Thursday, September 30, 2010

R.I.P. Comedian Greg Giraldo

A fine stand up comic, who was the best at the celebrity roast. Nobody offended as sharp as Greg. Very funny guy. 44 is way to young to depart this earth.
Many people don't know that he was Ivy league educated and had a law degree but chose his calling of stand up comedy instead. I just hope it was prescription drugs and nothing heavier. That won't be good for his children to live down. At least fans still have youtube to keep Greg's memory alive.

R.I.P Tony Curtis

The legandary actor died of cardiac arrest at his home. He was 85. He was a one time Oscar nominee for best actor for his role in The Defiant Ones opposite Sidney Poitier. But Curtis had done some other fine films with performances in Spartacus, The Sweet Smell Of Success, The Viking's, Houdini, The Boston Strangler, Who Was That Lady, 40 Pounds Of Trouble, The Perfect Furlouhg and Operation Petticoat.

R.I.P. Editor Sally Menke

Sally Menke was a fine editor, Oscar nominated twice in best editing for Pulp Fiction and just last year Inglourious Basterds. She edited every one of Quentin Tarantino's films. Plus she also spliced Lee Tamahor's Mulholland Falls and All The Pretty Horses for Billy Bob Thornton.
She apparently collapsed while hiking in the Hollywood Hills on the day of the heatwave. For my life I can't understand why she would be exercising in extreme heat.

R.I. P. to the highly underrated Arthur Penn

Acclaimed director Arthur Penn has passed away. He was a 3 time Oscar nominee ( The Miracle Worker, Bonnie and Clyde, Alice's Restaurant ) but never won the coveted award.
He got his start directing TV shows mostly episodes on Playhouse 90, The Gulf and Goodyear playhouse series.

He directed some other fine films that didn't garner award worthiness, but good all the same including The Left Handed Gun with Paul Newman, Little Big Man, Mickey One, The Chase, Night Moves, The Missouri Breaks with Brando and Nicholson and also Dead Of Winter.
I always felt that the Academy should have given him an honorary Oscar.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Made In Dangenham Trailer/Synopsis

Directed by Nigel Cole ( Calender Girls ) starring Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike, Richard Schiff, Jaime Winstone and Rupert Graves.

The film is a dramatisation of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham assembly plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination and the desire for equal pay. The walkout was instrumental in the Equal Pay Act 1970. The women did not actually work at the Dagenham assembly plant but a mile or so away on the other side of the rail tracks at the River Plant (a collection of sheds) on Sammy Williams land near Dagenham Dock Station. The Halewood-based women also joined the strike.

Oscar chances ? Possible for Sally Hawkins in leading actress. Very good shot for Mirnada Richradson in support.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rabbit Hole gets release date

The family drama Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Diane Wiest and directed by John Cameron Mitchell based on the Tony Award winning play by David Lindsay Abouire, finally gets a release date for a limited run starting December 17, 2010 and expanding wide January 14th, 2011.

The story is about Howie (Aaron Eckhart) and Becca Corbett (Nicole Kidman) who are a happily married couple whose perfect world is forever changed when their young son is taken from them in a tragic car accident. As Becca redefines her place among friends and family, she finds solace in a mysterious relationship with the young driver (Miles Teller) of the car that killed her son.

True Grit teaser is up

Everybody looks in fine form, especially newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. Kind of curious as to why Barry Pepper is not shown in the teaser as he is the main villain in the film. Note: Roger Deakins impressive lighting and camera work. Can the Academy miss on him again this year ? For crying out loud, he's arguably the best cinematographer out there. He's 61, just give it to him already !

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So what is Madonna directing ?

Yes, the title reads correctly, Madge is directing a film to be released next year called W.E. it's based in 1936 England, the films stars Abbie Cornish, Richard Coyle, Oscar Isaac, Natalie Dorman, James Fox, James D' Arcy – Wallis Simpson, an American woman, captured the heart of King Edward VIII. Already divorced and married to her second husband when she met Edward, then the Prince of Wales in London, the two fell in love. However, once crowned, Edward was told by the Church and the Prime Minister that he could not marry Wallis and remain King. He abdicated, giving up the throne to be with the woman he loved. Once married and known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, they lived out what many considered to be the romance of the century.

1998 N.Y – Wally Winthrop has a troubled past and moves to New York from the South to work in Sotheby's Estate department. She gives up her job to marry a successful psychiatrist but the marriage is unhappy and Wally finds herself bored, frustrated and often alone. She seeks refuge in her obsession with what she believes to be the ultimate romantic love story, King Edward VIII's abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. When Wally discovers that there is going to be an auction of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Estate at Sotheby's, she takes the opportunity to return to her old hunting ground to try to understand the nature of the great love affair through the artifacts that once belonged to the couple. While at Sotheby's, Wally meets Evgeni, a Russian security guard, with a mysterious past. As she immerses herself deeper into the love story of Wallis and Edward, while spending more time away from her marriage, she finds herself falling in love.

