Friday, February 29, 2008

Review: Semi-Pro

Of course you don't remember the ABA, but Will Ferrell does, and he has done to basketball what artificial sponges did to authentic sponges. What? What I want to know is why Ferrell's films all have near identical plot structure.
1) Man at the top of his game.
2) Man at the bottom of his game.
3) Man pulls insane gag to get him back to the top.
4) Man back at the top of his game.
I'm not saying it hasn't worked for him, I'm saying it isn't going to work for me anymore...after this film...probably. Jump to read the full review and watch JoBlo.com's interview with Ferrell.

Hits The Spot (GOOD): I did very much enjoy TALLADEGA NIGHTS for its pun-heavy humor and Sasha Baron Cohen. I thought that film was a good illustration of how Will Ferrell operates; the humor, the acting and the characters were all a signifier of Ferrell and gang's interpretation of a comedy. Then they did a film called BLADES OF GLORY which I didn't think even deserved the feature film stamp. It was almost as if they got together and said, " Hey, have we made a film about ice skating yet? No? Okay, let's do that then." I liked John Heder and Jenna Fischer in the film, but how dare you subject me to a script that took three nights to write outside of a Bennigan's? SEMI-PRO is the worthy follow-up to TALLADEGA. Them deciding to make it a rated-R flick was a great decision and they really do make use of the rating. Written by Scott Armstrong, who has also wrote OLD SCHOOL and STARSKY AND HUTCH, and directed by the executive producer of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and LITTLE CHILDREN, Kent Alterman
(don't ask me how that collaboration worked), I actually think this film puts out quality material. It is, more or less, just a different iteration of the previous films but I will laugh if some of the regurgitated jokes are funny; it's a fact. Technically, I was impressed throughout and think Alterman and the crew know what they are doing. Some directors try to keep a 60's or 70's look to the film through camera movements like in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and THE BANK JOB, but it didn't happen here as much I wanted it to.
Kicks The Spot (BAD): An ongoing problem I have with many of these films is that the cameras linger too long in front of actors like Will Ferrell in hopes of them doing something incredibly funny. And another thing, I enjoy Ferrell so much more when he's in non-Ferrell films or alongside John C. Riley. Here he shows this vulnerability that none of this own characters ever show. Chazz Michael Michaels, Ron Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, and Jackie Moon, they're all just different versions of Mugatu. Although I enjoyed this film, it makes me think how much funnier it would be if Adam McKay would've co-written.
The Skinny (THE SKINNY): If you indeed were truly disappointed with both TALLADEGA NIGHTS and BLADES OF GLORY, just go play RISK with some friends instead because it's more of the same. If you were like me and liked one and not the other, catch this because it should redeem Ferrell. But regardless of whether you watch this one at all, make sure to definitely go watch STEP BROTHERS with Ferrell and J.C. Riley when that hits theaters July 25th, 2008.


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Twilight is no time for shenanigans

Don't ask me why I still haven't finished up with Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT series so far because I'm not sure of how to answer that. But here is something I do know: TWILIGHT, and hopefully the whole series after that, is getting the cinema treatment. This was announced back in August but I feel it's relevant now because production just recently started and also, GreenHouseFilmReviews wasn't around in August. Go read the books beforehand if you haven't and want to because they're worth it. Hit the jump for more cast and crew info.

Right, Summit Entertainment is overseeing the production of TWILIGHT with much of the cast already announced. The leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson make their jump on screen as Bella Swan and Edward Cullen respectively. Whoa, they both seem to just...fit and are beautiful. Catherine Hardwicke is in place to direct who I have a good amount of faith in
because if you've seen LORDS OF DOGTOWN, you know she can pull it off. You need to definitely head over to Stepenie Meyer's site where you can catch up with bios, plot summaries as well as book and movie info.

