Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kanye West Stands By His Slam on Bush: “I Spoke from My Heart”

He didn’t cry exactly but rapper Kayne West assured Barbara Walters last evening on her ‘Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005’ special last evening (I’m sorry but if Kayne West, Dakota Fanning, and Tom Cruise are some of the most fascinating people of the year then this country is truly in a cultural sinkhole) that he meant what he said about President George W. Bush:

Barbara Walters: “During a telethon for Hurricane Katrina, Kanye caused a storm of his own.”

Kanye West on the telethon: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.”

Walters to West: “Do you think what you said then you still feel today?”

West: “I spoke from, I spoke from my heart, and I stand by my statement.”

And yet his explanation fails to clarify why he chose a benefit concert to make this statement and how his CD, which debuted shortly after this statement was given, shot immediately to the top of the charts.

Monday, November 28, 2005

N.Y. Times Critic: Even If Clooney Movie Is Way Off-Base, You Have to Admire Its Energy

New York Times film critic argues that for Syriana, despite its far off-base portrayal of the current political reality, ignorance is bliss and we should admire the film for its energy. I’ll simply assume that he was as elated with this film as much he was with Ridley Scott’s historically inaccurate Kingdom of Heaven earlier this year based on what he just claimed.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Film Review - The Polar Express

Computer animation has made monumental leaps and bounds in the short few years it has come into existence starting with the first computer generated animated film ever, Toy Story, in 1995. Since that time, out of the twenty-one computer generated feature film that have been released, only a slim six have failed to pass the one-hundred million dollar mark at the domestic box office. Box office gravy aside, technology which has been required to achieve these astonishing effects has made exceptional progress as well. Although Pixar Animation Studios who first pioneered the new genre has captured a majority of the headlines in this regard, Warner Brothers can lay claim to being the first to use the new technique called Performance Capture which translates the movements and expressions of performers like Tom Hanks into the three-dimensional world of The Polar Express. However, in spite of these heralding achievements, story and character development have been made to suffer at the expense of bigger and better special effects. This has been nearly the case with every single major studio release with the only notable exception being, ironically, Pixar Animation Studios.

The story for The Polar Express, or lack thereof, is easily one of the most incontestable flaws throughout the film. With such cutting-edge animation technology at their disposure, Hanks and Zemeckis could have at the very least conceived a more succinct plotline to accompany it with then what is present now. That being said, praise for the animated feature film should be focused more on its dazzling special effects and less on the picture as a whole given its rather lethargic storyline. Doing otherwise would be like awarding the talented folks at Pixar Animation Studios for Toy Story, the first completely computer-animated feature film, without the buddy comedy story element which made it all the more memorable in cinematic history.

Celebrated actor Tom Hanks takes on a majority of the roles in The Polar Express including the protagonist of the picture, Hero Boy, a young boy who has lost his Christmas spirit and goes on a magical journey to the North Pole gain it once more. However, not all of his characters are as clearly defined as that. The hobo, for example, is never fully clarified. It can be assumed that he is indeed a ghost as he himself alludes to in the film but his reason for being on the Polar Express in the first place is never explained. Is he a good guy? If so why does he then insist on tormenting Hero Boy over the loss of his Christmas spirit? If he is evil then why does he help him at ‘critical’ junctures in the journey? This does nothing but bewilder the audience.

Overall, The Polar Express, albeit an unprecedented achievement in the advancement of computer generated animation with its exquisite special effects and breathtaking backdrops, is at best a sub par family feature and at worst barely even a mediocre holiday ‘classic’ with no true sense of story or meaning.

The film’s running time which stands at a lengthy – for an animated film that is – one-hundred and nine minutes is at least thirty or forty minutes longer then is necessary. There are a prevalent amount of ‘obstacles’ Hero Boy must overcome in order to reach the North Pole that in reality are nothing more then overemphasized theme park-like thrill elements without a single quality of peril or suspense about them that would make them the least bit exhilarating. A majority of these ‘thrill’ sequences are back-to-back which gives the audience the sense that they are in fact watching the very same basic animation sequence in a continuous loop for a little over half a hour. This is the sort of thing that will make even those with the strongest constitutions a wee bit delirious to say the least.

