Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Grossing Actors of 2010

Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, Nos. 9 and 10
Two box office hits are putting Leonardo DiCaprio at the top of "Forbes" magazine's year-end list of the Top Grossing Actors of 2010.

Citing his star turns in the hit films "Shutter Island" and "Inception," "Forbes" says DiCaprio was the multi-million-dollar leading man when it came to movie ticket sales this year.

Combined, both films made a whopping $1.1 billion at the global box office.

Johnny Depp tied for second place on the "Forbes" list with his "Alice In Wonderland" co-star Mia Wasikowska. In addition to "Alice," which earned a little over $1 billion, Depp got credit for his film "The Tourist." Wasikowska's appearance in the critically-acclaimed "The Kids Are All Right" also helped her to the second place ranking.

Robert Downey Jr. ranked fourth with $808 million thanks to his appearances in "Iron Man 2" and "Due Date."

"Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe finished in fifth place on the list with the blockbuster "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" having earned $780 million so far at the global box office.

"Forbes" magazine's list of the Top Grossing Actors Of 2010 based on global box office results:

1. Leonardo DiCaprio ("Shutter Island," "Inception") -- $1.1 Billion
2. Mia Wasikowska -- ("Alice In Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right") -- $1.03 Billion
3. Johnny Depp -- ("Alice In Wonderland," "The Tourist") -- $1.03 Billion
4. Robert Downey, Jr. -- ("Iron Man 2," "Due Date") -- $808 Million
5. Daniel Radcliffe -- ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows") -- $780 Million
6. Robert Pattinson -- ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "Remember Me") -- $749 Million
7. Kristin Stewart -- ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "The Runaways") -- $698 Million
8. Sam Worthington -- ("Clash Of The Titans") -- $494 Million
9. Jaden Smith -- ("The Karate Kid") -- $359 Million
10. Jackie Chan -- ("The Karate Kid") -- $359 Million

Reported by VERTEXNews

Monday, November 15, 2010

Morning Glory

written by KTAB Daybreak anchor Ron Rosseau

My wife and I went to see a silly new date movie over the weekend. Morning Glory is one of those romantic comedies that are usually very forgettable. This one was a little different for me. First, Harrison Ford is in it. Second, it was set is a morning TV news broadcast. It was pure, escapist fiction...but there were several scenes that made me laugh out loud, and I was the only one the theater laughing. The alarm going off in the middle of the night was all too recognizable. The anchor waking up just in time to pretend to be alertly reading the teleprompter script and the youthful exuberance about the importance of the job were certainly close to reality. The deadline of the clock and the concern about the stories in the stack are real. Both led to some funny and recognizable scenes. The problems with individual egos were exaggerated, but certainly part of the business. It was set in New York, and the concerns about tenths of a rating point and the concerns about the most minute of details remind me of why we stay here in Abilene. My wife enjoyed it for different reasons. She was probably laughing more at me than at the screen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception: You won't be disappointed!

(Make the headline "You won't be disappointed unless the movie stops during the climax and it takes 10 minutes to get the audio back on so you miss the most important part." Thanks, Century 12.)

Inception was extremely creative, well-written, and well-directed. Many times I find myself in a movie judging the special effects or looking at holes in the plot, but I was immersed in this story from start to finish. Well, except for the aforementioned snafu.

The movie's idea is really complicated, but can be broken down like this: We can't really control our dreams, so if someone were to share a dream with us we'd be vulnerable to him or her discovering our thoughts, desires, personal information, etc. "Inception" means taking it one step further and planting an idea in someone's head during a dream so that they think it's an original idea of theirs.

I'm a vivid dreamer. I think it's probably a poor sleep issue, but I can wake up and tell you everything that happened in my dream, although trying to describe it in normal terms is almost always impossible. I think that's why I liked this movie so much! It takes all the strangeness of a dream and turns it into a plot.

(Yes, I know The Wizard of Oz did that 75 years ago)

I'm also capable of understanding that I'm dreaming, so I can take my dreams "to the next level" so to speak, and manipulate what's happening based on knowing there will be no consequences when I wake up. I also have dreams within dreams. I'll wake up from a dream, go get ready for work, then wake up again and realize I never actually got ready. So the fact that this "two-level dream" was glorified in the movie made me feel like I was special. :)

Ok, I've been writing for 10 minutes and know there's no way I'd be able to properly review this movie, so thanks for listening to me ramble, and GO SEE INCEPTION! Or, if you felt differently about it, please comment!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Conan's Tonight Show gets Emmy nod

Yeah this is a movie blog, but let's throw some TV in here too!