We travel back and forth in time with Wally and Wallis, two fragile but determined women whose lives become inextricably linked. However, as the story unravels it becomes apparent that Wallis Simpson’s life was not as perfect as Wally had thought.

Hagen Bogdonski ( The Young Victoria, The Lives Of Others ) handled the cinematography.

Battle: Los Angeles breif synopsis/pics

Battle: Los Angeles, starring Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena, Lucas Till, Joey King and Taylor Lindley, is a sci-fi action film that revolves around a Marine staff sergeant (Eckhart) and his new platoon's battle against an alien invasion on the streets of Los Angeles. The movie is presented as an intense real-time war movie from the perspective of the Marines. It has been described by some as "Black Hawk Down meets Independence Day". It will be a live-action drama, showcasing the United States Marines attempting to defeat an alien invasion of planet Earth.
It's directed by Jonathan Liebesman ( Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Killing Room ) and the film will hit theaters March 11, 2011.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The King's Speech full trailer

Had the teaser up for awhile, now here's the full length trailer of the film that I have spoken about many of times on this site in the last year. Looks like a dead on lock for several Oscar nominations.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Waiting For Superman Preview/Synopsis

Waiting For Superman October 8 ( September 24-limited )

For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians? promises, our buckling public education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children. Oscar winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) reminds us that education statistics have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of Waiting For Superman. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying drop out factories and academic sinkholes, methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. However, embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have?in reshaping the culture refused to leave their students behind.

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, mild language and incidental smoking.

Oscar chances ? Very good. So far this is my 2nd favorite doc of the year ( The Tillman Story being the first ) I have seen all year in a year of many impressive films in that category.

Machine Gun Preacher set photos

Set pics of Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan for Machine Gun Preacher that is directed by Oscar nominee Marc Forster ( Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland ) also starring Michael Shannon and Kathy Baker. Director of photography Robert Schaefer ( Quantum Of Solace, Best In Show ) handled the lensing. The film was shot in Detroit and South Africa and will be seeing a September 2011 release date. Here is a little brief synopsis on Sam Childers, whom the film is based off of from his book.

Sam Childers (born 1962) is a former gang biker who now dedicates his life and resources to rescue children in the war zone of Sudan. Childers and his wife Lynn founded and operate Angels of East Africa, the Children’s Village Orphanage in Nimule, Sudan, where they currently have more than 300 children in their care

Thursday, September 23, 2010

God of Carnage to get film adaptation

Oscar winning director Roman Polanski is preparing to adapt the popular play, God Of Carnage from playwright Yasmina Reza which garnered six Tony nominations and winning three. The film will star Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Matt Dillon and recent Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. Shooting is set to begin in Paris this February.

The premise of the story, where two 11-year-old children, Ferdinand Reille and Bruno Vallon, get involved in argument because Bruno refuses to let Ferdinand join his 'gang'. Ferdinand knocks out two of Bruno's teeth with a stick. That night, the parents of both children meet to discuss the matter. Ferdinand's father, Alan, is a lawyer who is never off his mobile phone. Ferdinand's mother, Annette is in "wealth management" (her husband's wealth, to be precise), and constantly wears good shoes. Bruno's father, Michael, is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother. Bruno's mother, Veronica, is writing a book about Darfur.

As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four getting into irrational arguments, and their discussion falls into the loaded topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia.

Secretariat Preview/Synopsis

Secretariat October 8

Directed by Randall Wallace ( We Were Soldiers ) Starring Diane Lane, John Malkovich,
James Cromwell, Scott Glenn, Kevin Connolly, Dylan Walsh. Written by Mike Rich ( Radio, Finding Forrester ) Cinematography by Oscar winner Dean Semler ( Dances With Wolves, Apocalypto ), Editing by Oscar nominee John Wright ( Speed, The Hunt For Red October ) original music by Nick Glennie-Smith ( The Rock )

The film tells the story of the Penny Chenery and her United States' Hall of Fame racehorse, Secretariat (born March 30, 1970 — died October 4, 1989) who, in 1973, became the first horse in twenty-five years to win the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Penny Chenery took over the financially troubled Meadow Stable from her ailing father and guided the horse through his Triple Crown season. Other key characters are trainer Lucien Laurin and jockey Ron Turcotte and Secretariat's mind blowing 31 length win at the 73 Belmont Stakes.

PG- 13 for brief strong language.

