Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Moon: 4 out of 5 stars

The second movie installment of the popular Twilight saga, New Moon sucked in viewers from everywhere, including me. Being a fan of the former movie I was intrigued to see how the next film would stand against its predecessor and I am please to report that it did not disappoint. I would even go so far as to say that New Moon’s bite was bigger than the first move.

New Moon picks up a few months from where Twilight left off. It introduces you to more of Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob’s (Taylor Lautner) worlds and you see it all from Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) eyes. There were more blood sucking villains than you could shake holy water at in Italy, where the Vulturi live. Plus, some of the hottest werewolves you’ll ever see are part of the Quileutes tribe, so you’ll want to put away those silver bullets.

The pace of this movie was perfect. The beginning may have seemed slow to some people, but to me, it allowed you to truly experience what Bella was going through emotionally, physically, and psychologically after Edward leaves her.

Not to worry though, it quickly picks up once Bella starts spending more time with Jacob. There are some really good action sequences and C.G.I.’s. Plus, the sparks flying from Jacob and Bella two were enough to stake Edward through the heart and create this amazing love triangle.

Overall I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. It is definitely worth seeing, even if you haven’t read the books. So if you have some extra time this holiday, you should go check this film out. You should enjoy the film no matter what since it has some amazing eye candy, especially for the women out there.

-Chelsea Delz


Monday, November 2, 2009

"This Is It" great for anyone of any age

"This Is It" would have been the best concert of all time.

But for the one million or so people who attended, they probably never would have realized what a genius Michael Jackson was. The movie version of the concert development/rehearsals never would have been released, and only insiders would have known how meticulous Jackson was in making it the perfect experience.

If a drum beat started half a second too soon, he stopped and explained why it needed pause. If a riff didn't have enough soul behind it (and I don't even know what that means), he'd beat box/sing/hum exactly how it needed to sound. I couldn't hear a difference, but the musicians could. Everything from the way the vignette actors looked into the camera to the placement of the crystals on what would have been the Billie Jean jacket was deliberate.

For those who are expecting a "River Dance"-type stage production on film, it's not really like that. There is a plot and there are behind-the-scenes explanations of what's going on, which make the story move at a very intriguing pace.

One thing I loved about the concert was that Jackson planned to give the audience exactly what they wanted. The huge stage production was an adaptation of each famous music video. He didn't try to change his original records into something new, or take a different visual stance. "Thriller" was Thriller on steroids. "Smooth Criminal" was smooth criminal on steroids. "Human Nature" was a more raw, acoustic version, but was 100% recognizable.

I think artists try too hard to think outside the box for their shows and end up presenting something wildly different. Jackson and his people thought outside the box and ended up with what would have been a masterpiece.

If you're wondering, there aren't any moments of "freaky Jackson." He's not playing anything up for the cameras pretending to hide his face or anything like that. Aside from the occasional "yes Michael, whatever you want Michael" stuff, it's all about the music and performance.

I would recommend this movie for anyone of any age. The audience at Century 12 Abilene laughed out loud several times, cheered a little bit, and stayed all the way through the credits.

The movie gets a B and Jackson gets an A.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"9" Movie Gets a B+

Nine is a pretty good film. From a technical standpoint, it's excellent. The CGI is so advanced in this film, it kept me captivated the entire time. I must say, however, the plot may be a bit lacking. It has good intentions, but could have been better executed. Had it not been for the absolutely beautiful composition and astounding use of light and motion, I cannot say I would have remained interested throughout the entire thing. It is an action movie, as you might have guessed, so action fans should be pleased.

The depiction of characters was one of the elements I like best about the film. I found myself in each of them, which is certainly an achievement when it comes to portraying characters.

I do not want to reveal too much about the plot, as it is still a good movie that should be perceived by the individual. Overall, I give it a B+.

Reviewed by Megan Dobbs

Also out this week: Whiteout, I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Sorority Row.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Moon Trailer Sneak Peek

A trailer is a sneak peek at a movie. So what's a sneak peek at a trailer? This.
(The full trailer will be played at the beginning of "Bandslam," in theaters Friday.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not-So Funny People

Let's just start off by saying two couples in front of me got up and left. I'll get to why in a minute.

Don't you think you run the risk of extra criticism when you title your comedy "Funny People?" I do like Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan and even Jonah Hill, but don't label them as funny.