Reported by: VERTEXNews

The nominees for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced.

The hit Fox musical comedy "Glee" is among the nominee leaders this year with 19 nods.

AMC's "Mad Men" is also vying for multiple honors with 17 Emmy nominations.

Leading all nominees this year, however, is the HBO World War II mini-series "The Pacific" which nabbed 24 nods.

Acting nominations in the drama categories went to "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall for "Dexter," Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife" and Glenn Close for "Damages," among others.

Nominated comedy actors include Steve Carell of "The Office," Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock," Amy Poehler for "Parks and Recreation" and Lea Michele in "Glee."

In an interesting turn, short-lived "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien earned his first and only Emmy nomination for his work on the NBC late night talk show from which he was unceremoniously dumped earlier this year. O'Brien's "Tonight Show" predecessor -- and successor -- Jay Leno was not nominated. In January, NBC bought O'Brien out of his contract with the network to make room for Leno's return as host of the "Tonight Show." The move came just seven months after Leno handed the show off to O'Brien after a 17-year run as host. O'Brien will have a new show on TBS beginning in November.

Awards for television's highest honors will be presented during a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles on August 29th.

NBC will air the ceremony live.

Here is a partial list of this year's Primetime Emmy nominees
  • Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • True Blood (HBO)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Glee (Fox)
  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
  • The Office (NBC)
  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Amazing Race (CBS)
  • American Idol (FOX)
  • Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
  • Project Runway (Bravo)
  • Top Chef (Bravo)
  • Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor - Friday Night Lights (NBC)
  • Bryan Cranston as Walt White - Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • Matthew Fox as Jack Shepard - Lost (ABC)
  • Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan - Dexter (Showtime)
  • Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House - House (FOX)
  • Connie Britton as Tami Taylor - Friday Night Lights (NBC)
  • Glenn Close as Patty Hewes - Damages (FX Networks)
  • Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
  • January Jones as Betty Draper - Mad Men (AMC)
  • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick - The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson - The Closer (TNT)
  • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy - 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Larry David as Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Steve Carell as Michael Scott - The Office (NBC)
  • Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester - Glee (Fox)
  • Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk - Monk (USA)
  • Toni Collette as Tara Gregson - United States of Tara (Showtime)
  • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon - 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton - Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
  • Lea Michele as Rachel Berry - Glee (Fox)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell - The New Adventures Of Old Christine (CBS)
  • Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope - Parks and Recreation" (NBC)
  • The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
  • The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
  • Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien (NBC)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 17th, 1994

Written by Mark Moseley

As much as I love being a part of "The Media", I love things that pick at, make fun of, or otherwise deconstruct the news business. I watch "The Daily Show" every night, and I subscribe to the hilarious Fake AP Stylebook Twitter feed. It is for that reason that I absolutely loved the ESPN documentary "June 17th, 1994", part of the network's "30 for 30" series.

If there's one thing we in The Media love, it's a good storyline. And on June 17th, 1994, the sports world was rife with potentially great storylines. Some of them played out exactly like The Media wanted them to, others, very differently.

Among the planned, scripted storylines:

-Arnold Palmer's final round at the U.S. Open. It was a farewell to a legend of the game. Palmer shot an abysmal +16, but received more applause and adoration than any other golfer that day. The raw emotion from his first post-round interview left his completely speechless.
-Ken Griffey, Jr. tied Babe Ruth for the fastest to reach 30 home runs in a season. A great feat, but an ultimately pointless one; MLB shut down two months later after players went on strike, and Junior never got his shot to break Roger Maris' then-single season HR record.
-The New York Rangers celebrated their first Stanley Cup win in more than half a century as only a New York team could: with a massive ticker tape parade in Manhattan. A little kid, no more than age 8, summed it the fans' thirst for a winner perfectly by saying, "Now I can die in peace."
-The capper was supposed to be New York Knicks vs. Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. As we see in the parade footage, Rangers fans were just as excited about a potential Knicks championship (They didn't get it; Houston won in 7).

But then came O.J.

Orenthal James Simpson had already been in the news following the brutal murders of his ex-wife and her friend. On June 17th, murder charges were officially filed against O.J., setting off one of the most surreal media frenzies we will ever see.