Oscar chances ? Many in the know are calling it this years Blind Side. It's most definitely a feel good story. I think best picture, actress ( Lane ) best supporting actor ( Malkovich ), costumes and cinematography have good chances at nominations.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Social Network Preview/Synopsis

The Social Network October 1

Directed by David Fincher ( Seven, The Game, Benjamin Button ) Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Joseph Mezzelo, Rooney Mara, Rashinda Jones, Max Minghella, Brenda Strong. Written by Aaron Sorkin ( The West Wing, Charlie Wilson's War ) Cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth (K-19: Widowmaker, One Hour Photo ) Edited by Oscar nominees Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall ( Benmjamin Button ) Original music by Trent Reznor ( Nine Inch Nails ) and Atticus Ross ( The Book Of Eli )

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications. From director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin comes "The Social Network," a film that proves you don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies. The film is produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, and Ceán Chaffin and based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drugs and alcohol use and language. 121 min.

Oscar chances ? Looking pretty good so far from rave early reviews. Biggest chances are for picture and screenwriting. Possible for score. Maybe a supporting actor nod but I'm feeling that is a long shot, as the male supporting category this year is loaded more than it has been in years.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Legend Of The Guardian: The Owls Of Ga' Hoole Preview/Synopsis

Legend Of The Guardian: The Owls Of Ga' Hoole September 23

Directed by Zack Snyder ( 300, Watchman ) Starring a voice cast consisted of Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Anthony La Paglia, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Ryan Wanten, Miriam Margolyes. Score by Oscar nominee David Hirshfeld ( Shine, Elizabeth )

Soren (Jim Sturgess) is a young adventurous owl who loves hearing stories from his father Noctus (Hugo Weaving) about the legend of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a legendary alliance of owls that are sworn to protect the Kingdom of Ga'Hoole. His younger sister Eglantine (Adrienne de Faria) is enamoured by these stories, but his older brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) is jealous of the attention Soren receives. One night after accidentally pushing each other off of a tree branch, Soren and Kludd are captured and taken to The Pure Ones, lead by the evil Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton) and his mate Nyra (Helen Mirren). After finding out that the Guardians of Ga'Hoole truly exist and that Metalbeak and Nyra are planning to lead an army of Pure Ones to fight against the Guardians due to their belief of Barn Owls being the purest of all owl races, with the help of the Pure Ones librarian Grimble (also Hugo Weaving), Soren escapes the Academy with Elf Owl Gylfie (Emily Barclay) and journeys onwards to the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, meeting and befriending Great Grey Owl Twilight (Anthony LaPaglia) and Burrowing Owl Digger (David Wenham) and reunite with Mrs. Plithiver (Miriam Margolyes) along the way. Upon arriving at the Tree, Soren and his friends find themselves in training to help fight against the Pure Ones, with help from wise Whiskered Screech owl Ezylryb (Geoffrey Rush): Soren is devastated to realize that Kludd has been convinced to fight against him alongside Metalbeak and Nyra.

Rated PG- for some sequences of scary action

Oscar chances ? If it does real well critically and at the box office it might squeeze in the Best Animated category.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Super 8 trailer

The much secretive Steven Spielberg produced and J.J. Abrams directed upcoming sci-fi/thriller/mystery project coming in 2011. Question is... how do they have a trailer already when the film is said to still be in pre-production ?
Either way, the scuttlebutt on the message boards for this film is mostly guessing what is colliding with the train ? Since the tagline mentions 1979 and Area 51, some are also claiming ( guessing ) it must be aliens. On the other hand some are thinking it's a huge hybrid type monster. One thing is known at least at this early stage, it has people already talking.

Is The King's Speech a best picture lock now ?

The King's Speech, which stars Colin Firth as King George VI learning to overcome a stutter, also starring Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce has come away with winning The Peoples Choice Award for best film at the recent Toronto Film Festival, besting other festival favorites such as 127 Hours, Black Swan and Rabbit Hole.
Many now conclude this win is almost a sure thing Oscar nomination lock in the Best Picture category. It also played to many raves at the Telluride Fest as well.
If I had to bet I would also agree with that intimation. It has a strong positive buzz following it around. If that doesn't convince you, previous TIFF winners were Precious, just last year, Slumdog Millionaire the year previous and Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Scream 4 almost finished shooting

For the fans of the Scream franchise, I'm, sure they are well aware that a fourth installment had a green light over a year ago and the movie has almost completed filming.
Back from the original and the most popular characters in the series are Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette. Joing them are newcomers Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Anthony Anderson, Emma Stone, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell and Marley Shelton.
Horror master Wes Craven in back in the seat directing as well. Look for the film to hit theaters April 15, 2011.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Dilemma Trailer/Synopsis

Janruary 11

Directed by Ron Howard ( A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 ) Starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah. Written by Allen Loeb ( Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps )

A man (Vince Vaughn) is unsure if he should tell his overweight best friend and business partner (Kevin James) that his wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him with another man (Channing Tatum) after catching them in the act.

Sasha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury ?!

Actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has signed on to play the late rock icon Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the legendary singer.

The film, still without a title or a director, has been greenlighted by production company GK Films, which has hired Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon") to write the script. The film, including Cohen's star turn, has the support of Mercury's surviving bandmates. Mercury died of an HIV/AIDS-related illness in 1991.

The news has led to a very mixed response. Personally... my only minor problem with it is the major height difference. Mercury was 5'9 and Cohen is 5 inches taller. Also I will be interested to see how they will go about the vocals in the film. Will they dub Freddie's voice or will they require Cohen to take voice lessons that resemble Mercury's distinctive and difficult singing voice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fighter Trailer/Synopsis

December 10

Directed by David O'Russell ( I Heart Huckabees. Three Kings ) Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams, Jack McGee, Frank Renzulli. Swiss cinematographer Hoyt Van Hotema ( The Lives Of Others ) handled the lensing.

Mark Wahlberg stars in Paramount Pictures' inspirational docudrama exploring the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born lightweight title winner "Irish" Micky Ward. A determined pugilist whose career in the ring was shepherded by his loyal half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale) -- a hard-living boxer-turned-trainer whose own career in the ring was nearly sent down for the count due to drugs and crime -- perennial underdog Irish Micky rebounded from a disheartening series of defeats to win both the WBU Intercontinental Lightweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title thanks to a fierce combination of determination and hard work. Script was written by 8 Mile's Scott Silver and Paul Attanasio (The Bourne Ultimatum).

The Tourist Trailer/Synopsis

December 10

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ( The Lives Of Others ) Starring Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Raoul Bova and Haley Webb. Cinematography was handled by Oscar winner John Seale ( The English Patient, Cold Mountain, The Perfect Storm )

The film revolves around Frank (Depp), an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise (Jolie) is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path in order to mislead all those following her former lover. Against the breathtaking backdrop of Venice, Frank pursues a potential romance but soon finds himself the pursued as he and Elise are caught in a whirlwind of intrigue and danger.

The movie follows the series of manipulations, as characters realise that they are merely pieces being played by an unseen mastermind of the game.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If the Oscar's were announced today mine would be...

My Oscar nominations as of today would look something like this ( obviously this will look a lot different come the end of the year )* indicates the winner

Best Picture

Animal Kingdom *
Get Low
The Ghost Writer
The Kid's Are Alright
Leaves Of Grass
The Runaways
Shutter Island
Solitary Man
Winter's Bone

Best Actor

Michael Douglas- Solitary Man *
Leonardo DiCaprio- Shutter Island
Andy Serkis- Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll
Robert Duvall- Get Low
Edward Norton- Leaves Of Grass

Best Actress

Annette Bening- The Kid's Are Alright *
Tilda Swinton- I Am Love
Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone
Amy Ryan- Jack Goes Boating
Carey Mulligan- Never Let Me Go

Best Supporting Actor

Ben Mendelsohn- Animal Kingdom *
Bill Murray- Get Low
John Hawkes- Winter's Bone
Richard Dreyfuss- Leaves Of Grass
Mark Ruffalo- The Kid's Are Alright

Best Supporting Actress

Jacki Weaver- Animal Kingdom *
Julianne Moore- The Kid's Are Alright
Dale Dickey- Winter's Bone
Dakota Fanning- The Runaways
Sissy Spacek- Get Low


Chris Noloan- Inception *
David Michod- Animal Kingdom
Martin Scorsese- Shutter Island
Roman Polanski- The Ghost Writer
Aaron Schneider- Get Low


Robert Richardson- Shutter Island *
Wally Pfister- Inception
Pawel Edelman- The Ghost Writer
John Mathieson- Robin Hood
Sam McCurdy- Centurion

Monday, September 13, 2010

127 Hours teaser trailer

I just finished the book, Between A Rock and A Hard Place, from which this film was adapted, and if the film is anything as intense as the book is, then this should be a pretty good and gripping film.
Danny Boyle ( Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire ) directs James Franco in this true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston and his tale of being stuck to a boulder for 5 1/2 days in the Blue John Canyon and the decision he ultimately has to take in order to survive.

Roger Ebert's thoughts on Eastwood's Hereafter

There are not many film critics I let sway me either way on seeing a film, I am a firm believer in seeing a movie for yourself even if a certain film has been raked over the coals, you probably still owe it to yourself to see it to determine your own conclusion. But I have always revered Roger Ebert's opinion when he reviews a movie. He's simply one of, if not, the best of all time. The man knows what he is talking about. Here is a little piece he has written about Clint Eastwood's latest supernatural film Hereafter...


" Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter considers the possibility of an afterlife with tenderness, beauty and a gentle tact. I was surprised how enthralling I found it. I don’t believe in woo-woo, but there’s no woo-woo anywhere to be seen. It doesn’t even properly suppose an afterlife, but only the possibility of consciousness after apparent death. This is plausible. Many near-death survivors report the same memories, of the white light, the waiting figures and a feeling of peace.