Upon examination of the ‘lucky’ children who board The Polar Express bound for the North Pole, it is a surprise to see that not every single grown-up who comes out of a screening of the film has the ‘Christmas spirit’ entirely drained from them. These brats, a term which is not used loosely in this context mind you, are strikingly stuck-up and self-centered. Rather then receiving their just deserts for their self-indulgent behavior as any right-minded adult would expect, they are instead rewarded with presents and treats from Santa Claus himself. Know-It-All whose shrill voice alone marks him alongside Dobby the house-elf (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and Jar-Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace) as one of the most caustic computer-animated characters in recent memory has the word ‘learn’ cut into his golden ticket. Many parents however would rather go with the straight ‘back of the hand’ technique and tell him to ‘shut up’ instead of handing him the responsibility of ‘learning’ to control himself. It sends a clearer message and is known to be much more effective then the alternative.

Regretfully there are a few musical numbers in The Polar Express – because it just would not be a family film without them – but none of them are exceptionally memorable in the long run however. Not a single song, with the only notable exception being the closing-credit version of ‘Believe’, will stand out in your mind as the credits begin to roll nor will you find yourself humming any of them unconsciously as you stroll back to your car from the movie theatre. Zemeckis may have foreseen this complication and this is why he included so few of them as there are. He should feel so bad though. Walt Disney Feature Animation, once renowned for its enchanting animated musical numbers, has had this very same dilemma for years now. At least The Polar Express will have ample company in this regard, if that is any consolation at all.

And finally, the filmmakers essentially shoot themselves in the foot with the conclusion. By having Santa Claus return the sleigh bell Hero Boy lost at the North Pole due to the hole in his robe pocket at the end of the film, they make themselves out to be hypocrites in regards to their message that believing is not always seeing. The script would have been better off had they left the audience with the open-ended question of whether it was all just a dream or not rather then giving them a definitive resolution. Despite these relative defects, The Polar Express is in no way entirely intolerable. It is best however to leave for the holiday season only and even then it is not something that should circumvent the viewing authority of far superior Christmas classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street or even A Christmas Story this holiday season.

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

Monday, November 21, 2005

DVD Depot Update

It has been quite some time since I last updated the DVD Depot but unfortunately this time around there are not any notable releases that are worth mentioning. However among the lot, the update includes Roll Bounce (I did not think it was possible but the name ‘Bow Wow’ does sound much worse then ‘Lil Bow Wow’), the computer animated dud Valiant (quite … Disney would just like to sweep this under the rug and pretend it never happened), Joss Whedon’s directorial debut Serenity (I know it has been awhile since its release but I promise I will be getting on my review of the film soon enough), Into the Blue (I agree, Jessica Alba is gorgeous … be sure to wipe the drool off your face though), Wes Craven’s thriller Red Eye, and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Harry Potter Earns a Magical $101.4 Million


Warner Bros. Pictures' Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire earned a massive $101.4 million from 3,858 theaters in just its first three days, according to studio estimates. Warner Bros. Pictures' fourth installment in the popular Harry Potter franchise, directed by Mike Newell, averaged an impressive $26,289 per theater.

The $150 million-budgeted film set a new record for biggest opening in November, surpassing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which debuted to $90.3 million in 2001. It is also the fourth biggest weekend for a film in box office history, passing up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($93.7 million) and trailing just Spider-Man ($114.8 million), Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith ($108.4 million) and Shrek 2 ($108 million). Goblet of Fire is the second-best opener of 2005, behind Revenge of the Sith, and has tied Spider-Man, Sith and The Matrix Reloaded in reaching the $100 million mark in three days.

For its single day performances, the film's $39.355 million Friday box office is the second-highest ever, behind only Spider-Man ($39.406 million) and above Prisoner of Azkaban ($38.3 million). The Friday total is also the fourth best opening day in history. The Saturday total of $35.5 million is the fourth biggest for that day.

Internationally, Goblet of Fire added another $80 million over the weekend from 6,000 prints in 19 countries. That puts the worldwide total at $181.4 million after three days.

While earning considerably less, 20th Century Fox's Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line collected a solid $22.4 million in second place. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, James Mangold's well-reviewed drama averaged a strong $7,565 per location.

Walt Disney Pictures' Chicken Little dropped two spots to third with $14.8 million in its third weekend. The computer-animated comedy has earned $99.2 million so far.

Fourth place belonged to The Weinstein Co.'s Derailed, which added $6.5 million. The $22 million Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston thriller is at $21.8 million after two weeks.

Director Jon Favreau's space adventure Zathura rounded out the top five with $5.1 million in its second weekend. Budgeted at $65 million, the film has made $20.3 million.

