever ordinary, let alone normal?

The story for Red Eye is easily discernible, nothing startling enigmatic about it, but director Wes Craven, infamous for breaking with the conventional, takes the concept of aeronautical hostage taking to a whole sinister new level. At first glance the premise is not that entirely incalculable – terrorist henchman takes woman hostage and threatens to kill a loved one unless she cooperates in helping him commit an assassination of a US governmental official, she escapes, and he gives chase. Clear enough, right? As the film progresses, however, it intricately evolves into an impertinent, sophisticated thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. What Steven Spielberg did for sharks and the beach with Jaws Wes Craven and Red Eye will do for airplanes, hands down. There are undoubtedly fears that this film will inadvertently cause people to conjure up harrowing memories of the September 11th hijackings but rest assured that the premise deals secularly with one woman and not the idea of using an airliner for the purposes of committing an act of terrorism. Nonetheless, the concept of a hostage being taken, to the awareness of everyone else on board or not, remains apprehensible. It is far more foreseeable that an individual who has been the victim of a carjacking will be shaken by Red Eye, in which case it would be advisable that such individuals be prepared when viewing this film.

Rachael McAdams is a far cry from what one would characterize as a damsel in distress. Beyond the distinguishable observations that she is indeed a woman trapped within a horrendous situation, essentially caught between a rock and a hard place to be quite frank, McAdam’s character breaks with the conventions of a typical Hollywood heroine at around the half-way point in the picture. For the first half of the film it would appear as though she has done everything within her power to draw attention to herself while on the plane so as to be rescued from the clutches of Jackson. Proprietary thinking on the theatrical feminine cliché would lead you to assume that she would simply give up, but instead she takes action and fights back. This clear cut break from the conventional role of women in thrillers is a welcome change, although this has been evident in Hollywood for at least the past decade. Not that the ‘damsel in distress’ cliché is not without its charms; it is just a relief to see a change in pace for once.

Cillian Murphy, known earlier this summer by audiences for his supporting villain role in Christopher Nolan’s smash hit, Batman Begins, evidently has a knack for playing intimidating and deranged individuals onscreen. Murphy’s quite demeanor and absorbing personality just within the first few scenes audiences encounter with him make his character trusting and endearing to us. As the atmosphere shifts slowly toward that of the dark side, Jackson puts all his cards on the table and the transformation all the more shocking to us, though to be quite honest this should not have come as a surprise in the least. This is truly a credit to Murphy’s brilliantly stark performance. The single tragic flaw evident in his character however is at time, specifically near the end of the movie, he comes off as though he is the ‘Energizer Bunny’ of crazed assassins. Rachael McAdams stabs him in the throat with a pen, which he proceeds in due time to pull out of his throat and simply ties a scarf around the wound, has numerous items thrown at him, falls down a flight of stairs, is stabbed with a high-heel shoe, and yet he keeps on coming. After awhile it gets a little tiresome. Luckily daddy steps in and puts a few bullets in him to end his little tirade.

Overall, underneath Red Eye’s intelligible and rather conspicuous exterior boils a penetrating, emotional suspense drama that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats till the very end. There is quite a bit to enjoy about Wes Craven’s intricate psychological thriller, yet adversely there are certain aspects within the context of the film that help bring the quality of the picture down a notch or two. There is this continuous discussion of terrorists and assassinations and yet there remains so little known about the main motivating force behind all of this. Who are these terrorists? What reason do they have to assassinate the director of Homeland Security other then to show off to the world that they can knock a governmental official who can just as easily be replaced? Presumptively these components were left unanswered by Craven in order to maintain the complexity of the script but they remain nagging questions that deserve at least an explanation. And the other negative connotation this film possesses is the build up of clichés which reaches a breaking point in the storyline just as the picture is in the final stretch to its conclusion. The inclusion of the ‘low-battery signal on the cell phone just when the hero has evaded her pursuer’ trick will likely be the most noticeable and irritating cliché for audiences to swallow, but given that this is Wes Craven we are talking about here it should not honestly come as too much of a surprise. With that said though, Red Eye remains a smart, sophisticated thriller on such a level which has not been seen by movie audiences since the bygone days of Alfred Hitchcock. As limited a storyline and as confined as its environmental space is, Red Eye surpasses in intensity within the course of a mere few minutes what it takes a big-budget, marquee star picture an entire hour to do.

My Rating: **** out of 5 (Grade: B+)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Doom Continues Gloom at the Box Office


Universal Studios' adaptation of the video game Doom topped the box office with an opening weekend take of roughly $15.4 million, not particularly impressive when compared to movies like Resident Evil and Tomb Raider. Then again, it would be the only movie to earn more than $10 million this weekend, as the abysmal October continued to disappoint the movie industry.

Entering the charts in second place, DreamWorks' horseracing film Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, brought in a respectable $9.3 million in about a thousand fewer theatres than Doom with a theatre average of $4,633.

DreamWorks and Aardman Studios' Claymation comedy Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit continued to hold up well in its third weekend, as it dropped to third place, earning another $8.7 million and bringing its box office gross to $44 million.

In fourth place, Screen Gems' remake of John Carpenter's The Fog also held up better than similar horror films, adding another $7.1 million to bring its take to $21.5 million. It has earned back its production budget of $18 million in less than ten days.

Warner Bros. feminist drama North Country, starring Charlize Theron, grossed a disappointing $6.5 million in 2,555 theatres, a tragic average of just over $2,500 per venue and only enough to get it into fifth place. Warner Bros. best hopes for the film will have to rely on the Motion Pictures Academy bestowing it with Oscar nominations early next year.