The subject lends itself to sensationalizing and psychic baloney. Eastwood has made a film for sensitive, intelligent people who are naturally curious about what happens when the shutters close. He tells three primary stories. Their three central characters meet at the end, but please don’t leap to conclusions. This is not one of those package endings where all the threads come together in a Coincidence that makes everything clear. They meet in a perfectly explicable and possible way, they behave as we feel they might, and everything isn’t tied up neatly. Instead, possibilities are left open in this world, which is as it should be, because we must live the lives we know and not count on there being anything beyond the horizon.

I said the film was made with tact. It is made with the reserve, the reluctance to take obvious emotional shortcuts, that is a hallmark of Eastwood as a filmmaker. This is the film of a man at peace. He has nothing to prove except his care for the story. The original screenplay is by Peter Morgan (who doesn’t, Eastwood told me, believe in psychic powers). He gives us Matt Damon as a man who seems actually able to have communication with the dead, but has fled that ability and taken a low-profile job; Cecile de France as Marie, a newsreader on French television; Bryce Dallas Howard as a young cooking student with a fearful dark place inside; Richard Kind as a man mourning his wife; and Frankie McLaren as Marcus, a young boy whose twin brother has been struck by a truck and killed."

It's a postive review of the film that overall is getting mixed reviews at Toronto so far, but it's Eastwood and mixed reviews or not, I was still going to see this movie.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Conviction review by Katey Rich via Cineblend

TIFF Review: Sam Rockwell Shines In The By-The-Numbers Conviction
By Katey Rich : 2010-09-10 20:22:25

Director Tony Goldwyn doesn't do much to dress up the true story at the center of the earnest, perfect all-right Conviction, but truth be told he doesn't need to. Betty Anne Waters' 20-year odyssey to free her brother Kenny from prison, starting by earning her GED and leading to a law degree, is an astonishing story with little embellishment needed, and as acted by Hilary Swank and the magnetic Sam Rockwell, Conviction works better than you might expect for what's essentially a Law & Order episode with bigger stakes. It's not the artiest or most impressive thing you'll see this fall, but it works.

Goldwyn and screenwriter Pamela Gray make the odd and somewhat mystifying choice of never proving off the bat that Rockwell's Kenny is innocent. A roughneck maligned by the system ever since he and Betty Anne were split up in foster care as kids, Kenny is convicted of brutally murdering an elderly former neighbor, primarily based on the primitive crime scene blood testing available in 1983 and the testimony of a few ex-girlfriends with an ax to grind. After Kenny attempts suicide devoted sister Betty Anne decides to go to law school to help solve his case and, miraculously, pulls it off. The first 40 or so minutes of the film cover all this back story in loose flashbacks before finally settling on Betty Anne as a recent law school graduate and single mom, balancing between caring for her two boys and chasing her single life passion of proving her brother's innocence.

Because so much of the film takes place in dim law libraries, courthouses and police stations it doesn't look all that great, and while Swank is at least somewhat restrained doing her usual down-home gal thing, she doesn't quite have the charisma to carry the movie through its discussions of DNA testing and statues of limitations. Luckily there's a solid supporting cast to back her up, starting with Rockwell, whose every scene in the prison interview room and especially flashbacks gives the film a jolt of electricity; Minnie Driver is also quite good as Betty Anne's sharp-tongued lawyer friend, and even good old Peter Gallagher shows up as the good guy lawyer from the Innocence Project to help Betty Anne late in her case. Juliette Lewis is a little more inexplicable in her tiny supporting role-- is she delightfully batty or totally over the top?-- but it seems churlish to do anything but be grateful she's still around, so she gets a pass.

It's possible to sit through Conviction, like I did in parts, with your hands crossed over your chest wondering when the flat legal stuff will actually take off into something that feels original. But when Betty Anne receives the fax that could free her brother at last, or when Kenny finally encounters the daughter he lost touch with when she was an infant, it's hard to deny that Conviction has succeeded on some level, even if it's all happening on the surface. It's a movie just bland and vaguely ambitious enough to slip by with the Academy, but I'd bet on the movie's Oscar campaign only going as far as a Supporting Actor claim for Sam Rockwell and a vain attempt at Best Actress on behalf of Hilary Swank-- and that's just fine. It's a low-key movie of small and uncomplicated pleasures, and trumping it up with a serious Oscar bid-- or a berth at a major festival like Toronto, for that matter-- does it no favors. Go in with low expectations and be willing to catch a few good, surprising things amid the standard-level drama you already saw coming.