The Cullen Family
Kristen Stewart, Stephenie Meyer, and Robert Pattinson looking like he's on a few drugs (left to right)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

A film you haven't seen, but should

There was a film I saw about seven or so months ago that I had heard nothing about. Actually, I was on my way to the screening and heard a spot on the radio about the film, and said "Hey, I think I'm watching that tonight." The film was CHARLIE BARTLETT.
Well, how can I describe the film? I know the first thing that comes to mind is...RUSHMORE. I'm not sure if the film compares to Rushmore, well it sort of does. Subject matter is almost fairly similar.
-Smart kid gets kicked out of private school.
-Smart kid gets sent to public school.
-Smart kid doesn't fit in.
-Smart kid fits in.
The film stars an actor I personally have very high hopes for who started his acting career at the beginning of the decade, Anton Yelchin. Most of you might know him from his title role in Alpha Dog as Zack Mazursky. I believe I've seen about four or five of Yelchin's films as well those few episodes he was on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. I love this kid. He's charming, witty, and handsome; almost like Jason Schwartzman but without the dick-ish quality of Max Fischer.
It's an understatement to say that films nowadays don't bring anything new. Unfortunately this film is no exception. That's not to say I didn't absolutely love this venture; I did. It's the characters and the beautiful performances that lit it up for me. I haven't always been a big fan of Robert Downey Jr., I still don't think I completely am, but he does have that renegade aura about him that still makes him admirable. Downey plays the coolio principal at the public school that Charlie get sent to and is also the father of the girl he falls in love with. In exception of the daughter played by Kat Dennings, who is really good looking but needs a wee bit more practice acting, all of the roles were right on. I've always liked Hope Davis, especially in AMERICAN SPLENDOR and ABOUT SCHMIDT.
Not only do I recommend this film, but I want you to go watch it today, because it comes out... today.

'Charlie Bartlett' Trailer
'Charlie Bartlett' Trailer

Is it just me or...is IN BRUGES not playing in any theaters in Central Florida? I'm pissed !!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Pourquoi Si Sérieux ?

I've always loved the French language. Combine that with my love for Batman and upcoming The Dark Knight and we get a French dubbed trailer for The Dark Knight. This trailer has been out for a little while but I only discovered it a little while ago. I love it, especially because I seemed to have memorized every line of the English trailer and recite it proudly in showers/automobiles/waiting rooms. It's a fun watch and is all the more interesting if you understand French. Enjoy.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Review: Be Kind Rewind

Michel Gondry is an extremely creative gent. Everything he has learned from his early years making music videos has carried on to his features and you can see it all throughout his films; it's amazingly inventive. Most of you will probably remember him most from ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Or if you were like some people, you loved his and Charlie Kaufman's script and thought the film just directed itself. After that, his next big feature was THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. The strange thing about that film was that when I was watching it in theaters, I almost felt taken advantage of. ETERNAL SUNSHINE had spoiled me so much and for that reason was expecting a similar love for SLEEP which was the wrong thing to expect. I've since made my peace with SLEEP and love it for what it is.
BE KIND REWIND. What a blast it would be to be on set with your buddies shooting intentionally bad renditions of some Hollywood's classics. BE KIND tells the story of two friends, Jerry and Mike, who must remake films by themselves to replace the real ones in their video rental store due to the tapes being accidentally erased. Of course, the story is a bit more complicated than that. Mr. Fletcher played by Danny Glover, the owner of the video store, who must find a way to keep his building from being demolished. Right off of the bat, a few things that I didn't like was the fact that Mos Def plays kind of a doof when he should've been playing the smart friend and Jack Black playing the dumb. And Michel Gondry, where was he? I felt like I only saw his hand for about 20 minutes of the film. Unlike SLEEP and ETERNAL SUNSHINE where every other scene was some extravegant set-up, here, it seems like he shot the standard wide angle, brought it in for a close up, and cut to a profile. I've always loved his DIY effects which he has throughout the film but not as much as I craved. THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP I think was more a Gondry film because of those effects, but here Gondry takes an extra bit of time to bring structure to his story and screenplay.
The Gondry bits in the film though are worth it. There's a film when Jerry and Mike must sabotage an electrical plant and wear special camouflaged jumpsuits which don't seem to have any specific pattern to them. Though, when they are breaking into the plant, coppers show up and Jerry and Mike must freeze where they are (one up against the fence and the other on a ladder) and they completely blend it, it's hilarious. There are a few things that Gondry forgets or just decides to not elaborate on like certain love interests and side characters which I wish there were more story about. And to be honest, I didn't feel the impact of this community that I should've felt by the end of the film.
Besides the shortcomings, I haven't seen a film quite like this in a while. I must recommend an effort like this because we most likely won't see a film like BE KIND REWIND for some time. And although I don't give star rating, for the comedy it is, I would award this film 7 out of 9 stars.