After seeing the commercials a dozen times... you know, "How old is Harry Potter? Shouldn't he have graduated by know?" "Are you mad that you died at the end of Die Hard?"... I thought, that's kind of funny, but doesn't seem super funny. I'll give it a try anyway.

Then, when the movie started, I realized those were the only few jokes that weren't R-rated. That's why they had to be in the commercial.

When there's not the drama of a famous comic who's lonely and finds out he's going to die, every single joke consists of the nasty stuff that everyone who has ever been to a comedy show knows comics turn to when they think they're tanking. "Quick, think of something extremely vulgar about your body parts that will make people so uncomfortable they'll have to laugh."

That's why the two couples left. I'm surprised they stuck it out for a full half hour.

Before writing this blog, I watched the 3 1/2 minute trailer online. It's packed full of jokes that aren't in the movie. So, they took out perfectly funny humor to replace it will the vile stuff?

Ok, if you've read this blog before, you know that I dislike raunchy content. (Why I keep going to R-rated movies, I've yet to figure out.) So let's move on to why I disliked the movie for other reasons.

1. It's SO long. You think (hope) it's going to end soon and then you realize the real plot -- about "the one that got away" -- hasn't even started yet.

2. The cameos. Sure, it's fun to see Adam Sandler, who essentially plays himself, interact with big-name comedians on a social level. You have Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, Norm McDonald, Paul Reiser... but then you have Eminem and James Taylor. Eminem is (no surprise) annoying and rude. And not in an obvious "making fun of himself" kind of way. Then, James Taylor, who plays two of my favorite songs in the movie, opens his dirty mouth and spits out two dirty jokes -- and couldn't even deliver them with a straight face.

3. Leslie Mann. Don't like her. I want to tell her to take it down and octave and move her lips when she talks. In my opinion, she could play the Good Witch of the North and that's about it. I think she has a lot to do with the movie dragging on and on, since it centers around her for the last hour.

One of these days I'll review a movie I like, I promise!

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Batman Film Underway

A new Batman film may begin shooting next year for release in 2011, according to actor Gary Oldman, who starred in the most recent blockbuster Batman movies.

Oldman, appearing in San Diego at the Comic-Con convention, let it slip that a new flick about the crime-fighting superhero is set to start filming next year.

The actor, who played Commissioner Gordon in director Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" was at the convention promoting another movie thriller, "The Book of Eli."

(Copyright 2009 by Newsroom Solutions)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bruno is Downright Disgusting!

Bruno is disgusting, vile, offensive, gross, and downright nasty. If you can look past that...and I consider that a big "if"...the movie can be entertaining and amusing.

The film features a mix of real situations and storyline. The filmmakers do an excellent job of weaving real footage into a wild and outlandish story. These "real" situations are what makes the film. You'd think people learned from Borat. Nope. Star Sacha Baren Cohen is able to pull the wool (or in this case silk D&G scarf) over everyone's eyes again.

The movie follows Austrian fashion TV host Bruno who is famous enough to decide what's "in" and "out" in pop culture. After a disastrous decision to wear a Velcro suit to a fashion show, Bruno is fired from his job and become the laughing stock of Austria. At that point, Bruno decides he needs to come to the U.S. and become a celebrity! He hooks up with a talent agent and tries every route you could imagine to be famous. His exploits include marketing a TV show, going to the Mideast to get a peace treaty signed, adopting an African child, and trying to become straight. His efforts to leave behind his homosexual lifestyle lead to the most humorous aspects of the film.

It might sound cute. However, it's not. I can't stress enough: this movie is nasty! Don't take the kids, don't take grandma, and don't go if you have a heart condition. When my mom came to town last weekend, I suggested to her that we might go see Bruno together because it would probably be funny. That would've been a horrible idea!! We'd probably never be able to look each other in the eyes again.

I'll rate it like this:
22-year-old guy who doesn't have a girlfriend and thinks Harold & Kumar are the world's biggest celebrities: 4 out of 5 stars
Anyone who thinks they can't be offended and likes a good laugh: 3 out of 5 stars
Anyone who considers themselves normal: 1 out of 5 stars
Someone easily offended: You will walk out of the movie

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Happened to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince?

Before going into my review of this film, let me first say that I am arguably one of the biggest Harry Potter fans ever. I even named my dog, Hermione, after on of the main characters in the series. I love the books and I love the movies and usually I am able to look at each of them as two separate entities so I am not hard on the movies like most of the readers are; however, this film is the rate exception to my rule.