Cameron Crowe's challenging romantic comedy Elizabethtown, starring Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, didn't hold up so well in its second weekend, dropping down to sixth place with $5.7 million.

The Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan and the Cameron Diaz dramedy In Her Shoes each lost almost 600 theatres, but held up their business remarkably well, taking seventh and eighth place with $4.7 and $3.9 million respectively. With a box office gross of over $77 million, Flightplan remains the highest grossing movie of the fall season, so far.

The Top 10 was rounded out by the Al Pacino-Matthew McConaughey drama Two For the Money, which added another $2.4 million taking its box office receipts up to $20.7 million.

George Clooney's historical drama Good Night, and Good Luck moved into the Top 12 as it expanded into 225 theatres this weekend, earning roughly $2.3 million. An unmiticated success, expect the film, which stars David Strathairn as newsman Edward Murrow, to expand even further across the nation in the coming weeks.

Marc "Finding Neverland" Forster's psychological thriller Stay, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, had a weak opening of only $2.2 million, which wasn't even enough to get it into the Top 12.

In limited release: Touchstone Pictures opened Steve Martin's Shop Girl, starring Claire Danes. It earned $236 thousand in its eight theatres, an average of $29.5 thousand per venue. Likewise, Warner Bros. released Shane "Lethal Weapon" Black's Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, an action-comedy starring Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr., into the same number of theatres where it earned around $174 thousand. The latter will expand nationwide on November 11, and the former will probably expand wider, as well.

Still, this was another bad weekend in one of the worst Octobers in years, especially when compared to 2004 where The Grudge reigned over the box office with $39 million. The four new movies didn't even earn that much combined.

NFL Predictions - Week #7

Detroit at Cleveland
Green Bay at Minnesota
Indianapolis at Houston
New Orleans at St. Louis
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
San Diego at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Washington
Dallas at Seattle
Baltimore at Chicago
Buffalo at Oakland
Denver at N.Y. Giants
Tennessee at Arizona

Monday Night Football - N.Y. Jets at Atlanta

Last Week's Scorecard: 9-5
Total Scorecard: 48-40 (0.545)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia and The Producers Trailers Premiere

Normally this is the sort of thing I would save up for The Hollywood Blacklist but these are two trailers I just couldn’t pass up posting here as well. The first because of its Christian context, a formula bound to stir the fires of political debate (if only a bit). The buzz building up to the release of The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe has been tremendous, even if it comes off as a little bit too much in the same vein as The Lord of the Rings.

And how could I forget not including the brand-spanking new trailer for the feature-film adaptation of the Broadway-hit, The Producers, starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman, and Will Ferrell? It is absolutely hilarious!

“God bless Sweden!”

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Box Office Predictions for October 21st - 23rd, 2005

  1. Doom - $21.5
  2. Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story - $11.1
  3. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - $8.3
  4. North Country - $7.5
  5. Elizabethtown - $6.1
  6. The Fog - $5.5
  7. Flightplan - $4.0
  8. In Her Shoes - $3.9
  9. Stay - $3.1
  10. Domino - $2.6

'South Park' Lampoons Overhyped Katrina Coverage

The creators of South Park have given the left-wing media a taste of their own medicine. The left-leaning media which over hyped the devastation left behind after Hurricane Katrina, specifically the death toll, and blamed the Bush administration for not responding to the victims of the natural disaster more quickly, was lampooned on last night’s episode of the Comedy Central favorite. South Park also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the environmental wackos who gushed over the summer-blockbuster, The Day After Tomorrow, for its depiction of the effects of global-warming.

Albright Swaps Politics for Acting

Maybe she will be a better success in this career choice then her last one.

Kingdom of Heaven a Big Hit on DVD

Well, it seems as though all of Ridley Scott’s bitching over the marketing campaign for the DVD release of the summer bomb, Kingdom of Heaven, was for nothing after all …

Director Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven topped both the DVD sales and rental charts its first week out, after making just $47.4 million at the domestic box office. It was quite popular overseas where it earned $163.5 million for a worldwide total of $210.9 million.


Kingdom of Heaven also opened with a bang on Home Media Retailing's rental chart for the week ending October 16, sliding into No. 1 with estimated rental earnings of $10.1 million, or 21.2 percent of its total domestic theatrical take.
If you care to know what I thought of the film, click here to read my review of the Ridley Scott picture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday DVD Recommendation

"With Christopher Nolan at the helm, Batman Begins triumphantly returns the Dark Knight to his long begotten former glory in the days of Tim Burton’s original big screen adaptation and even exceeds those expectations by taking the Cape Crusader to a level which he has yet to be experienced before – the real world ... "

Purchase 'Batman Begins' from Barnes & Noble Today!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Law & Order Plot Inspired By Schiavo Case

Yet another reason I am justified in continuing to hate NBC’s perennial television favorite Law & Order (and all of its numerous and entirely unnecessary spin-offs). Dick Wolf, creator and writer for the detective drama, is one of the most radical left-wing writers in the television business (and that is really saying something since this is Hollywood after all) and he takes any opportunity he can get his grimy hands on to b*tch out the Bush Administration and their ‘religious right’ base. Take for example last Wednesday’s program in which a husband who is about ready to remove his wife’s feeding tube is killed by a car bomb created by … dum, dum, dum … the wife’s family and clergy. It is bad enough to have Michael Schiavo walking free after getting away with murder, as if nothing had ever happened, but now we have to turn him into a freakin’ martyr on a network television program? This is the Hollywood left sinking to a new low.