Is it just me or...does ETERNAL SUNSHINE just never get old? It makes me feel crappy, but in a good way.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cruz v. Johansson

Back when I was younger, I used to have a huge celebrity crush on Penelope Cruz for about five years. Why should you care? Apparently, Cruz and Scarlett Johansson will be sharing the screen in Woody Allen's new project Vicky Christina Barcelona. Did I mention they'll be having an erotic lesbian sex scene? Lucky them! Though as beautiful as Johansson is, Adam Kempenaar over at Filmspotting described her acting best as "a female version of Keanu Reeves." No, that's not my point, both Reeves and Johansson have their good roles. My point is that Woody Allen is nuts, but in the best way possible. Javier Bardem is also to star in the film as Cruz's husband and is also to have a sex scene involving himself, Penelope and Scarlett. Lucky him!

Is it just me or...is Penelope's sister Monica(left) just a beautiful as her? But I guess I do kind of like that Penelope is a Cougar.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

WGA strike nearing its end

Well, for those of you who were actually following the WGA strike, we have good news. No, IHOP will not be extending Free Pancake Day for the entire week; THE STRIKE IS OVER. Well, not completely. See, the WGA West and East members still have to vote and work out any little discrepancies they may still have. Most are confident though that this new agreement should suffice any and all issues between the WGA and the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers). Many writers and producers are returning to some kind of work this week starting Monday.
What does this mean for you all? Well, for one, you won't have to watch any more re-runs of "Ghost Whisperer," if you don't want to.
If you are interested, give a quick run through of the summary of the agreement here.

Variety also has incredible coverage of all strike details and information so be sure to check them out.

Is it just me or...does anyone else love Shawn Ryan? I want to be his brain.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

I'm going to be honest with you, I was not looking forward to this film. That said, I just want to clarify that I really was not looking forward to this film. Don't get me wrong, I love young adult fiction as much as the next chap, but many film studios are ruining beloved books in the name of entertainment. I could rant on about the need for films to entertain as well as stay faithful to the books, but they are two very different mediums and they both have their strengths and ahem...weaknesses. (One example of this was 2007's The Seeker:The Dark is Rising. To take such a thrilling book and turn it into...bollocks; just as the WGA, we movie watchers need to go on strike).
What were we talking about, oh right, The Spiderwick Chronicles. These books were written almost five years ago and so it is interesting to see which writers borrowed from who. As vast as a genre like fantasy is, there aren't many books that can build upon the world of phantasm. I'm glad I could find something different here in this film. On a side note, I wonder if Paramount thought to make this into a trilogy or a series?
The film picks as good a spot to begin as any with a quick overview of why the film is called what it is. I'm telling you, I did like the pacing of the film, quick and constant. We then are introduced to our mother character
moving into an old house with her three kids, twins Simon and Jared and daughter Mallory. All you need to know about the characters will be known within the first four minutes of dialogue, how convenient. Again, the film doesn't waste any time breaking us into the story.
The cinematics and CG elements were fairly well done and I especially enjoyed the two whole minute chase scene featuring the Troll (seriously though, one of the coolest monsters and he's in 1/39th of the film). There was something about this that reminded me of Jumanji, which is a good thing. Martin Short and Nick Notlte are also great additions to the voice work. Hogsqueal, a hobgoblin who helps the protagonists is voiced by Knocked Up's Seth Rogen. David Strathairn plays a pivotal character but brings nothing exciting unlike The Bourne Ultimatum; I think I would've enjoyed someone like Gary Oldman or even Hugo Weaving much more in the role of Arthur Spiderwick though their other fantasy film work might not make them viable choices. Then we have more story and more CG and finally we arrive at the ending which resembled more than anything else the Megatron chase at the end of Transformers with the Nick Nolte Ogre chasing Simon around the roof of his home. When you watch it, tell me it doesn't remind of you of Transformers? I almost said it out loud.
Overall, it's a fun film to watch if your little cousins come into town, but go ahead and wait until HBO runs it then feel free to curl up with your significant other and ogle at the nice graphics.