Writer/director Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto, with Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Neeson, earned $34,900 from just three theaters for an average of $11,633. The dramedy has earned $45,000 since opening on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

NFL Predictions - Week #11

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

Monday Night Football - Minnesota at Green Bay

Friday, November 18, 2005

Patrick Fitzgerald = Sexy!

I have never held Katie Couric in high regard … ever … but this is pathetic even for her.

Minutemen Murdering Illegals? Only in Hollywood

Given how liberal Law & Order has been, I am not surprised that they have now begun attacking The Minutemen. That is why I stopped watching anything on NBC a long time ago. It seems, judging by their ratings lately, that the rest of America has done the very same thing.

Teaser Trailer for Superman Returns Premieres!

I truly worried about this project when McG (director of Charlie’s Angels) and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 2) were at the helm but now that Bryan Singer (director of X2) has officially taken over and the teaser trailer has been released (attached to prints of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire this weekend), it is safe to say that the return of Superman, one of the greatest superheroes of all time, is in good hands.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ABC Gives Conservative GOP House Speaker a History of Advocating Segregation

It is bad enough that ABC’s hit television drama, Commander-in-Chief, is a Hillary Clinton propagandist piece but now it is out to smear Republicans on top of it. I know, big surprise, but work with what I am getting at here. News Busters reports that the latest episode of the show made the Republican Speaker of the House out to be a segregationist via a film strip showing Templeton, played by Donald Sutherland, in 1965 speaking in a smoke-filled room about how “If the Lord Almighty wanted colored people to mix with whites, to live with whites, to marry whites, he wouldn't have placed them on separate continents”. This film strip is used against the Speaker of the House in response to his attempt to out the special assistant to the president who turns out to be HIV-positive. Again, I realize not all of television is based on reality but how realistic is it to believe that an outing campaign would take place within the White House?

Teaser Poster for Disney/Pixar's Cars

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Box Office Predictions for November 18th - 20th, 2005

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $103.1
  2. Walk the Line - $22.5
  3. Chicken Little - $17.4
  4. Zathura - $6.8
  5. Derailed - $6.0
  6. Get Rich or Die Tryin' - $5.6
  7. Jarhead - $5.3
  8. Saw II - $4.7
  9. The Legend of Zorro - $3.3
  10. Pride and Prejudice - $2.5

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chicken Little Ain't Fallin'!

It was another strong weekend at the box office, not so much because of the four new movies, but largely due to the November 11 Veterans' Day holiday which kicked the weekend off on Friday.

The movie helped most by the school holiday was Walt Disney's computer-animated family comedy Chicken Little, which retained its top spot at the box office despite the slew of new films. It earned $32 million in its second weekend, a minor drop-off of 20% from last week, bringing its total over $80 million.

Three of the four new movies opened in second through fourth place with Sony's family space adventure Zathura doing the best with roughly $14 million, an average of $4,343 per theatre in over 3,200 theatres. It was followed closely by the Weinstein Company's debut offering, Derailed, a thriller starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston, which brought in $12.8 million in roughly 2,400 theatres.

The Jim Sheridan directed crime drama Get Rich or Die Tryin', starring rapper 50 Cent, opened on Wednesday, and over the three-day weekend, it came in fourth place with $12.5 million in 1,652 theatres, an average of $7,566 per theatre. It's quite a disappointment for anyone expecting it to replicate the success off 8 Mile by 50 Cent's pal Eminem, which earned over $50 million in the same weekend three years ago.

The military drama Jarhead took a tumble in its sophomore frame, dropping almost 56% to make less than $12.3 million in fifth place, bringing its total to $47 million. On the other hand, Lions Gate Films' Saw II continues to do great business, as it added another $9.4 million to its box office take of $74 million.

Sony Pictures' sequel The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, dropped down to 7th place with $6.6 million. It has earned just under $40 million in its first three weekends.

Universal Pictures' romantic comedy Prime with Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep, and DreamWorks' Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story continued to bring in audiences, as each of them remained in the Top 10 in eighth and ninth place respectively. Prime made just under $4 million this weekend, bringing its total to just under $19 million, and the Dakota Fanning drama earned another $3.8 million.

The latest adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, entered the charts at #10 with a weekend gross of $2.8 million in only 215 theatres, an impressive per-theatre average of $13,000. It will expand nationwide over Thanksgiving weekend.