Let’s focus on the things that were good in the film before we get into my critiques.

First of all, the chemistry between Rupert Grint and Emma Watson was amazing. The film did a great job of showing the budding romance between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. The jealously, the tension, the confusion, the longing was all very well played. These two actors did their jobs perfectly!

Secondly, this is the first time that I actually enjoyed Michael Gambon’s performance as Professor Albus Dumbledore. Until this film, in my opinion, he never compared to the original Dumbledore, Richard Harris, but this time he did the character justice.

Finally, the special effects just keep getting better and better with each film that comes out.

Now onto the parts that make you wonder, did the director, screenwriter, and/or producer actually read the book before writing the script?

Okay, the film is titled Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, right? If not, then they have a whole lot of merchandising mistakes they need to fix. But who is the Half Blood Prince? Well if you watch the movie you wouldn’t even know he was that important of a character because he is barely seen, much less mentioned. And why is he so important? Who would know? The movie sure doesn’t explain that so, you are going to be lost unless of course you actually read the books.

On top of that you were supposed to see Dumbledore and Harry reliving memories from certain events that involved “He Who Must Not Be Named,” otherwise known as Lord Voldemort or by his muggle name Tom Riddle. There were only two instances in the film where Harry and the headmaster actually take a dive in the pensive (where Dumbledore places his memories so he can revisit them) and stroll around to see what they can learn about their evil nemesis and there is only one of those instances that actually pushes the plot forward! There should have been several of these scenes because some extremely crucial things were left out that will be in the next two films. In other words, by cutting these scenes the next two films will not make sense not to mention that it aided in confusing the heck out of the audience in this film. It was as if the director only put those two memory walks in the film just to say “Hey, look at the cool special effects we can do at Industrial Light and Magic!”

There was also a scene in the film that was not in the book that made absolutely no sense and it will also cause more problems for the next two films. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind when extra things are added to the films if they advance the plot or make things more fun. A good example of that would be in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They added a scene where Professor McGonagall teaches the Hogwarts students to ballroom dance. Not only was it funny to see Ron have to dance with McGonagall, but you also get to see a side of Neville Longbottom that you have never seen before. The added scene in this movie was so not needed nor was it entertaining.

The biggest problem with the film though, was the ending. This is where I was so glad that I had read the book before I had seen the film because the movie was so anticlimactic. The only way I can explain how badly they ended this movie is to compare it to another film, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The fight scene between Yoda and Count Dooku in that film made the movie. People cheered, got out of their seats and clapped and everyone left the theater feeling fulfilled and totally pumped after seeing Yoda kick some major butt.

This is how you should have felt at the end of the Half Blood Prince. Not! Who needs and ending like that? I mean if people are that pumped when they leave a theater it could cause mass hysteria. Some could have heart attacks, aneurisms, or possibly seizures. I mean the makers of this film were thinking of the public’s well being when they chose to cut the amazing battle between the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix. Not to mention cutting the pivotal battle between Harry and Professor Snape. I mean who needs to see something as cool as that? Umm, ME! I would even go so far as to say EVERYONE AT THE MIDNIGHT SHOWING OF THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE WANTED TO SEE THAT! We need the Yoda fight! We need to see McGonagall kicking some major Death Eater butt! Yet, Harry Potter fans everywhere were left wanting.

Finally and hopefully without ruining the movie for you, or at least more than it already is, there is one more detail that was left out that should have been included. Harry, Hermione, and Ron all inherit something from someone’s will at the end of the book, alas, it is not in the film so one can only hope that they will begin the next film with the three of them receiving their inheritance.

So my advice to everyone who has seen or is planning to see this movie is, read the book before, during, or after seeing this movie because this is truly the worst film out of the six Harry Potter movies. It does not even come close to doing the book justice.

- Chelsea Delz

Film Ratings:
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 2 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 6 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 5 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 4 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Away We Go

What a sweet, feel-good movie. Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski make a really cute couple. She's a little sad, but a dreamer, and he's extremely laid back and loving and made all the ladies in the audience sigh. They meet some crazy, funny, and tragic characters along their journey to choose a new town for their expanding family.

An expanding family that's out of wedlock.