Is it just me or...is Seth Rogen's laugh contagious?

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Movies that were books first, but now are movies because people do not like to read

You read correctly, you are not losing it, unless you are losing it, in which case I will not judge you (I prefer to keep those thoughts to myself and then blog about them later). Believe or not, the Lord of the Rings books were not the first to bring novel adaptations in vogue. No, I believe it was Jurassic Park. Of course, I kid.
Recently though, studios have been grabbing up those book rights and are shelling out bringing to the silver screen a number of well regarded books, many of which I read in the sixth grade. These juvenile jewels have the potential of being Harry Potter caliber films but seem to only be half of The Hardy Boys. I know they haven't made a Hardy Boys film yet, but believe me when they do...I'll be the third person in line after Frank and Joe Hardy. Now, not just a few novels come to mind. I'm talking about Forbidden Kingdom, Inkheart, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Kit Kittredge and not to mention films like the Eragon, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising and the Golden Compass which they've already made.
I'm not saying that all of these are bad or will be bad, I'm actually not saying any of them will be bad at all. What I am saying though is that I want studios to not appeal to the Shrek crowd. Kids aren't as unintelligible as they used to be and studios know that, but let's have the final product match our mental capacity.
I'm actually going to watch The Spiderwick Chronicles tomorrow evening so check back for my pseudo-review of that. For now enjoy a few of these trailers.

Forbidden Kingdom

Inkheart


Is it just me or...
is anyone else excited for Son of Rambow?

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Ledger's cause of death determined


It was confirmed Wednesday morning that Heath Ledger's actual cause of death was in fact an accidental drug overdose. In a statement released this morning by the New York Medical examiner, spokesperson Ellen Borakove explained that Ledger death was the cause of "acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine."
This ruling comes two weeks after the actor's death in his New York apartment. Ledger's publicist did release a statement on Wednesday itterating that the prescription medications were not taken in excess but rather it was the combination of prescribed medications proved fatal. Ledger's family will be conducting a private funeral in Heath Ledger's hometown of Perth, Australia. For a more detailed release, head over to APP.com.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Forgetting Judd Apatow? Probably never


Now that Judd Apatow has taken the place of your Nana, I think it's safe to say we all love him, but still not his old person stink. Although you may not like all of his productions, there must be at least one that you suggest to your friends. I must be honest, I wasn't into TV much back when Freaks and Geeks was on, nor Undeclared for that matter. Much like others, my first exposure to Apatow's work was Anchorman and I did enjoy that, but not for much more than it was offering. But no one can deny the steamtrain that he's been rolling lately with both the cult hits as well as the box office successes that are 40-Year Old, Talladega Nights, Knocked Up, Superbad etc. There's a couple in there that don't have the appeal nor star power the others had but I still need to catch up with them, like The TV Set(I mean star power in a general sense. I love Duchovny and Weaver; just the other day I saw Trust the Man and enjoyed it).
I'm getting somewhere with this Apatow praising and that is...more Apatow praising. He has some big productions coming out both this year and the next and one of those is Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The trailer was released a little over a month ago I believe and Apatow's production company just released a red band trailer a little while ago. The film stars Jason Segel who played the obnoxiously hilarious friend in Knocked Up and plenty of other roles in earlier films as well as Freaks and Geeks.
One thing I'm loving is all the work Apatow's helping his friends get. Segel was Mike from SLC Punk ! He's come a long way to where he is now writing his own feature length film and we're proud of him. Like I said before, Apatow has a few films coming out including Drillbit Taylor with Owen Wilson, and Pineapple Express with Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Again, look forward to Forgetting Sarah Marshall opening wide April 18, 2008. Like I never promised, here's the red band trailer for all you kiddies. Enjoy.
Is it just me or...does Jason Segel love showing his bare ass on film?