George Clooney's Good Night, And Good Luck and Steve Martin's Shopgirl rounded out the Top 12 with $2.6 and $1.8 million respectively.

In limited release, two movies opened in the $127 thousand range, except that Sarah Silverman's concert film, Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic opened in three times fewer theatres than Richard Gere's Bee Season, based on the novel by Myla Goldberg.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Green Day: The Movie?


Success generally begets success, which is why I'm not surprised to hear that the band is apparently in development to create a film based on their successful album, but thankfully know enough about their own limitations, to restrict their participation in the film to screenwriting and producing, and not acting. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong recently told "You won't see us appearing in starring roles because we're not actors. We will leave that to the professionals." Nice. He said that the film would be a mix of the Who's albums and films "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia". It all sounds good, boys, just remember to wake my ass up when September ends.

Da Vinci Code Trailer Attached to Kong


One of the most anticipated films of next year is no doubt Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's mega bestseller The Da Vinci Code. As you may recall, the film stars Tom Hanks as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who teams up with French cryptographer Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in an effort to unravel a mysterious puzzle hidden in Da Vinci's paintings which could dismantle the Catholic Church. There was a teaser released earlier this year, which wasn't too exciting considering it was released about a month before filming even started. Principal photography on the film is over (or at least it should be), though, and we can confirm, thanks to our man Alex, who kicks ass updating the trailer page, that the first full trailer for Da Vinci will be attached to King Kong. Not that you needed any other reason to watch Peter Jackson's interpretation of the giant ape but if you did, well, there you go. Hanks tries to crack the code May 19th.

The Shaggy Dog One-Sheet

NFL Predictions - Week #10

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

Monday Night Football - Dallas at Philadelphia

Last Weekend's Scorecard: 10-4
Total Scorecard: 77-53 (0.592)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Film Review - War of the Worlds

The celebrated author H.G. Wells was one of humanity’s most gifted visionaries, long before his time. Not only was he successful in launching a entirely new genre in science fiction writing with the development of the alien invasion premise, he also brought to the forefront the frightening prospect of war and its impact on society as a whole. Though a majority of his works can and should be treated as nothing more then pure imaginative storytelling, Wells included in a few of his writings social commentaries about modern society that are worth mentioning. The Time Machine, for example, centered on the whimsical concept of traveling through time but also highlighted the significance of education and reading in maintaining the basic cultural structure of civilization. In turn, War of the Worlds was a commentary on two primary fronts – it promoted the ideal of humanity uniting together against a common enemy and the belief that disease could play a pivotal role in war, both of which proved themselves to be preludes to the emergence of World War I in Europe. Now as free world faces the onslaught of terrorism, a frightening reality which continues to loom large in light of the recent terrorist attacks in London, the message of mankind uniting against a common adversary, a common evil, is an ideal that is more warranted now then ever before.

The story for War of the Worlds, albeit an exhilarating and emotionally draining experience to witness, particularly if you happen to have weak constitution for the sight of human beings being incinerated alive, does not pack quite the punch it would have several years ago. Steven Spielberg is at his directing best with War of the Worlds, doubtlessly his most graphic pictorial since his 1998 epic war drama Saving Private Ryan, and Cruise brings honest emotional integrity to the family story arch of the film. Adversely, with audiences having already experienced Independence Day and M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, both of whose stories were inspired directly by the H.G. Wells novella, the basic alien invasion plotline grows exhausted and vapid rather quickly, more so then we would expect from a Spielberg picture. This of course is no fault of either Spielberg or Cruise but perhaps Worlds was not quite the follow-up project they had in mind, or at least audiences did, particularly for the creative duo behind the brilliantly orchestrated Minority Report.