Call me old fashioned, but why couldn't they have just been a married couple? There's a loose plot line surrounding the reason she refuses to marry the man she plans to spend the rest of her life with, but it's completely unnecessary to the story.

I've just been trying lately to see the shows and movies I'm watching with a more naive eye, because the more I see stories of people who are going against my values, the more I see my values loosening. And people who tell you that they don't let exposure to the world cloud their consciences are putting themselves in a dangerous position.

All that aside, this movie made me laugh out loud, cry a little, and be thankful that I have my own version of the goofy, doting, and perfect partner in life. (But mine's better.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hangover: Rauncheriffic

It pains me to admit that The Hangover was really funny. The humor and the characters were fairly unique, which I liked. It was strangely suspenseful and not at all dark, which I somehow expected. This movie also managed to have a lot of physical comedy without it being slapstick or cheesy.

Four very different guys leave for a bachelor weekend in Las Vegas. Someone slipped them drugs and they can't remember anything from the night before. They wake up with a missing groom, a missing tooth, a baby and a tiger. The movie takes you along a mystery tour trying to figure out what the heck happened.

This movie was really raunchy. I leaned over and covered my husband's eyes at least three times, and he gets much less offended than I do. There's one brief moment of female nudity in the context of breastfeeding, and one full-frontal of a Chinese gangster.

THEN comes the finale. Once the loose ends have been tied up, the guys go through their digital camera to look through all the photos. That's when the real adventure becomes clear, and the REAL offensive stuff comes out. I'm talking jaw-dropping horrible photos. If you can walk out during the credits and skip this part, go for it. But I'm a realist and I get that people who go to see that movie know what they're in for and would laugh at my suggestion to leave.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian

This latest Night at the Museum was just what I expected: entertaining, cute, and with great visual effects. And it was about a battle at the Smithsonian.

What I loved:
I thought Amy Adams was so great as Amelia Earhart! Just shows that you can have really great acting in a kids' movie. If I were a member of the Academy, I'd fight for her nod. But I doubt this movie is on their radar.

I loved the other dimensions that came to life in the Smithsonian. In the Museum of Natural History (movie #1), T-Rex bones, miniature action figures and stuffed monkeys came to life at night. In this one, the paintings, movies and even bobble heads come to life! And it's all done in a really entertaining and, if I may, logical way.

I loved the story. It managed to make complete sense as a sequel to the original. It had a great moral but didn't get preachy.

For those of you who like The Office, there were three actors from that show who make cameos. I don't know if you can call it a cameo when they're not really famous... but anyway, they make appearances.

Now, parents please don't take my word for it, but I didn't notice stuff that would be inappropriate for kids. I really do try to pay attention to language and innuendos in kid movies like this. I do remember some questionable things in the original, but really didn't catch anything here.

What I didn't love:
As with the original Night at the Museum, I wanted to fast-forward through the climax of the movie, but the theater has no FF button. I don't know, I guess I feel the same way about any action-y movies.

I have mixed feelings about Hank Azaria as a power-hungry pharaoh with feminine tendencies. On one hand, he's a hilarious actor, but on the other hand, WHY do most foreign characters have to have British accents?! Napoleon had a french accent, Ivan the Terrible had a Russian accent, but Egyptian dude was annoyingly British. Whatever! He did make me laugh out loud, though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is it Cool to Like Star Wars?

I am not a Trekkie. In fact, I've never seen a Star Trek movie or episode of the numerous Trek TV shows. The mere thought of Star Trek shows makes me roll my eyes.

I was shocked to see positive reviews for the new flick. So shocked, I was willing to give it a try.

As much as I hate to admit it....I liked it! Granted, I wasn't sure what was happening half the time. But, it was pretty darn good!

The story of how the Star Trek enterprise crew came together was very well written. I enjoyed seeing the characters evolve throughout the film. I thought they did an excellent job introducing each character and making you "feel" for each one.

All the young actors did a great job -- particularly the new Spock, Zachary Quinto. Though I'm not an old school Trek fan, it was nice seeing Leonard Nimoy in the movie. However, I still don't understand how the old Spock and new Spock seemed to coexist. If anyone has some insight, please share.

I'd give this a 3...maybe 4 out of 5 stars. It's not a movie that will change your life....but it sure won't loose your attention!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rourke Shines as "The Wrestler"

The Wrestler is the sad, uninspiring tale of a professional wrestling superstar from the 80s who can't seem to escape the headlock the industry has placed on him.