Television Puts a Woman in White House: Will US Follow Suit?

I have not watched the television drama myself but I have always had the impression that ABC’s Commander-in-Chief was Hollywood’s envisioning of what the country would be like under the thumb of Hillary Rodham Clinton, through their eyes of course. Now even the British are suggesting that this is a prelude to a potential Hillary Clinton presidency. For those of you who have watched the program, what is your opinion?

Serenity: The First Nine Minutes

The American public has decidedly disappointed me in regards to their taste in films this year with such favorites as Cinderella Man, The Island, and Serenity failing at the domestic box office as the dogs of Hollywood (Fantastic Four and Madagascar among them) rule the day. This is why I am requesting that visitors to this site check out the first nine minutes of Joss Whedon’s debut feature film, Serenity, to keep the memory of this original film alive in the minds of the movie-going public. It may be a little late to prop its box office prospects (it has already dropped out of the Top 10), but at the very least it can showcase a truly remarkable film American audiences missed out on in theatres and can catch on DVD in the near future.

The Fog Rolls Into First Place


Columbia Pictures' The Fog took over the top spot with a narrow victory over last week's champ, Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The remake of John Carpenter's original was directed by Rupert Wainwright and stars Tom Welling, Maggie Grace and Selma Blair. It earned an estimated $12.2 million from 2,972 theaters for an average of $4,104 per location. The horror-thriller cost only $18 million to make.

DreamWorks' and Aardman's Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit dipped just 27% in ticket sales from its first weekend and added $11.7 million for a total of $33.3 million so far. The claymation feature is currently playing in 3,656 theaters, the most of any film in the top 12.

Third place belonged to writer/director Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, which made $11 million from 2,517 theaters for an average of $4,370. The Paramount release was budgeted at $45 million.

The Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan earned $6.5 million in its fourth weekend. Directed by Robert Schwentke, the Touchstone film has pushed its total $70.8 million.

20th Century Fox's In Her Shoes, with Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine, rounded out the top five with $6.1 million. After two weeks, the Curtin Hanson-directed drama has earned $20.1 million.

New Line Cinema's Domino, directed by Tony Scott and starring Keira Knightley, opened to just $4.7 million from 2,223 theaters. The action-thriller averaged $2,103 per site.

In limited release, THINKFilm's Where the Truth Lies earned $36,100 from just nine theaters. Written and directed by Atom Egoyan, the unrated release stars Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth and Alison Lohman.

NFL Predictions - Week #6

Atlanta at New Orleans
Carolina at Detroit
Cincinnati at Tennessee
Cleveland at Baltimore
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Miami at Tampa Bay
Minnesota at Chicago
N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Washington at Kansas City
New England at Denver
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
San Diego at Oakland
Houston at Seattle

Monday Night Football - St. Louis at Indianapolis

Last Week's Scorecard: 4-10
Total Scorecard: 39-35 (0.527)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Scott Blasts 'Kingdom of Heaven' Marketing

Honestly, with the number of years director Ridley Scott has devoted to Hollywood and how much he know about the business by now, I thought he would at least be above this sort of childish finger-pointing and scrabbling but I assume that is not the case. Scott has placed the blame of Kingdom of Heaven’s failure at the domestic box office (scraping barely forty-seven million dollars by the end of the summer season) on 20th Century Fox’s marketing team, claiming that had they sold it as a religious/political piece it would have done much better. Here’s a thought as to why the film failed – it was a bad movie! Not that difficult to figure out. Kingdom of Heaven, which opened to a disastrous nineteen million dollars in the first weekend of May (the same weekend in which Van Helsing in 2004 grossed fifty-one million dollars and X2 in 2003 opened to eighty-five million dollars), had horrible review (amassing only a thirty-nine percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and if marketing was to blame then the precipitous drops after its opening weekend would have been minimal thanks to word of mouth but that didn’t happen. In fact the film dropped like a rock thereafter (fifty-one percent in its second weekend alone). I think someone has an ego problem here and it’s not me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Clinton's "Closets Were Full of Skeletons"

For all those interested, Ivory Power currently has a video link to the 60 Minutes interview conducted with former-FBI director Louis Freeh who was appointed by President Bill Clinton. Freeh’s new book, “My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror”, severely criticizes Clinton whose scandals (“closets were full of skeletons” as he states it) and the investigations conducted thereafter distracted the intelligence agency from its real business which was to protect the United States from terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kerry Won't See Campaign Documentary

He who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat the mistakes of it. That's your stuck up Bostonian elitists for you.

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

"Kicking and Screaming truly devotes itself to its message of ‘just having fun’ and not letting the competition ruin the experience of the game, which sadly results it a rather mediocre film and an even worse example for children"

Purchase Kicking and Screaming from Barnes and Noble Today!!

How Films Should Have Ended

Head on over to How It Should Have Ended and check out online animated cartoons of ‘alternate’ endings (parodies, of course) of your favorite films including the original Star Wars (“... And it is all Princess Leia's fault”), Saving Private Ryan, Se7en, Braveheart, among others. Trust me, these are absolutely hilarious.

Thanks to for pointing this bit of information out!