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Update: Iron Man screenshots and trailer

The new IRON MAN trailer is here. Well, it was nice to have that little tidbit during the fairly calm first half of the Super Bowl. Below though, I have a few snapshots from the trailer to feed you for a while. Head over to the official site to watch the trailer. The trailer was pretty fun to watch, but I still am not convinced this will be the movie I want it to be. As much as I love Robert Downey Jr., I hope Favreau doesn't make it too...Zathura.
IRON MAN thinking he's SUPERMANIROM MAN falling like Shaq when he was STEEL
Tony Stark rebuilding broken SUPERMAN suit

IRON MAN flying

Is it just me or...would anyone else like to see Jeff Bridges play The Dude in every movie?

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Proof: Iron Man likes the color orange

I knew it !! Marvel pronounced to the world today via their website that a brand spankin' new IRON MAN trailer will be debuting during Super Bowl XLII. Along with that, they also released a telling screenshot of Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark/Iron Man/that bad US Marshall that killed that good US Marshall in U.S. Marshalls. Other spots that'll be airing during the bowl are Wanted and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Is it just me or...did anyone else think that IRON MAN was a black dude. I swear, that's what I thought when I was a kid. Weird.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

TDK marketing to feature Two Face

I'm still upset about the recent passing of Heath Ledger as are millions of others, but life happens. Warner Bros. is dealing with a lot right now with having to deal with this situation as are the crew of The Dark Knight(TDK).

Kim Masters over at Slate reports of Warner's plans to adjust their Dark Knight marketing campaign. Apparently, it was their plan all along to slowly shift their advertising to focus on Harvey Dent/Two-Face, played by Aaron Eckhart.
One thing that annoys me is when people insist that Warner Bros. will take total advantage of Ledger's death and milk it into little bobbly Joker heads that snap onto pencil erasers and whisper "Why so serious?" when you shake them. Well, not exactly, but you get my point. Slate's source provides plenty of info but also insists that "You don't want people to think you're exploiting his death. But his character is part of the movie, and he was on board with wanting to (mass advertise) with his character." Of course, the source is referring to all kinds of Batman-related products such as toys, t-shirts, etc.
Definitely head over to Slate if you have a few minutes; the source admits they might need voice actors to record a few of Ledger's lines for looping sessions. Basically, looping is when actors head back to the studio to perfect sound with re-recording lines. Many big budget films use this technique so not only is the picture top-notch, but the sound, too.
I must admit, I am very tempted to buy one of the new Joker shirts featuring Ledger's menacing mug. But speaking of taking advantage, just the other day I saw some moron wearing a black t-shirt with Heath Ledger's face on the front with the words "Why Not Britney?" Now, although I don't approve of wishing death upon anyone, sadly it's a question I also would like answered, or even "Why Not Coked-Up Rockstars Who Have Ridiculous TV Shows On VH1?"

And here, just because I feel like it, is the trailer for The Dark Knight.
video

Is it just me or...would Adrien Brody have made a great Joker, too.

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Dear Internet,


Welcome everybody to the site. Thank you for stopping by even if you accidentally got here. You know that drill, movie as well as television show reviews and occassionally video game updates. Other than just reviews I want to post important updates and news about films and those responsible for making them. Aside from this blog, I'm also working on a podcast with a couple friends of mine, so stay tuned. Oh, and also when you visit the site, don't forget to check the the right side for polls and links. There's always something new, but I'll try to provide you all with anything and everything I think you should know.



Is it just me or... does anybody else hate movie theater employees who don't watch any movies?



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