Unquestionably Tom Cruise falls just a tad short of the intensely passionate roller coaster performance present within Minority Report, his last collaboration with acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, but nonetheless he appears to be in top form in the role of Ray Ferrier, an immature playboy faced with the onslaught of a devastating alien invasion who must come to grips with his role as a parent and protector of his two children as they make their way to Boston, Massachusetts to reunite with their loved ones. Thrown head first into the position as the lone parental figure for his understandably frightened and juvenile children against his will, Cruise affectionately demonstrates the tremendous difficulty Ray has coming to grips with his long overdue responsibilities and how quickly he must change mentally and emotionally to protect his children, doing whatever is necessary, even if it means sacrificing his own moral fiber, to ensure his children’s survival through this ordeal. Cruise’s impacting performance is what makes War of the Worlds as emotionally poignant as it is and thanks to Dakota Fanning this fermentation is made even more believable. Dakota Fanning’s Rachel Ferrier brings the right level of emotional intensity required for Ray Ferrier to make the incredible transformation from a juvenile playboy to the mature and self-sacrificing parental figure he appears as in the end of the film, though to be fair Miss Fanning’s overly intelligent persona in the film can be a bit too much at times to accept her as an average girl living through a devastating event such as this but we’ll forgive this oversight in the long run. There exists however a complication involving Justin Chatwin’s character, Robbie Ferrier, the smart-alecky and rebellious, though certainly more mature at times, son of Tom Cruise’s character. The difficulty lies not with Chatwin’s performance. On the contrary, he works perfectly well in the role. Rather the problem exists with the resolution of the character. With no explanation as to how Robbie survived the alien attack when it appeared unmistakably to have led to his death, his appearance at the very end of the film ruins in a way the emotional impact of the reunion between Ray, his ex-wife and Rachael. It feels so out of the blue and unexplained that it vastly overshadows the audience’s perception of the picture’s finale, thus diluting the message Spielberg is trying to express.

Overall, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s second collaborative effort War of the Worlds lamentably falls short of expectations especially on par with the creative majesty of Minority Report, though undoubtedly this does not come as a surprise to many. Nonetheless, the originative and visually stunning first half saves the film from whatever shortcomings its weaker second half, particularly its conclusion, may deliver. Rhetoric stemming from the left side of the political spectrum would dictate that the symbolism presented in Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novella relates to the American ‘imperialism’ demonstrated in Iraq when in reality it relates to its audience the evils of terrorism and the emotional horror its devastation can invoke in the human psyche. Conservative advocacy groups for years have derided Hollywood for placing clearly partisan messages in their feature films but for the left to extract the idea that War of the Worlds, a story developed years before World War I even broke out, is a commentary on the ‘evils’ of the Bush Administration is a bit of a stretch, which is putting it politely.

There are overtly distinctive parallels made between the alien invasion/attempted extermination of the entire human race and the aftermath following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States, most notably the scene in which survivors pass a wall covered with pictures of missing loved ones, and the recent terrorist bombings in London, England. However poignant or familiarly and emotionally entrancing this may seem for some, this unfortunately is where Spielberg goes the most wrong in his direction of War of the Worlds. If anyone has even the slightest memory of the moments after the nation fell under attack in September 2001, in spite of the period of shock and horror at the sight of the Twin Towers collapsing and survivors fleeing the clouds of debris in the streets there existed no state of panic or anarchy as some may have predicted, including the terrorist masterminds behind this devious plot. Unlike Spielberg’s conceptualization of a rapacious and hysterical populous shown on the big screen, Americans did not riot, lute, or cause an uprising in the days that followed. This can also be proudly said of the British as well in the aftermath of the blitz bombings. In reality Americans would not have acted as outrageously as Spielberg demonstrates, though undoubtedly they would neither have acted as collectively as they appeared following the attacks of September 11th or the blackout in New York City. In War of the Worlds, they are treated so repugnantly it is as if they were the walking dead straight out of a George A. Romero zombie feature, which ironically could easily be playing a few theatres down from the Steven Spielberg picture. The point of Ray’s family surviving through a terrifying ordeal such as the attempted annihilation of the human race comes in loud and clear but he crosses the line in this instance. This does not however act as a total blemish on the film’s pristine status but rather more as a sticking point which needs simply to be addressed.

Yet another problem existent with the storyline is that in spite of its clear ability to remain in tune with the works of the science-fiction author H.G. Wells it does not present many opportunities in which audiences not knowledgeable of the source material can understand key elements of the alien invasion plotline. Why were humans following the initial attacks by the Martian invaders captured instead of being incinerated as before? What was the deal with the red vein-like objects left behind by the alien machines? Nothing is expressed onscreen that would clue audiences into their significance to the plot or what they are precisely. In spite of a few clear missteps, particularly in the latter half of the science-fiction action drama, War of the Worlds maintains its distinctive Spielberg style which has made his films so successful and enduring over the decades and bolsters an astonishing set of five-hundred special effects shots which alone are worth the price of admission.

My Rating: **** ½ out of 5 (Grade: A)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Gene Shalit's Not Just an Idiot, He's a Liberal

In his review for the new Sam Mendes film, Jarhead, Shalit referred to Operation Desert Storm as America's first oil war. Thank God I never had respect for Gene Shalit or else it would be lost right now.