Charlotte's Web (Live-Action Adaptation) Poster

Box Office Predictions for October 14th - 16th, 2005

  1. Elizabethtown - $18.1
  2. Domino - $13.4
  3. The Fog - $11.2
  4. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - $11.1
  5. Flightplan - $7.2
  6. In Her Shoes - $5.9
  7. The Gospel - $4.6
  8. Two for the Money - $4.3
  9. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride - $4.2
  10. A History of Violence - $3.3
  11. Serenity - $3.2
  12. Waiting ... - $2.9

Film Review - Kingdom of Heaven

The onslaught of television advertisements in recent days [May 2005] touting the release of Ridley Scott’s potential summer blockbuster, Kingdom of Heaven, give its audience the impression as though the film should be perceived as a sequel of sorts to the film which resurrected the director’s career, Gladiator. Or more likely this has become a reflex of audience members who have been swamped in the last few years with historical epics, particularly from the ‘swords and sandals’ genre, which the Best Picture winner, Gladiator, sparked off in 2000. Hollywood movie studios quickly put into production big-budgeted epic dramas such as Troy in May 2004 and Alexander, helmed by cult-director Oliver Stone, in November 2004, but none of them approached the level of success, commercial or otherwise, as Scott’s film had. Kingdom of Heaven, though set against a later time period then Gladiator, could easily fall prey to the inadvertent backlash this Oscar winner caused five years ago.

The story for Kingdom of Heaven, historical accuracy aside for the moment, is vapid, lethargic, and reflects a twinge of familiarity with Scott’s previous work, Gladiator, though unquestionably far from the superior quality existent in that film. Reflecting on the events which took place during the time and place of the film, the internal struggle for control of the throne during the reign of King Baldwin IV, as well as after the death of King Baldwin V, would have resulted in a much more fascinating storyline then is presented here. Though surely historical imprecision can be blamed on Gladiator as well, the creative liberties taken by Ridley Scott in the time period in which it was set against were not as exaggerated as this and at the very least there was a creative storyline to back it up where history lapsed.

Women may swoon over him and men envious of his dashing good looks and masterful skill with the sword will desire to be him, but the more intelligent audience members will see right through the glitz and glamour of Orlando Bloom and abhor the fragrant hypocrisy and shallowness underneath in the character of Balian. Ridley Scott portrays Balian as a man of true moral fiber because he has not been corrupted by the fanaticism of religion, whether it is through Christianity or to a lesser extent, at least in his mind, Islam, when in fact he is the direct opposite. What the Hell is wrong with this guy?! We refuse to knock off a corrupt and morally destitute individual and marry his wife, which in effect would have saved the city of Jerusalem from having to engage in an unnecessary conflict thus saving the lives of thousands who would have had to have fought in that battle, on the basis that it was not the ‘right’ thing to do. On the other hand though, we will bang that very same wife on the side when she comes a calling and believe it to be all fine and dandy the next day. Anyone else notice the blaring hypocrisy in all of this?! Balian of Ibelin, butchered in terms of his historical significance, was in fact married to the step-mother of King Baldwin IV, the leper king, and plotted to seize control of the throne for the Ibelin bloodline through her. History aside, the audience has no emotional connection with Balian which makes the actions of the film all the less captivating.

Eva Green was clearly not an inferential choice on the part of director Ridley Scott for the role of Sibylla. In spite of her character being a woman from the Byzantine Empire, which is located in modern day Eastern Europe, her French accent is glaringly obvious and a bit distracting to the concentration of the audience. Again, historically speaking, the director of Gladiator has a disaster on his hands. Sibylla, who was indeed the sister of King Baldwin IV (one of two actually), was not forced to marry Guy de Lusignan but was in fact captivated when she met him and requested permission to marry him. Again, historical precision apart, the romantic angle expressed through the characters of Balian and Sibylla does not work in the least. The perception from the audience’s point-of-view is that the fling between the two is at most a royal princess on a booty call. The idea that Sibylla is trapped in a consortium she never wished for and no longer desires, though to be honest there were no sign indicating that it was a difficult or unloving marriage, and is able to roll in the sheets with this hunk she hardly knows feels more like something out of Desperate Housewives then fairy-tale romance. Guy de Lusignan, portrayed effectively, albeit in the opposite direction in which the audience should feel toward him, by Marton Csokas, is treated quite unfairly in Kingdom of Heaven, to a certain extent that is. True, he was seen early on as somewhat of a scoundrel having attacked the agents of his lord, King Richard the Lionheart, which led to his exile, but he certainly was not the villain that the film makes him out to be either. He led his crusaders into battle against the Muslim Saladin not on the basis of bloodlust but rather the misguided advice of Gerald of Ridfort who had sought to contend the advice of Raymond of Tripoli, a man in a secret alliance with Saladin and who had advised the king not to attack Saladin.

To be honest, the only character in the entire film which appears to have been accurately depicted in the screenplay was Reynald of Chatillon, portrayed brutally by Brendan Gleeson. But, as is often the case, appearances can be quite deceiving. Though Reynald was as remorseless and bloodthirsty as Gleeson illustrates him in the film, he was not specifically targeting Muslims as is the claim. He had been confined to the city of Antioch to begin with because he had led a three-week raid on a Christian island in which he and his men murdered and raped the inhabitants located there. Reynald was with King Guy de Lusignan in the battle against Saladin and did indeed have his head lobbed off at the request of Saladin himself but he was hardly what one would consider a close associate of the king as the film suggests. Unless you happen to be fully aware ahead of viewing Kingdom of Heaven, you probably would not realize that King Baldwin IV, more commonly referred to as the leper king, was played by the genuinely gifted performer, Edward Norton as his face is entirely covered by a silver mask and his voice is altered slightly from the way in which audiences are normally accustomed to hearing it. As philosophic and venerable as the film portrays him as, this was not the King Baldwin IV history remembers him as, though he was certainly no ruthless tyrant either. He did not exemplify the close-knit relationship with his sister, Sibylla, as well. Actually he was immensely hard on Guy de Lusignan for a particular incident, which was not engaging Saladin when he had the chance, and demanded that his sister request a divorce from him, which she refused. Nonetheless, audience members are not given access as to the motivating factors of King Baldwin IV and therefore do not feel obligated in a sense to be emotional involved in the actions which are to take place.