At one point, Randy "The Ram" Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke) was ontop of the world as heavyweight champion. He lived the high life often sacrificing his personal life and health to entertain enormous crowds packed into America's largest arenas. 20 years later, he's washed up.

Robinson's no longer in "the big show." Instead, he's performing in armories and rec centers on the weekends for a measly payout. During the week, he works at a grocery store to make ends meet.

The movie follows "The Ram" Robinson as he searches for his real self, Robin Ramzinski, following a heart attack. He enlists the help of a good-hearted stripper (played by Marrisa Tomei) and his estranged daughter. Can "The Ram" shed his charismatic in-ring persona and live a normal life? or will he always be "The Ram"?...even when everyone else in his life wants Robin.

Rourke does an amazing job. Unquestionably, it's an oscar-worthy performance. I can't say the same for Tomei. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and I'm not really sure why. She's far from memorable.

I'm not sure that I'd recommend the film to someone who isn't at least familiar with professional wrestling. Like many sports-theme movies, it's not really about a sport. But, it certainly helps to understand it.

Sadly, this tale could be about many once-superstars who once headline pay-per-views and now simply hope to land a spot in the next independent show coming through Abilene...for a $50 paycheck. Though it's not based on a true story, it easily could be one. For anyone who's followed professional wrestling, they'll understand the true tragedy of this film.

It's the story of so many promising people who've gone before their time. It's the story of people who confused fans for family...and ended up all alone. 3 of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bride Wars & More

Bride Wars was terrible!

I know, I'm late on this one. I recently went to see the movie with my Monster-In-Law, Marian (who lets me call her that because she is so cool). It dragged and dragged and dragged. I've never been an Anne Hathaway fan, but I do like Kate Hudson. They just weren't believable as friends and there was too much horseplay and not enough plot. I didn't laugh out loud very much and I was relieved when it was over... and not just because I had to pee.

Here are some DVDs I recently watched:

27 Dresses - B
This actually had a lot more plot than I expected and the characters were really well thought-out. My husband even ejoyed this one! And by "enjoyed" I mean didn't leave the room.

Rescue Dawn - D
Awful, awful, awful. For some reason I thought I was going to watch a Saving Private Ryan-type film, but it was more like a Disney movie. It was so cheesy and so bad. It's the story of a Navy man who goes to Vietnam, gets kidnapped, and tries to escape the crude prison. I hate that it was based on a true story, because the real people involved are probably super disappointed.

Night at the Museum - A-
Again, super late on this one, but I'd always wanted to see it, and when I saw a preview for the sequel, I figured it was about time! Ben Stiller did a great job and I LOVED that Dick Van Dyke was a villain. I also loved watching him dance during the closing credits. I was a little annoyed during the movie because I thought there would be NO way that the ending would make sense, but it did. Can't wait to see the next one!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Netflix, Please!

I haven't been to the movie theater in about a month, but I did recently subscribe to Netflix, so why not review some oldies but goodies!

No Country For Old Men: B-
This movie was incredibly violent. I should have known that going into it, but I wasn't ready for how truly evil it was. Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones all delivered stellar performances, though. Brolin plays a man who stumbles upon $2 million from a drug deal gone wrong. Bardem tries to hunt him down and retreive the cash. Jones is the sheriff trying to make sense of it all. I love to look for symbolism and meaning in these types of movies, but aside from the obvious "hunter and prey" theme I didn't get a lot out of it.

Cloverfield: D
Boo. I didn't even finish it. Sorry if that makes my review invalid. Apparently it's about Godzilla. Whatever.

The Kite Runner: C
I rented this because I recently listened to the audio of Khaled Hosseini's book on a road trip. The book was a great mix of light-hearted fun and distrubing drama. Unfortunately, the move wasn't able to capture the story as beautifully as I'd expected. It's about an Afghan man who immigrates to the US as a way to escape political unrest, as well as a dark secret from his childhood. He's then called back to the country to face both tragedies head-on. I don't recommend the movie for those who haven't read the book.

Run, Fatboy Run: B-
It's the story of a man who left his pregnant girlfriend at the altar and has no way of showing her he's changed other than promising to run a marathon. Catch? He hasn't really changed. While this movie did make me laugh, it was very predictable and felt long.

