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Thursday, January 17, 2008

New X-Files 2 Pictures

It sure is weird seeing these two return as the legendary sci-fi characters from "The X-Files." Not digging Duchovny's new hair. These shots don't reveal much, but thee's no question that a new X-Files is coming our way. Will it deliver the goods? Hmm. See you this summer.

Harry Potter 7 Split in Two? Del Toro Wants It!

It's not the first time the guy has said this. However Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy," "Pan's Labyrinth") is really putting out how much he wants to direct the final Harry Potter movie:

“I’m definitely interested now that the movies have grown darker. They have a contrast between the gloomy existence of the kid and the world he’s exposed to. They have evolved into a really nice universe. I got [’Deathly Hallows’] for my daughter and she was like ‘When are you going to give it to me? I read it and I was very moved by the ending. It ends very much like a Dickens novel.”

The guy seems to have the passion for it. He turned down "Prisoner of Azkaban," and has apparently kicked himself ever since. But I think the later books are more to his liking. They're much darker, fomr what I've heard, and that seems to fit him. The man has always done dark/adult fantasy well, so handing the final "Potter" over to him, in my opinion, would be the perfect sendoff.

Add to that Warner Brothers is considering pulling a "Hobbit" with this one and splitting the movie in to two parts. I think Guillermo del Toro would be even more excited: That means he'd put two "Potter" films on his resume. Sound like a sellout decision? I thought the same thing, but the studio assures that splitting the book in to two movies would be purely an artistic decision. (Take that for what it's worth...)

I actually doubt we'll get two movies based on the same book, but I'm not opposed to the idea. But I do keep in mind that the 5th book was the longest and that movie turned out to be superb. In the mean time we'll have to wait and see what WB decides and if del Toro gets his director's chair.

"Justice League" Project Cancelled... Until Next Time...

Well, director George Miller and Warner Brothers have seemingly pulled the plug on "Justice League." For now anyway. Apparently the movie has been pulled for a number of reasons. On-location filming in Austrailia was causing some financial problems. The writer's strike was of course hindering a great deal of filming and then there's the cast. The casting was bad enough with several unknowns in line to play the heroes, and some characters had yet to be cast.

Reasons aside it seems we'll be spared a bad version of a decent idea. But for how long? Who knows. And what does this mean for the "Superman Returns" sequel? (Which I would rather have.) Time will tell, but don't start looking for announcements until after the writer's strike.

Goku Suits Up

Some very bad set pictures have leaked online from "Dragonball." We get a peak at Goku in his legendary outfit. It looks like it's going to serve as the uniform for an entire martial arts team. They're very obscure pictures, but worth a look. Click to enlarge:

Don't know who the girl is right now. Chi Chi perhaps? Though I don't think there's much hope for this movie I find the transition from cartoon to live action interesting. At least Goku's suit looks a lot better than the Transformers did when they went live action.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Poll Results 3 - What Is The Best Film of 2007?

Well this poll ended horribly. Perhaps I should have thrown "Atonement" on there? Bleagh! The "Other" won out in this poll for some reason, I don't see what other movies could possibly measure up to what I listed. Perhaps "The Great Debaters?" "Charlie Wilson's War?" Hell, even "Across the Universe?" For those who were thinking "Transformers" or something when you hit "Other" Perhaps I'm being too harsh. I'm sure a decent number of people didn't even see these gems I listed. Oh well.
Anyway, here's the results:

"Other" - 47% - 9 Votes
"No Country for Old Men" - 15% - 3 Votes
"There Will Be Blood" - 10% - 2 Votes
"Eastern Promises" - 5% - 1 Vote
"American Gangster" - 5% - 1 Vote
"Juno" - 5% - 1 Vote
"Zodiac" - 5% - 1 Vote
"Michael Clayton" - 5% - 1 Vote