Overall, there truly can be no genuine characterization of Kingdom of Heaven then to say that it is in a sense nothing more then an atheist’s wet-dream. In a nutshell, Ridley Scott insists that religion, whether it is in the form of greedy Christianity or semi-benevolent Islam (though in this case most certainly the former then the latter), is the source of all fanaticism and that it causes more bloodshed, hatred, and violence in this world then it is worth. Talk about an inspirational message, huh?! It is also one with which historians would have the easiest time disproving with the fascist dictatorships of such noteworthy individuals as Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong Il, among others, acting as flagrant examples of the cruelty atheism has brought upon the world. And then there is the unbalanced representation of the two conflicting spiritual ideologies.

Muslims organizations in the weeks leading up to the film’s release in theaters praised director Ridley Scott for his so-called accurate portrayal of the Muslims during this time period. This unfortunately could not be further from the truth. Surprisingly, sarcasm intended, there was no question as to Scott’s portrayal of the Christian Crusaders as the common assumption of the Crusades is that they were a series of unnecessary conflicts led by greedy and land-hungry Christians against otherwise peaceful and non-violent Muslims. Beside the fact that the word ‘Crusade’ is a modern term for the conflicts of this time, Seljuks, non-Arab Muslims, were the ones who first disrupted the peace in the Eastern Empire and who pillaged the city of Jerusalem. The film claims that when Muslims ruled the city, Christians and members of Islam peacefully co-existed, yet another inaccuracy. It was not until the Seljuks realized that the pilgrims coming into the city were sources of tremendous revenue for them did they halt their persecution of the Christians but even then trips to the city were dangerous for Christian pilgrims. Furthermore, it was not King Guy de Lusignan and Reynald of Chatillion but rather Saladin himself who was the one seeking to provoke a war. In fact important pieces of information left out of the desert battle sequence between King Guy de Lusigan’s Crusaders and Saladin’s Muslim troops is that it took place in the crater of inactive volcano and that the evening before the battle, or slaughter to be accurate, took place, Muslims built fires around the crater in which the Crusaders were located and taunted them as they broiled during the night. Scenes in which Muslims are seen bowing down to the ground in the direction of Mecca are treated with distinct reverence and respect while Christian Crusaders are given the short end of the stick, being treated as nothing more then brainwashed sheep being led to the slaughter with their chants of ‘God wills it’ handled as propagandist tools of the Christian elite. Balian questions the right Jews and Christians have to the city of Jerusalem as opposed to the peaceful coexistence of all three religious factions, including Islam, and yet he fails to argue with the idea that the Muslims had a distinct right to the city of Mecca. Muslims never had a rightful claim to the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the holiest city in all of Christendom, not Islam. The mosque which was built in the city overlooking the walling wall was a sign of mockery in the face of the Jews and Christians who they viewed as misguided followers of Allah.

The idea that the Crusades were all about land and wealth, as Jeremy Irons’ Tiberias prominently suggests near the end of the film, is a misconception which was developed by historians upset during the age of European’s imperialistic ambitions in Africa and Asia. The historical misconception is only pushed further down the throats of the susceptible movie-going public with Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven along with the belief that any relation to a spiritual theology marks you distinctly as a religious zealot. This is an unquestionable slap in the face of religious individuals who in these troubling times wish for nothing more to be reassured through the prospects of hope and peace, whether it is achieved through this life or in the next.

My Rating: * out of 5 (Grade: F+)

Kingdom of Heaven Comes Out on DVD Today!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ron Silver Nominated for Position on US Institute of Peace

I can not believe people missed this but I suppose with all the Republican bashing in the news lately, it can be counted as a bit of an oversight. President George W. Bush, who has taken quite a licking from conservative constituents for nominating former Democrat supporter Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States, has nominated former-liberal now recent-administration supporter Ron Silver, an actor who has appeared in such films as “Mr. Saturday Night” and “Ali”, to be a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. Not a significantly high position to be sure but it is a bit of an interesting tidbit for the day.

Wallace and Gromit posters 'banned'

This has nothing to do with politics per say, but seeing as how un-superstitious I am, I thought I would showcase an example of how stupid particular superstitions can make people look. The Isle of Portland in Dorset, England, have reportedly banned posters for the new claymation feature film, “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, because for the past one-hundred years residents have come to accept the word ‘rabbit’ as a sign of bad luck.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

No Curse for Wallace & Gromit


DreamWorks and Aardman Studios found success with their second Claymation collaboration, Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which topped the box office this weekend with just over $16 million in 3,645 theatres, averaging just over $4,400 per venue.

Despite the release of five new movies, Touchstone Pictures' thriller Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, held its ground for a second weekend in a row, dropping to #2 with roughly $10.8 million, bringing its total over $60 million. Its 27% drop-off in its third weekend against so many new releases is quite impressive.

Two dramas, each targeting a different gender, came out this weekend, but both underperformed from their expectations. Directed by Curtis '8 Mile' Hanson, the estrogen heavy In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, opened in third place with just over $10 million, while Two for the Money, the male-driven sports betting drama starring Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, only earned $8.4 million its opening weekend. Both of them averaged roughly $3,500 per theatre.