Box Office Predictions for November 11th - 13th, 2005

  1. Chicken Little - $27.6
  2. Get Rich or Die Tryin' - $19.1
  3. Zathura - $16.2
  4. Jarhead - $15.8
  5. Derailed - $10.1
  6. Saw II - $9.3
  7. The Legend of Zorro - $6.2
  8. Prime - $4.0
  9. Good Night, And Good Luck - $2.8

Putting the PC Back into the Academy Awards

With no Lord of the Rings film this year to ruin their festivities, Hollywood can get back to what it believes it does best – politics. Yes, with the Oscar-bait season now in full swing, there is a laundry list of politically charged pictures in the running for Best Picture.

Here is just a small list of the potential nominees …
  • "Good Night, and Good Luck," the George Clooney flick that deals with the "Red Scare" era and beats up on Senator Joe McCarthy
  • "North Country," which stars Charlize Theron and tells the story of sexually harassed female workers
  • "Transamerica," where Felicity Huffman ("Desparate Housewives") is cast as a pre-operative transsexual who finds out that years earlier he had fathered a child
  • "Brokeback Mountain," which is a cowboy movie with a new gay twist
  • "Syriana," a George Clooney-Matt Damon matchup with a story that expands upon the liberal mantra "It's all about oil"
  • "Jarhead," an atypical war film based on a Marine-bashing book
  • "Rent," a Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play that was adapted for the big screen and tells the tale of residents in the East Village of New York City who have AIDS and engage in alternative lifestyles
  • "Mrs. Henderson Presents," in which Judi Dench plays a female theater owner who has her thespians perform naked

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation


Purchase 'Blue Collar TV - Season 1, Volume 1' from Barnes & Noble Today!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

NBC Drama Includes Shot at "War Founded on Lies"

I don’t mind political commentary in television programs (actually I do but I also believe in the constitutional right to free speech so I do not intend on censoring anyone) but unlike the all-but-dead television drama ER at least have the guts to devote an entire episode to a left-wing cause rather then these tiny out-of-the-blue jabs at the right. That is what I call cowardice.

Pro-Choice Repub Soars Without Right Wing Baggage

I realize that not everything on television, including the political drama The West Wing, is based on principles of reality but even this is stretching the realm of fantasy, in this case the wet-dream of Democrats, a bit too far.

Thomas Haden Church is The Sandman!

Check out the first official picture of Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman, one of the villains (out of quite possibly three in the entire film) from the third film in the highly successful Spider-Man franchise.

Chicken Not So Little at Box Office


The success last weekend of Lions Gate's horror sequel Saw II was a fine harbinger for things to come, carrying over to the first weekend in November, which saw two more significant box office hits.

Walt Disney's computer-animated Chicken Little, their first self-produced computer animated film in five years, brought in huge family business to the tune of an estimated $40 million, making it Disney's highest opening in-house animated film to date.

That's not to take anything away from the Sam "American Beauty" Mendes-directed military drama Jarhead which opened in roughly 1,000 fewer theatres, but gave Chicken Little a run for the top spot on Friday. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard, the powerful and relevant film had a strong opening weekend earning roughly $28.7 million in 2,411 theatres, an average of just under $12 thousand per theatre, the highest average for any movie this weekend.

Lions Gate probably won't be too disappointed with the second weekend showing of Saw II. Despite dropping to third place, it earned an estimated $17.2 million, a minimal drop-off of 46%, which is quite impressive for a sequel to a long-awaited film, let alone a horror sequel the week after Halloween. It has grossed roughly $60 million to date compared its $4 million production budget.

Sony Pictures' sequel The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, also held up well in its second weekend, earning roughly $10 million to bring its total over the $30 million mark.

Making it three for three, the Meryl Streep-Uma Thurman romantic comedy Prime rounded off the Top 5 with a terrific second weekend gross of $5.2 million, off only 15% from its opening weekend. It seems that Universal Pictures may have a decent word-of-mouth hit.

In sixth place, DreamWorks' own crowd pleaser Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, with Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, earned another $4.8 million bringing its box office take to just under $24 million.