Either way, however the movie is received critically or by box office receipts, the story is very compelling if not a 1 in 1000 shot. It's hard enough to get into law school and pass the bar, let alone re-try a guilty verdict, but then see it overturned is pretty unimaginable. But it happened, and I'm really looking forward to this film.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hereafter trailer

Hereafter October 22

Supernatural thriller directed by Clint Eastwood, written by Oscar winner Peter Morgan ( The Queen, Frost/Nixon ) and starring Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France, Jay Mohr, Richard Kind and Derek Jacobi.

Described the script as a supernatural thriller "in the vein of The Sixth Sense."

Writer Peter Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter, "It's quite spiritual material, and quite romantic, too. It's the sort of piece that's not easy to describe and in the hands of different filmmakers could end up as wildly different films. Quite unlike some of my other material, which I think there were only certain ways that you could shoot it."

Director Clint Eastwood told, "It's a story that's actually three stories of people who have had traumatic experiences in their life [...] and how these stories converge towards one another. It ends up with all three stories culminating in one big sequence." He compared the structure to French films "where the stories kind of converge together, and destiny drives each person towards the other".

The tone of the film has been described by Eastwood as a chick flick, "But one that men will like too. Or at least one that won't make them want to stick a Swiss Army Knife in their leg." Matt Damon described it as Eastwood's "French film ".

Hereafter has a screening at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Country Strong trailer

Many are saying this is the female version of Crazy Heart. If that's true, why release it one after Jeff Bridges won his Oscar ? I would have waited a year. Too many people are going to make the Crazy Heart comparison, even if it's good.
The film is written and directed by Shana Feste ( The Greatest ) and stars Gwyneth Paltrow as a washed up country singer attempting a comeback. Sound familiar ? Garrett Hedland, Leighton Meester and Tim McGraw co-star with the film hitting theaters December 22.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The King's Speech teaser

I guess this is better than nothing. I would really like to see a full trailer, since the film and cast generated raves from the Telluride Film Festival this past week. If anyone is unfamilar with the backstory to this film, The King's Speech tells the story of the man who became King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ("Bertie") reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques (including diaphragmatic breathing ), and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
Directed by Tom Hooper ( John Adams, The Damn United ) also starring Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi and Jennifer Ehle.
November 26.

Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life pushed back another year

The long awaited Terrence Malick film, The Tree Of Life that stars Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, has been pushed back once again, this being the second time. The scuttlebutt reasoning is that the original distribution company Apparition that purchased the film has sold to Fox Searchlight over the possibly ending of Apparition or it's much decline as of late.
This is a film I have been following for a few years now, it's like pulling teeth it seems for this flick to see a release date. I just hope critics and audiences don't turn on it if it isn't mind blowing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

X-Men: First Class- in the before time

Little info on the prequel to the X-Men franchise that is well under way filming in the UK and is starring James McAvoy as a young Charles Xavier ( Portrayed by Patrick Stewart ) and Michael Fassbender as the young Eric Lehnsherr ( Played by Ian McKellen ) co-starring January Jones ( pictured ) Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Jason Flemyng and Zoe Kravitz. Ben Seresin ( Transformers and the new Denzel Washington film Unstoppable ) is serving as cinematographer.

Director Matthew Vaughn ( Kick-Ass, Stardust ) has confirmed that the film is a prequel to the first three movies. It will take place during the 1960s and will parallel the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. The X-Men costumes will look much more as they did in the original comics compared with the first three films, although the original team members with the exception of Beast will not appear. For most of the film Professor X will not be bald or in a wheelchair, but the reason why Xavier is later forced to use a wheelchair will be explained. The villains of the film will be the Hellfire Club. The plot is as follows:

"Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men."

Regarding the film's story, Vaughn said, "The story that Bryan Singer came up with is very, very smart ... It's very clever when you see how he has integrated the characters into the time period where the film is set. I'll put it that way. I just don't want to give it away. ... It's a very clever way of getting these characters involved in recent history, in recent world events."

The film will see a June 3 2011 release date.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Preview/Synopsis

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps September 24

Directed by Oscar winner Oliver Stone ( Platoon, Wall Street, JFK ) Starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Eli Wallach and Charlie Sheen in a cameo as Bud Fox. Written by Allan Loeb ( Things We Lost In The Fire ) and Stephen Schiff ( True Crime ) cinematography by Oscar nominee Rodrigo Prieto ( Brokeback Mountain, 25th Hour ) editing by David Brenner ( The River Wild, Identity ) and Julie Monroe ( The Patriot, World Trade Center ) Original score by Golden Globe winner Craig Armstrong ( Moulin Rouge, Ray )

The film is set 23 years after the first film, in June 2008, and Gordon Gekko has just been released from prison. Despite his initial attempts to warn Wall Street of the forthcoming economic downturn and stock market crash, no one in the financial world believes him due to his conviction for financial crimes. Gekko decides to re-focus his attention on rebuilding his relationship with his estranged daughter, Winnie. Due to their time apart, and the fact that Winnie blames Gekko for her brother Rudy's suicide, she avoids any contact with him. At the same time, the mentor of young Wall Street trader Jacob unexpectedly dies, and Jacob suspects his hedge fund manager of being involved in the death. Jacob, who is Winnie's fiancé, seeks revenge and agrees to Gekko's offer of help, in return for which Jacob agrees to help Gekko with Winnie.