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2007: A Year at the Movies

Well, 2007 has gone and with "Juno" being my last planned movie review for the prvious year it's time to look back on the year. Per usual it started pretty bumpy. "Ghost Rider," "The Number 23" and even "Next" seemed to serve as the "filler" for the year until the summer blockbusters broke out.
By the time summer came a lot fo fun movies were released, along with some really bad ones. While "Live Free or Die hard," "Spider-Man 3" and "Harry Potter" dominated, "Transformers," "Rush Hour 3" and others felt made the summer seem more mindless than ever.
The fall season recovered, opening with a fun action flick to finish off that summer action movie craving: "Shoot'Em Up." After that, it was all straight faced and many of them were fantastic! "Eastern Promises," "American Gangster," "Juno" and other lead the list of great fall movies and the few bumps along the way were at least entertaining. (AVP-R)

Below are the big lists concerning the movies for last year:


5. Zodiac
A masterpiece about murder and obsession that serves as a backdrop for one of David Fincher's more poetic nihlistic stories.

4. American Gangster
Ridley Scott proves once again that he is one of Hollywood's greatest storytellers. The movie provides the audience with everything you "should" do when making a movie. Strong performances by Washington and Crowe.

3. No Country for Old Men
A story about a ruthless murderer who will kill anyone or anything to pursue what is his. The film utilizes its characters as metaphors for a pre-apocalyptic reality. Spectacular ending.

2. Juno
A heartfelt comedy with near flawless characters that search for the love and patience to gain flawless commitment. Funny, smart and important to its time.

1. Eastern Promises
A dark drama that takes place in London and concerning a Russian gang organization. Corruption and honor clash in this character driven thriller.


5. Dragon Wars
Admittedly fun, but only to an extent. Obnoxious bad acting and lines highlight this Korean flick.

4. Pathfinder
Boring, dull to look at, and painfully ridiculous at times. The inconsistant costumes and "language" barriers are appauling.

3. 28 Weeks Later
Most pointless sequel to be made in awhile. Implausable characters and a thin storyline make this the most obvious cash of a film in awhile.

2. 30 Days of Night
Vampires are reduced to a zombie flick storyline with tedious scenes that bore more than thrill. There was so much time that could have been used for character development that was wasted on worthless dialogue and bad action scenes.

1. Saw IV
Bad horror movies and torture porn reach new levels of "suckage" in this dry sequel. As if it wasn't bad enough to begin with.


(Copy and paste links to see reviews.)

01. "Ghost Rider" - *1/2

02. "The Number 23" - **

03. "Zodiac" - ****

04. "300" - ***1/2

05. "The Host" - ***1/2

06. "Grindhouse" - ***

07. "Pathfinder" - 1/2

08. “Hot Fuzz” - ***1/2

09. “Next” - *1/2

10. “Spider-Man 3” - ***

11. "28 Weeks Later" - 1/2

12.“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” - **1/2

13. “Ocean’s 13” - **

14. “1408” - **1/2

15. “Live Free or Die Hard” - ***

16. “Ratatouille” - **1/2

17. “Transformers” - *

18. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” - ***1/2

19. “Sunshine” - ***

20. "Rescue Dawn" - ***

21. “The Simpsons Movie” - ***

22. “The Bourne Ultimatum” - ***

23. "Rush Hour 3" - *1/2

24. "Halloween" - *1/2

25. "3:10 to Yuma" - **1/2

26. "Shoot'Em Up" - ***

27. "Dragon Wars" - *

28. "Resident Evil: Extinction" - *1/2

29. "Eastern Promises" - ****

30. "Across the Universe" - **1/2

31. "The Kingdom" - ***1/2

32. "30 Days of Night" - 1/2

33. "Saw IV" - 0

34. "American Gangster" - ****

35. "Beowulf" - **

36. "No Country for Old Men" - ****

37. "The Mist" - ***1/2

38. "I Am Legend" - **1/2

39. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" - ***

40. "Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem" - *1/2

41. "Juno" - ****

Well so long 2007. Like all years at the movies it had its highs and lows. Hope everyone enjoys 2008.