Michael Clayton: B+
This is one of those movies you'll want to go back and watch a second time in order to follow along better. George Clooney plays a lawyer trying to get his friend, a fellow lawyer, out of a huge mess that's set to cost a company millions of dollars. Warning: it's rated R for some pretty graphic language, including sexual language. Which is strange, because the story line isn't sexual at all.

Get Smart: B+
This movie made me want to go back and watch the television series again. I haven't seen it since I was a kid and don't remember a lot about it. I've spoken to people who loved the original Maxwell Smart and they thought the movie was great. It also has a lot of hidden nods to the series. Steve Carrell's rendition was great. It's amazing to me that he can nail both Don Adams and Paul Lynde's famous Uncle Arthur on Bewitched!

How about you? Stayed home for any good flicks lately?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: A Must-See!

I am so glad this movie came to Abilene. I don't know much about the history of how this movie garnered international attention, but God bless Fox Searchlight for putting it in widespread release! I wouldn't be surprised at all if it won the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie is actually nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Here's a quick plot summary. A young man, a "slumdog," winds up on India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and answers his way to a level no one has ever reached. Because of his poverty status and complete lack of education, he's arrested under suspicion of cheating. But Jamal Malik proves that life's lessons are the greatest of all and that everything is possible when fate is on your side.

The story was at the same time hard to watch and hard to look away from. It delves into the level of poverty that makes us Americans squirm. Jamal was happier living in a landfill than I ever remember being at that age. The movie highlights the best and the worst of human character and shows just how far you can go in life when you choose justice over revenge.

The colors, music, editing, and especially the story line were totally over the top, but the story still felt very real. I'm guessing that's true Bollywood fashion, even though I've never really seen a Bollywood movie.

While I would love to recommend this movie to everyone, it is rated "R" for violence, adult themes and children in peril. I definitely didn't leave feeling as if I had watched a rated "R" movie, though.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the Nominees Are...

The nominations are in for the 81st Annual Academy Awards!

"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" leads the way with 13 nominations, including Best Picture.

Hugh Jackman will host the Academy Awards presentation on February 22nd. ABC will televise the awards live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Here is a complete list of nominees for the 81st Annual Academy Awards:
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Melissa Leo - Frozen River
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader

Josh Brolin - Milk
Robert Downey, Jr. - Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road

Amy Adams - Doubt
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis - Doubt
Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler

David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant - Milk
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

The Baader Meinhof Complex - Germany
The Class - France
Departures - Japan
Revanche - Austria
Waltz with Bashir - Israel

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

Down to Earth -- WALL-E
Jai Ho -- Slumdog Millionaire
O Saya -- Slumdog Millionaire

Kung Fu Panda

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Frozen River
In Bruges

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory - Lovestory
This Way Up

Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire


The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rourke, Winslet, Slumdog Shine at Globes

Slumdog Millionaire, Kate Winslet, John Adams, and 30 Rock walked away as the big winners of the night. However, the biggest winner had to be an actor who just two years ago could land a job.

Tonight, we witnessed the resurrection of Mickey Rourke’s career. He won Best Actor in a drama for his role in The Wrestler. The crowd roared as an emotional Rourke walked onto the stage an accepted the award. He thanked just about everyone…including his dogs past and present.
Slumdog Millionaire won for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score. The film, shot and set in India, follows a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on a game show and exceeds people's expectations, raising the suspicions of the game show host and law enforcement.

Kate Winslet did what few – if anyone – have done in the past. Winslet won awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. She seemed overcome with emotion following both victories. Winslet happened to thank her makeup and hair team before thanking her husband or longtime friend Leonardo DiCaprio.

30 Rock and John Adams nearly swept all the awards for TV shows. 30 Rock won for Best Comedy, Best Actor and Best Actress. Tracy Morgan may have made the funniest speech of the night giving “shout outs” to just about everyone and anyone you could imagine. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney each took home awards for their performances in John Adams. Adams was a miniseries produced by Tom Hanks.
No surprise, Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for playing the joker in Dark Knight. It was nice to see Tom Cruise lead the standing ovation for Ledger. Whether you think Ledger deserved it or not, it definitely a stirring moment. Director Christopher Nolan accepted the award for Ledger.
What could be the most talked about incident of the night: Rene Zellweger’s see-through dress. This picture doesn’t quite do it justice. You could pretty much see it all. After cameras took a wider shot, they went back in closely to my surprise. Was I the only person who saw this?
Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight’s live blog on It was our first try at it. By the end of the night, we had nearly 50 comments from readers. I hope you had a good time. If you didn’t get to check it out, I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.