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic elements. 133 min.

Oscar chances ? Probably not. Maybe a screenplay and supporting nod for Mulligan but I just don't think this is Oscar material. That hardly means it won't be entertaining though.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Town Preview/Synopsis

The Town September 17

Written, directed and starring Ben Affleck, also starring Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite. Cinematography and editing by Oscar winner and Oscar nominee of There Will Be Blood, Robert Elswit and Dylan Tichenor respectively. Musical score by David Bickley ( Shrek Forever After ) and Harry Gregson Williams ( Gone Baby Gone )

The Town is an upcoming action crime thriller that is based on Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves.

The film follows the action of four Charlestown, Massachusetts bank robbers as they are pursued by law enforcement. Affleck plays a professional thief who falls for a bank manager (Rebecca Hall) after a dangerous heist. He struggles with this new found relationship whilst evading a tenacious FBI agent (Jon Hamm) looking to catch him and his crew before they rob another bank.

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.

Oscar chances ? Might be possible for best picture if the reviews are lights out, and then a screenplay and supporting actress nod may happen as well. But instinct with films like this, tells me it's more of a popcorn film than an awards darling.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Clooney's next behind the camera; Farragut North

George Clooney is looking to get behind the camera again to do an adaptation of the acclaimed stage play Farragut North, that was written by Beau Willimon that is supposed to begin filming in Febraury. Willimon, a former Democratic political operative, has also written the screenplay.

'Farragut North' tells the story of Stephen Myers, a twentysomething presidential campaign whiz kid who plays all sorts of dirty tricks to get his Democratic candidate the nomination against a rival senator.

Chris Pine, who played Myers in the Los Angeles stage production, has been tapped for the screen role.

Clooney has also approached Philip Seymour Hoffman to play Paul Zara, Myers' hard-bitten boss. Paul Giamatti is set to play the campaign manager of the rival senator.

Clooney also has offers out to Evan Rachel Wood to play a teen staffer with whom Myers has a sexual dalliance and Marisa Tomei as a journalist.

The film will be independently financed but talks are underway for Sony to handle distribution.

George Clooney can currently be seen in theaters in 'The American,' a thriller directed by Anton Corbijn and also can be seen in his collaboration with director Alexander Payne in The Descendants which has no official release date as of now.

PTA's next: There Will Be " The Master "

Well it's been a few years now since we last heard from Paul Thomas Anderson, the wunderkind director that was last Oscar nominated for his period opus There Will Be Blood, and now it looks that his next project, a religion based premise, will begin shooting this fall. So far there have been some scripts showing up online, but I did not try to read any or obtain them. I only know what the basic storyline is, and it's something to this effect...

The film focuses on a guy in his ’20s called Freddie ( Jeremy Renner ), who leaves the Navy after his appendix bursts. He swiftly becomes an alcoholic, and begins brewing his own beer, but when it almost kills an immigrant worker, he runs away to sea again, and falls under the spell of a man known as “Master” ( Philip Seymour Hoffman ), a family man who is also the leader of his own religion.

It seems from Internet rumor that the Hoffman character will be loosely based on a Ron L. Hubbard type leader and is going for that type of angle.

Rounding out the cast is Reece Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Amanda Seyfried, Thomas Jane, Deborah Ann Woll and long time PTA collaborator, Philip Baker Hall. Also rejoining Anderson from There Will Be Blood is DP Robert Elswit, who won the Oscar for his lensing on TWBB, and editor Dylan Tichenor, who also received a Oscar nod for that film.

The Master is looking for a 2011 release. I'm personally looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Kind of a Funny Story trailer

The film is centred around Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a 16-year old who, after a bout of depression, checks himself into a mental health clinic.

Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck ( Sugar, Half Nelson ) Starring Zack Galifinakis, Keir Gilchrist, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Jeremy Davis, Viola Davis, Emma Roberts, Zoe Kravitz.

No release date has been set as of this time.

Friday, September 3, 2010

No word yet on Coriolanus release date

So what's the deal behind this movie ? Well... it's a adaptation from William Shakespeare and the film is in post production and is finished, but no release date has been set as of yet. Several websites mention he film being released this year but since there is on 4 months left in the year, that date doesn't seem likely. At least I have some information on the movie and it's premise below...