Monday, January 14, 2008

REVIEW - "Juno" (2007)

A few years ago a little indie film some of you may know as “Garden State” begged to have my attention through the hype of my close friends and critical acclaim. Before seeing the movie I tried to keep my expectations low and enjoy it on its own. While I didn’t dislike the film I held no such love for it that others did. It was overrated in my view—It was hyped as an instant classic that I’ve watched slowly fade in to the mind’s eye of forgetfulness. I just didn’t think it was that big of a deal. At the close of 2007 I was faced with something similar.

“Juno” has captured the hearts of friends and critics alike, and I’m called upon to see what it offers. I figure, seeing as I love movies, I want to see it if it’s good; and if it’s not there will always be great movies to see in the future. As I seated with a couple of my friends one them told me to drop my expectations and just enjoy it. As I had learned from “Garden State,” the damage was already done. I had heard it was a great film and I was expecting nothing less than a great film. To my bewildered surprise the movie ended with a great film in my memory.

The film begins with the title character (Ellen Page) setting up the scene. The sixteen year old, high school girl had sex with a close friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), and must face the consequences of pregnancy. The film, however, is hardly just a simple story about the hardships of being a pregnant teenager. Juno decides to have the baby, but give it to a loving couple once it’s born. Naturally, not all goes as planned and Juno wrestles with the idea of true love—A concept that has seemingly let her down in every corner of her life.

Juno is perhaps my favorite original character that has come out of 2007 cinema. Her mature nature is not unrealistic for a girl her age, but rare. She is still portrayed as a high school girl with weaknesses that any high school student has, but she sparks a certain charisma that makes everyone feel comfortable. The complexity of the character is mostly developed through comedy, but Ellen Page brings more than just laughs to the table. Juno’s emotional range is exponentially fleshed out by Page’s quick wit and liveliness. The fact this girl performed as she did at her age blows my mind. As far as I’m concerned, Page is the best actress of 2007. I know Kate Blanchett will probably be the inevitable Oscar winner, but Page has shown talent that is far beyond her years. I can’t wait to see what else she does.

The rest of the characters are also very well constructed. There really isn’t an unlikable character in the film when you think about it. Mark and Vanessa Loring are built up as more than just simple characters for Juno to hand the baby to. Their actions play a big part in Juno’s maturing. Bleeker is of course a very important character, but perhaps too much credit is given to him. This isn’t a chick flick and the audience could easily turn more attention to him than is really deserved. Juno’s dad, for instance, played by the very talented J.K. Simmons, has some of the best lines in the film, comedic and important. He was easily one of the most entertaining characters in the movie.

“Juno” has several moments that will resonate with younger audiences and older audiences would see as a good reminder. Some of the strongest moments include Juno’s talk with her father when she asks if two people can be together forever. Her final lines with Mark are also really powerful, but there is an obscure scene I want to point out that seems to act as a prefigure of events and messages soon to come. When Juno and Bleeker prepare for a science lab their two partners get in an argument and one leaves the table. These two characters, that we never see again, were a couple that broke up right in front of Juno. Why? We don’t know, but it’s just another reason for Juno to question the idea of love. We find early on that her dad had long since divorced her mom and remarried; and when other relationships fall apart in front of her what faith does she have? This is the underlying point of the entire movie. It’s not just about “growing up” or even finding out what true love is. It boils down to the search for selfless commitment. It just happens to take an enormous amount of love and maturing to find it.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what I would think of the movie until it reached its end. It kept twisting itself enough that I wasn’t positive I was going to enjoy the end result, but I did. What started like it was going to be a typical indie flick ended as one of today’s most important films regarding adolescence. Furthermore, surprise! It’s not preachy! It’s rich with soul and funny too!

Director Jason Reitman is writing himself an impressive resume right now. “Thank You for Smoking” was fantastic, but to come back with an even better movie? Very impressive. “Juno” is going to be a hard one to top, but as long as he keeps putting this much heart in to his films I’ll be there to watch them. “Juno” is one of the best movies of 2007 and, unexpectedly, it’s become a favorite of mine as well. Go Juno!

**** out of ****