The big surprise for the weekend had to be Screen Gems' drama The Gospel, which opened in fifth place, despite being in the fewest theatres for a new nationwide release. With focused marketing to church groups in urban areas, it was able to earn roughly $8 million, an average of $8.2 thousand per theatre, the highest average for any movie in the Top 10 and the only movie to average more than $5,000 per theatre.

Even with another stop motion animated film in theatres, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride held up well in its third weekend, adding an estimated $6.5 million to its box office gross of $42 million.

Opening in seventh place was Lions Gate's raunchy comedy Waiting... from first-timer Rob McKittrick. Showing the pitfalls of the restaurant business, the R-rated comedy earned $5.7 million in 1,652 theatres, an average of $3,450.

David Cronenberg's crime thriller A History of Violence dropped down to #8 with $5.1 million, while Joss Whedon's Serenity didn't hold up as well in its second weekend, dropping from #2 to #9 with less than $5 million. The Top 10 was rounded out by the deep sea thriller Into the Blue, starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba, which made roughly $4.8 million. All three films have not yet grossed $20 million, and will likely be out of the Top 10 next week.

Disney's historical golf drama The Greatest Game Ever Played, starring Shia LaBeouf added almost 800 theatres in its second weekend, allowing it to make more this weekend than last. Its $4 million take this weekend kept it just outside the Top 10. The Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy Just Like Heaven lost a third of its theatre, and it ends its run in the Top 12 with $43.5 million, still less than its production costs.

Two high profile independent films opened in New York and Los Angeles after playing at the 43rd New York Film Festival. George Clooney's Good Night, And Good Luck about the on-air battles between Edward Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy made $420 thousand in eleven theatres, an impressive average of $3 thousand. Noah Baumbach's indie dramedy The Squid and the Whale, starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney, grossed $124 thousand in only four theatres, also averaging over $30 thousand.

NFL Predictions - Week #5

Baltimore at Detroit
Chicago at Cleveland
Miami at Buffalo
New England at Atlanta
New Orleans at Green Bay
Seattle at St. Louis
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Jets
Tennessee at Houston
Indianapolis at San Francisco (upset special)
Carolina at Arizona
Philadelphia at Dallas
Washington at Denver
Cincinnati at Jacksonville

Monday Night Football - Pittsburgh at San Diego

Last Week's Scorecard: 11-3
Total Scorecard: 35-25 (0.583)

DVD Depot Update

There was quite a significant update to the DVD Depot this past weekend with the addition of the Complete Fourth Season of 24 (here’s to the producers who did not yield when it was declared politically incorrect to portray a hidden terrorist cell within the United States as belonging to the ‘nation of Islam’), the collector’s edition version of the Ron Howard/Russell Crowe vehicle Cinderella Man (highly underrated at the box office this summer), the unrated edition of the film adaptation of the ‘classic’ television series The Dukes of Hazzard (come on, you just saw it to see Jessica Simpson’s breasts – admit it!), the Disney/Pixar presentation Toy Story 2 (here’s hoping, now with Eisner gone, the tattered relationship between the two companies can be patched up), the Uncorked and the R-Rated versions of the surprise-hit summer comedy Wedding Crashers (which grossed two-hundred million dollars domestically alone), collector’s editions of Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam, and the platinum edition release of the animated classic, Lady and the Tramp.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Benigni Slammed For Positive Depiction of Americans in Iraq

In a year in which a vast majority of Hollywood’s ritzy and artistic-quality feature films, specifically those in the running for the coveted Academy Award for Best Picture, are merely an extension of the left-wing commentaries of high-school dropouts and foreign policy hacks (Jarhead, Syriana, Brokeback Mountain, Munich, North Country, Good Night and Good Luck … two of these films starring George Clooney who I thought was said to remain silent about politics – so much for believing a promise from Hollywood was worth something these days), Roberto Benigni’s new film, “The Tiger and the Snow”, is a welcome relief as it shows American soldiers in Iraq in a positive light. I know, God forbid that the dastardly military men and women of the United States be treated humanely onscreen as opposed to the benevolent ‘freedom fighters’ who merely cut people’s heads off in the name of Allah. Thanks again to Hollywood Confidential for pointing this one out.

New Film Praises Republicans' Role in Civil Rights Movement

According to Hollywood Confidential, a brand new independent feature film entitled “Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution”, which portrays the momentous role the Republican Party, not the Democrats as is widely believed within college academia, played in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, will premiere at the Liberty Film Festival in West Hollywood October 21st – 23rd, 2005. Be sure to check the film out if you happen to be out that way over midterm break. This film should be highly recommended for the black community in this country who for too long have been swindled by the Democratic Party into believing they were behind the success of the Civil Rights movement when in fact they hindered it, even going so far as to destroy the movement altogether.

Film Review - Batman Begins

Not since the days of the original Batman feature film adaptation back in 1989 have fans of the Cape Crusader experienced such elation with the venerable franchise on the big screen. Burton’s follow-up to the perennial favorite entitled Batman Returns failed in many respects to live up to the expectations that had been set down for it. Maybe too much had been demanded of it to live up to the greatness of the original or two major villains in one picture was bit much for audiences to handle. Whatever the reason may be the Batman franchise was never the same from that moment on. When Burton dropped out, director Joel Schumacher stepped in and grabbed the reins of the franchise. And in spite of Batman Forever’s success, grossing twelve million more in domestic box office receipts then the previous installment, fan fervor over Schumacher’s neon obsession began to boil over and came to head with the introduction of the ‘nipple suit’ featuring George Clooney, easily the worse portrayal of Batman in the entire series. Director Christopher Nolan, the man behind the critically acclaimed Memento and Insomnia, now returns fans to where the legend began to return the Dark Knight to his beloved glory.