Eastwood Tops Box Office

Movie goers flocked to see the Clint Eastwood drama "Gran Torino" this weekend, giving the 78-year-old actor and director his biggest opening weekend ever. The movie brought in $29 million dollars to take the top spot at the box office according to Warner Brothers Pictures. The best weekend previously for Eastwood was 2000's "Space Cowboys," which earned $18 million in its first few days. It was the first weekend "Gran Torino" was in wide release, as it had been shown in fewer than 100 theatres in the previous month.

It was followed by the debut of the comedy "Bride Wars" starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson with $21.5 million and the supernatural thriller "The Unborn" ar $21.1 million.

In fourth was the movie which spent the past two weeks atop the charts, "Marley & Me," at $11.4 million. It was followed by "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with $9.5 million dollars in receipts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Benjamin Button: NOLA on My Mind

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a great movie. From the concept to the dialogue to the photography to the visual effects, the film didn't disappoint in any way.

I often watch movies thinking, "Why did they do that? This should have been in that order. That character looks too much like this one and it's confusing." But I lost myself in Benjamin Button's story. It made no sense, but I didn't feel it had to. Brad Pitt did a fantastic job playing a character that ranged from an 80-year-old child to a 17-year-old aging man.

One place where the movie lacked was a catalyst that led to Benjamin's strange birth.

The story begins during World War I with a clock maker who intentionally constructs a clock that ticks backwards. He's figuratively turning back time, wishing the men killed in the war had never left home. But there was no instigating moment that explains why Benjamin ages in reverse. Maybe he was born at the moment the clock started ticking? No. Maybe he was the son of the clock maker? No. If you're going to make me buy the story of an elderly baby, give me a reason to fall for it.

I guess I did sit there criticizing a little bit. But I'm done.

The hidden message of the movie is a surprising one. Yes, the world would be a better place if people maintained the innocence of a child into their adulthood. Yes, growing up would be easier "if only we knew then what we know now."

But the real message is all about New Orleans. F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, which the movie is based on, takes place in Baltimore. Okay, movie makers are offered great tax breaks to film in Louisiana, but you can make Shreveport look like Baltimore in a second. No, New Orleans is more than a setting. She's a character in the movie. Her sights, her sounds, her culture... In Benjamin Button's New Orleans, all are equal. Everyone is content with life the way it is.

The story is bracketed by Cate Blanchett's aging character dying in a New Orleans hospital as Hurricane Katrina approaches. The final scene is that famous backwards clock sitting in a storage room as the flood begins to seep in. The clock continues to tick backwards.

"If only we knew then what we know now..."

Maybe New Orleans will one day get back to the way it was. Maybe the world can reverse itself to a time when people were more connected. Maybe the world can fast-forward itself to a time when we'll judge each other less and open ourselves up to people who are the exact opposite of ourselves.

In Benjamin Button's world, nothing is impossible.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

'Valkyrie' Entertaining, Decent

You've undoubtedly seen movies highlighting the atrocities of the German Nazis. Now, we have a movie shining the spotlight on the Germans who tried to stop one of history's most feared factions.

Tom Cruise tackles the role of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a countryman who realizes the only way to restore Germany's reputation in the world is to assassinate the Fuhrer. Stauffenburg emerges from a role on the battle lines in North Africa (where he's seriously injured) to a position labeled as "the hope of Germany" by one character.

The movie doesn't focus on why the Nazis were bad for Germany; the film presumes you know that. Instead, it's all about a group of grave German's devising the battle plan to win their country back. Though a drama, the movie transforms into a thriller. Director Bryan Singer manages to keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats wondering what might happen next...when we all know what the outcome will be.

The rough patch in this movie for me was the emotional impact. Anyone who knows a little history knows someone dies when the Titanic sinks, not everyone's going to walk away from Pearl Harbor, and it won't end well for the Hitler conspirators. While I prefer the emotional impact of the other films, we instead received a rerun of the Last Samurai. In fact, you could probably confuse the two pictures at times if you listened instead of watching them.

That being said, you'll walk away with a good feeling....knowing that not everyone in Germany drank Hitler's Kool-Aid. And, there were at least 5 men were brave enough to do something about it.