Directed and starring Ralph Fiennes and also starring Gerard Butler, Vannessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain, Dragon Micanovic, James Nesbitt and Paul Jesson in a script adapted by John Logan ( The Aviator ) with recent Oscar winner Barry Ackroyd handling the cinematography.

The original premise of Coriolanus centers on a Roman leader who faced a schism between the support of the Senate and the will of the plebeians. Citizens are angry at Coriolanus for withholding grain, but he earns a title as hero of Rome after facing down an army led by Tullus Aufidius (Butler). Upon his return to Rome, the mother of Coriolanus (Redgrave) encourages him to take a more active role in city politics. But his enemies push him into a rage, he rails against the idea of the plebeians having power, and is banished as a traitor. Coriolanus makes a deal with Aufidius to take revenge on Rome.

Not sure if they’ll translate the story directly from the book or if they’ll adapt it into modern English. For example, Baz Luhrmann’s rendition of Romeo + Juliet used the original Shakespearean dialogue in the script but everything else was present day. We wonder what route Fiennes will take?

The Romantics Trailer/Synopsis

The Romantics September 10

Written and directed by novelist Galt Niederhoffer ( Prozac Nation )Starring Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, Elijah Wood, Malin Ackerman, Candice Bergen, Jeremy Strong. Cinematography by Sam Levy ( Wendy and Lucy ) editing by Jacob Craycroft ( A Prairie Home Companion ) and original score by Jon Sadoff ( The Merry Generation )

Seven college friends reunite six years later for the wedding of Lila (Anna Paquin) and Tom (Josh Duhamel). Things go awry when the maid of honor ( Holmes ) and the bride clash over the groom, with whom the maid of honor was once romantically involved.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, language and some drug material.

Oscar chances ? Likely none but may get a Spirit nomination for writing. Possibles for MTV Award nods for best kiss or best villain or something like that if it's even remembered by that time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Machete Preview/Synopsis

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez ( Sin City, Once Upon A Time Mexico ) Starring Danny Trejo, Robert DeNiro, Benicio Del Toro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Rose McGowan, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Steven Segal with Tim Roth and Stacy Keach show in trailers before the film starts. Cinematography by Jimmy Lindsey ( Alabama Moon ) Edited by Rebecca Rodriguez ( The Better Half ) and original score by Oscar nominee John Denby ( The Passion Of The Christ )

The story revolves around Machete (Danny Trejo), a former "Mexican Federale" turned renegade. After a shakedown with a druglord (Steven Seagal), Machete roams Texas looking to do yard work in exchange for money. Michael Benz (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that the corrupt Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Benz offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract. As Machete attempts to assassinate McLaughlin during a rally, he is double-crossed and one of Benz' henchmen shoots him. It is revealed that Benz orchestrated the entire attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin's harsh anti-immigration laws. By setting up Machete as the patsy, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator.

A wounded Machete is taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds, and escapes from the guards before he can be arrested. Agent Sartana (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior, Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson), to go find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Shé (Michelle Rodriguez) recruits Padre Benito del Toro (Cheech Marin), Machete's "holy" brother. To take revenge on Benz, Machete kidnaps Benz's wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), who has a penchant for guns. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him. Machete rallies a group of illegal immigrants together, and begins to hunt the people who double crossed him.

Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, sexuality and some nudity.

Oscar chances ? No way ! But I could see this getting a Man Awards/MTV Awards noticesd for Danny Trejo.

37th Telluride Film Festival

Set to go from September 3-06, the Telluride Film Fest has another impressive set of movies to be screened this year. Some of noteworthy mention are; Another Year ( Mike Leigh ) Biutiful ( Alejandro Gonzalez Inniritu ) Tamara Drewe ( Stephen Frears ) The Way Back ( Peter Weir ) Never Let Me Go ( Mark Romanek ) Tom Hooper ( The King's Speech ) 127 Hours ( Danny Boyle ) Tabloid ( Errol Morris ) Inside Job ( Craig Ferguson ) The tenth Inning ( Ken Burns ) The First Grader ( Justin Chadwick ) Happy People: A Year In Tagia ( Werner Herzog )

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Michael Douglas discusses throat cancer on Letterman

Much luck to a very solid actor who's had a very good career. Hopefully he beats this and can carry on. His Solitary Man performance by the way is my favorite leading male performance still at this point of the year so.

As for some of his best, my personal favoorite roles are...

1) Wonder Boys as Prof. Grady Tripp
2) Wall Street as Gordon Gekko
3) Solitary Man as Ben Kalmen
4) Fatal Attraction as Dan Gallagher
5) Basic Instinct as Detective Nick Curran

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About Me

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Started to really pay attention to film ( movies ) what was going on in front of the camera, but more interestingly, behind it as well at about as far back as age 10. Motion pictures ( when good ) are a fascinating medium. All the work and prep that goes into filmmaking. It's an amazing process !