George Clooney's Good Night, And Good Luck and Steve Martin's Shopgirl each doubled the number of theatres they were playing in this weekend, allowing both to enter the Top 10. Clooney's drama starring David Strathairn as newsman Edward Murrow moved up to #7 with $3.1 million, bringing its total earnings to about $11 million. The Steve Martin-penned drama starring Claire Danes made roughly $2.5 million in 493 theatres, averaging just over $5 thousand in each, for a move up to ninth place.

Paramount's The Weather Man, starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine, filled in the gap in eighth place with just under $3 million while Jodie Foster's thriller Flightplan held onto its place in the Top 10 for a second week with $2.3 million, bringing its total to an impressive $84 million.

The Charlize Theron drama North Country dropped out of the Top 10 with $2.1 million in its third weekend, while Sony's remake of John Carpenter's The Fog rounded out the Top 12 with an additional $2 million, bringing its total to $28 million after four weeks.

DreamWorks and Aardman Studios' Claymation film Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit hit the $50 million mark on Thursday, but it ended up dropping from #5 to #13 due to the presence of Disney's own G-rated animated film.

Despite the increase in box office from last week, the sum total of the Top 10 was still slightly down from the same weekend last year when Disney released Pixar's The Incredibles to a $70 million opening.

NFL Predictions - Week #9

Atlanta at Miami
Carolina at Tampa Bay
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Detroit at Minnesota
Houston at Jacksonville
Oakland at Kansas City
San Diego at N.Y. Jets
Tennessee at Cleveland
Chicago at New Orleans
N.Y. Giants at San Francisco
Seattle at Arizona
Pittsburgh at Green Bay
Philadelphia at Washington

Monday Night Football - Indianapolis at New England

Last Weekend's Scorecard: 10-5
Total Scorecard: 67-49 (0.578)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Trailer for King Kong Premieres!

The official trailer for Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the classic film, King Kong, has hit the internet. Check it out for yourself!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The McGruder

Aaron McGruder, creator of the controversial comic, and now cartoon, series “The Boondocks”, certainly has quite a mouth on him, doesn’t he? Larry Elder has taken notice of this fact and has decided to hand out the first ever “McGruder” Award for the most outrageous statement by a black public figure. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who walks away with it. Yep, it is McGruder himself. How can you not admire a man who refers to the Bush Administration as a bunch of “Nazis” or Condoleezza Rice a murderer?

Michael Moore Owns Halliburton!

Coming to a bookstore near you, “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy” exposes the liberal Hollywood elitists for the phonies that they are. For example, Michael Moore who affirms to not being a friend of Halliburton owns tens of thousands of stock shares in the company!

Stone’s Controversial 9/11 Film Shoot Rolls On

The battle has begun.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tuesday DVD Release Recommendation

"Revenge of the Sith remains the true turning point for series creator George Lucas’ grandiose galactic fable, securing its rightful place as the best of the prequel series and the third best film within the entire six-part saga ... "

Purchase 'Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith' from Barnes & Noble Today!

Box Office Predictions for November 4th - 6th, 2005

  1. Chicken Little - $32.5
  2. Jarhead - $14.8
  3. Saw II - $13.3
  4. The Legend of Zorro - $8.2
  5. Dreamer: Inspired By a True Story - $4.0
  6. Prime - $3.6
  7. Good Night, and Good Luck - $3.1
  8. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - $2.5
  9. The Weather Man - $2.4
  10. Doom - $1.9

Lost Manuscript to be Published


Variety says that writers for ABC's Lost will soon be penning a subplot about a character named Gary Troup who didn't survive the crash but left behind a manuscript he was working on.

Troup is fictional, of course, and so is his supposed novel. But ABC sister company Hyperion Books will publish the "found" manuscript, in the hope of turning a fictional product-placement into a real one.

Working with writers from the series, Hyperion has commissioned a novel by a "well-known" mystery writer -- it's not saying who -- that supposedly constitutes the book. The book will be marketed as the work of an author who "delivered (his book) to Hyperion just days before Troup boarded Oceanic Flight 815."

The Lost novel, titled "Bad Twin," is a P.I. procedural involving a wealthy heir's search for his nefarious brother. It will be released this spring in conjunction with the series' related episodes.

The Comic-Strip Revolution Will Be Televised

“Within the first 10 seconds of the new show of the same name, viewers will be offered the following Molotov cocktail of social criticism: ‘Jesus is black, Ronald Reagan is the devil and the government is lying about 9/11.’”

Aw, isn’t that cute? The thug thinks he’s people. Do you remember a time when cartoons use to be cartoons? Whatever happened to those times?