The story for Batman Begins strays drastically from the direction in which past franchise pictures have been forced toward which, thankfully, is a good thing in this instance. Batman Begins harkens back to the gritty atmosphere that was so abundant in Tim Burton’s original adaptation and even proceeds to take audiences one step further. Though dark in tone, Burton’s Batman remained set in the realm of fantasy which, in its own right, was fine at the time but Christopher Nolan makes the Dark Knight real, which in effect strikes a stronger tone with audiences. Knowing that the Cape Crusader is made of flesh and blood, that he can be knocked down or burnt to a crisp and left for dead like the rest of us and yet get up and continue the fight to win the day makes him a far more captivating mythological figure then if he were invincible.

Christian Bale, a rising performer who to the surprise of many has been in the movie industry for several years now, has at long last come into his own in the role of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne which is merely an alter-ego for the Dark Knight who battles crime and injustice on the streets of Gothem when the sun sets. Bale is nothing short of remarkable in his portrayal of Bruce Wayan/Batman, a more realistic and gothic interpretation of the duo-role character then modern audiences, plagued with the nightmarish images of neon splattered Schumacher monstrosities long since past, are not accustomed to, even those who are old enough to recall accurately Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Cape Crusader in the late-1980s. Bruce Wayne is an inordinately conflicted man, battling not only the crime lords and the gangsters for the streets of Gothem City but also with his alter-ego, Batman, for control of his personal life and even with himself for the direction in which his life after his parents’ deaths is to proceed and in what capacity. Bale, like Maguire in the Spider-Man franchise, proves effectively, both through heart-wrenching emotions and body language, that the life of a superhero is not what it is cracked up to be in popular mythology.

Liam Neeson is positively impeccable as Ducard, the mysterious and often deceivable assistant to Ra’s Al Ghul who tracks down Bruce Wayne so that he may train him in the ways of the League of Shadows in order to overcome his fears and enact justice on the city of Gothem. Though he undoubtedly has the talent capacity to successfully pull off a performance like this one, it remains a bit unnerving, at least for some, to see him in a role as this, especially after his powerful role in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning film, Schindler’s List. Ducard is the type of character who presents a truly emotional roller coaster attraction for his audience. He clearly has the right intentions in mind, wanting to combat injustice and stave off evil, but as Bruce Wayne discovers he takes his dedication to preserving justice to an unhealthy level in which the ‘heroes’ are almost as bad as the villains themselves. Just as you grasp the concept he is advocating he goes and says something that touches a moral nerve. Easily the most diabolical villain in the Batman film franchise to date.

Alight, putting it as concisely and politely as is possible, Katie Holmes’ performance as the persistent and slightly perky (some of you may have noticed this, particularly near the end of the film) assistant district attorney Rachael Dawes is not exactly as prestigious as her baby’s daddy Tom Cruise built it up to be but neither was it as disasterous as it certainly could have been, especially given her track record of ‘distinguishable’ film projects. The romantic aspect of the storyline between her and the Cape Crusader’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne, though undeniably evident from the beginning, is quite possibly the most downplayed of the Batman franchise which to say is not a bad thing given that its audience cares more about the story and the action then anything else, particularly romance. All in all, Miss Holmes, the soon to be Mrs. Cruise, will not be missed terribly given she was the only cast member not to be picked up for the upcoming sequel, likely to the fallout caused by her relationship with Tom Cruise. But it is tradition, in much the same vein as the James Bond franchise, for the Batman films to interchange the love interest of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne to keep things flowing, so for fans this will be use to this.

Two villains which fixture prominently into the Batman Begins storyline appear to be quite underutilized, at least from first glance. These would be Dr. Jonathan Crane, more commonly referred to as the Scarecrow, played fiendishly by Cilian Murphy and Ra’s Al Ghul, a stylized performance commanded by Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe. However, it would seem as though Crane is used merely as a distraction, and the same can be said of Ken Watanabe’s character as well, and was never meant to be used to his full capacity in this chapter of the Batman saga. Given that he was never officially captured at the end of the film, the Scarecrow may play a part in pictures to come, with two sequels already in the works with Nolan at the helm, but with The Joker clearly being the featured villain in the second movie, it doesn’t seem likely however.

The always entertaining British actor Michael Caine brings to the role of Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler Alfred a style that is all his own. For the first time Alfred is not exclusively viewed as only Bruce Wayne’s dear friend and close confidante but also the lone father figure following the deaths of his parents. Gary Oldman scores a home run performance in the role of Sergeant Jim Gordon. Fans of the Dark Knight will certainly be taken back a bit by the lackluster appearance and stammer of Jim Gordon, clearly noting how far he has come from when the comic book superhero’s story began. Those unfamiliar with the Batman legend or the feature film franchise will view Gordon, the only good egg in the bunch as far as the police force in Gothem is concerned, as a pathetic sap, in spite of his willingness and moral standings, which only increases the audience’s anguish for the prospects of the city. Though Morgan Freeman is delightful as Lucius Fox, he is not seen in quite the capacity audiences may expect, which is a bit disappointing to say the least, but there is hope his character’s role in the Batman legend will expand with the upcoming sequels.

Overall, with Christopher Nolan at the helm, Batman Begins triumphantly returns the Dark Knight to his long begotten former glory in the days of Tim Burton’s original big screen adaptation and even exceeds those expectations by taking the Cape Crusader to a level which he has yet to be experienced before – the real world. True, not everything which takes place in Batman Begins has its basis in reality but the characters and their actions are more intone with our world then in any other film present in the franchise which makes it all the more poignant and insightful. These individuals, these human beings, are easily vulnerable and are not the squeaky-clean heroic figures your parents grew up with. Though Bruce Wayne eventually finds the path of justice which would lead him to become the legendary figure he is seen as today, he contemplated killing his parents’ attacker in cold-blood as he left the courtroom and would have gone through with it if it were not for an assassin sent by the mob boss of Gothem. And in spite of their perceivable evolution in character and spirit as the film progresses towards its climax and beyond, the closing credits of the picture hardly mark the end of their progression, which will continue through the rest of the series undoubtedly. The most frequent complaint likely to materialize from audiences is that there is not enough action within the storyline to make this film as interesting in terms of overall scope as other pictures in the franchise. There is a reason the film is called BatmanBegins’. Starting from scratch, Christopher Nolan must develop these characters from the ground up and, through the process of a few sequels in the near future, make them into the mythological figures we have come to cherish. We can only hope, not expect it if history has taught us anything, that the integrity of this new chapter in the Batman film franchise will remain intact as the series continues and not deteriorate in light of its public and critical success. Additional commendation must be given to Christopher Nolan and his screenplay for showcasing capitalism and the free-market in a positive light, quite a rare feat in the left-wing socialist-obsessed Hollywood that is known today.

My Rating: ***** out of 5 (Grade: A+)

Be Sure to Check It Out at the Varsity Theatre This Evening at 8pm

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lost's Hanso Foundation Provides Clues?


So, you think you've figured it out? A lot was revealed in the third episode of ABC's popular Lost. From who Desmond in the hatch appears to be and what company looks to have started it all (or so it seems)... and Jin speaks English?! Okay, maybe we don't know that much yet.

In Wednesday's episode, titled "Orientation," Locke and Jack watched an Orientation video in the hatch which explained why Desmond was there. At the end of the video, the company's name flashed briefly - The Hanso Foundation. Check out the official spin-off site and click 'Active Projects' for some possible clues.

Ashlee Simpson to Redo Saturday Night Live

Why in God’s name does Ashlee Simpson persist in doing this to herself? Furthermore, I can not believe that her camp is still pushing the ridiculously absurd ‘acid reflux disease’ excuse. Do you think that was case with Milly Vanilly and no one believed them because we are a racist society? I did not think so either but I thought I would throw that out there anyway just for the Hell of it.

Theron Considers Sexual Harrassment Against Men Humorous

Oscar winner Charlize Theron (remember ladies, if you want to be recognized by the Academy of Arts and Science for your so-called theatrical talents, hook onto those roles in which you play a whore – grabs their attention every time) in her new film, North, which is reportedly in the same vein as Erin Brockovich (complete with exaggeration, misinterpretations, and straight-out lies, no doubt), play the first woman who filed suit in court for sexual harassment at work. So, in order to better coup with her character, she sexually harassed (jokingly, of course) her male co-workers on set. In an interview, Theron said, “It was quite a laugh and I think they quite enjoyed it”. Whether it was in good fun or not, does this not seem a bit hypocritical on Theron’s part? Sexual harassment against women is morally unethical but sexual harassment against men is farcical? Anyone else see the irony in all of this? Sexual harassment, regardless of whether it is against men or women, is never a light-hearted matter and should be treated seriously. Although the boundaries of what constitutes as sexual harassment and what does not need to be seriously redefined.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Welcome to the Hollywood Blacklist!

Welcome to The Hollywood Blacklist, where left-wing Hollywood elitists are brought to task on their radical ramblings. Due to recent events, I have decided to temporarily shutter the Office of Homeland Security until improvements based on communication can be more properly assessed. In the meantime, the Hollywood Blacklist will focus primarily on a number of areas within the field of American politics – political correctness in television and film projects, liberal political agendas with feature films, and the befuddled musings of those who believe because they are paid so much that they have the privilege of dictating foreign policies in this country. At the same time however this will be a source for which visitors can frequent for reviews of the latest films, purchase recent or future release DVDs, view the latest film trailers, or catch up on exclusive film info. This will not be so much the focus of the site but it will pop up within posts every now and again.

I am just beginning to put this site together and since I have somewhat of a busy week ahead of me (major British Literature paper due this Friday), progress will be rather slow. I intend however to move quickly in making this site fully operational within the next two weeks. Please stay tuned for further updates!

Final One-Sheet for The Producers

Final One-Sheet for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Box Office Predictions for October 7th - 9th, 2005

  1. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit - $19.1
  2. Flightplan - $8.7
  3. In Her Shoes - $7.5
  4. Serenity - $6.3
  5. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride - $5.6
  6. Two for the Money - $5.4
  7. A History of Violence - $4.9
  8. Just Like Heaven - $3.8
  9. Into the Blue - $3.1
  10. Waiting - $2.9
  11. The Greatest Game Ever Played - $2.8
  12. The Gospel - $2.1

Sunday, October 02, 2005

NFL Predictions - Week #4

Buffalo at New Orleans
Denver at Jacksonville
Detroit at Tampa Bay
Houston at Cincinnati
at Tennessee
San Diego at New England
Seattle at Washington
St. Louis at N.Y. Giants
N.Y. Jets at Baltimore
Dallas at Oakland
Minnesota at Atlanta
Philadelphia at Kansas City
San Francisco at Arizona

Monday Night Football - Green Bay at Carolina