"June 17th, 1994" deftly follows the media's bloodlust for new Simpson information, and weaves in a lot of peripheral stuff 99% of us forgot. Example: CNN had to retract a report that a second suspect was sought in the murders. And does anyone remember Robert Kardashian, the father of three reality TV star daughters, reading O.J.'s apparent suicide note?

Of course no one remembers these things. Why? Because just hours later, O.J. and his buddy, A.C. (YOU KNOW WHO HE IS, G**DAMMIT!) led Los Angeles police on the unforgettable White Bronco chase.

The most fascinating part to me, as a news producer, was watching the events of the evening as they unfolded on NBC, which was obligated to carry the basketball game. Raw footage never before seen on TV shows the inimitable Bob Costas agonizing over the transition between Simpson coverage and basketball coverage ("It sounds so callous," Costas says to his producer). I don't know what the other networks were running that night, but they must have had no problem cutting into programming to show The Chase. It instantly took the Simpson story from interesting to the most fascinating real-life drama most people had seen in years, if not decades. And it played out before everyone live on TV.

As a producer, I can almost feel what it was like for the NBC brass. They must have been squirming in their chairs, knowing they had to stay on the game, while they kept a close eye on that white Bronco moving oh-so-slowly down the 405. Remember, O.J. had a gun to his head, and it was widely known that he wanted to take his own life that night.

Of course, he didn't, and we all know what happened in the days, weeks, months, and years after that. The iconic OJ murder trial (which also played out before our eyes on live TV), the sudden thirst for reality-based programming on TV, the creation of Court TV, the celebrity-obsessed culture we currently live in... a lot of it can be traced back to June 17th, 1994.

This movie does a fantastic job of weaving in and out of the sports stories mentioned above with the ever-increasing interest in the Simpson story. Watching this film, you can almost draw an ascending straight line charting how intense the story became as the day wore on: police name O.J. as the primary suspect, O.J. agrees to turn himself in, O.J. goes missing, lawyers read his supposed suicide note, then the Bronco chase.

Without the usual talking heads or narration we normally see in a documentary, "June 17th, 1994" shatters the notion that we can predetermine the outcome of any given story. After all, this is real life we're talking about here, not some trashy TV soap opera.


If you saw the Bronco chase, you probably remember where you were. I was only 8, but I remember well: I was at my grandmother's house, with her and my dad. I had no earthly idea who O.J. Simpson was, or for that matter, what was going on, but I couldn't look away from Memaw's old TV. Do you remember that day? If so, where were you?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

50 Cent loses 60 pounds for role

I write this blog because people in our newsroom haven't stopped talking about it.

50 Cent has shed 60 pounds to play the role of a cancer patient in a movie he wrote himself.

I don't know a lot about 50 Cent's (Curtis Jackson's) usual size, other than he's extremely muscular, but I've read today that he's usually the size of a linebacker.

So how did he do it? A liquid diet and three hours a day on a treadmill, Entertainment Weekly reports.

He went from 240 pounds to 160 pounds.

The movie, Things Fall Apart, is about a college football player who is diagnosed with cancer. There's no word on whether this movie will hit theaters. But I imagine this picture posted on 50's Twitter, Facebook, and his own website is helping generate buzz.

Do you want to see it now?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shrek The Final Chapter

Me, my date and my dog packed up in the car and headed to Abilene's Town and Country Drive-In to watch "Shrek the Final Chapter," also known as "Shrek Forever After," or just plain "Shrek 4" (which is much faster to type).

I don't think I ever saw "Shrek the Third" but I didn't need to. The plot picks up with Shrek and Fiona at home with their little one-year-old ogre babies, and all the familiar characters are there.

Now, believe it or not, I'm an adult writing from an adult's perspective. The movie was funny, but not as funny as the first two. Or maybe it just wasn't a fresh funny. I'm sure kids would get a kick out of it no matter what.

Folks, if you don't want to be lost like I was, brush up on your fairy tales! I'm sure a lot of the jokes went right over my head because it's been a while since Hans Christian Andersen and I cuddled up in bed together.

Rumpelstiltskin (or Mr. Stiltskin as he prefers to be called) was an appropriately hateable character. I just wish a more famous actor had done the voice. The voice was that of Walt Dohrn, who was apparently a writer for Shreks 3 & 4. Wouldn't it have been better to have Steve Buscemi or Rainn Wilson? You could take the stance of some critics who say it's fantastic that a behind-the-scenes guy with great acting skills was given a big break, but I don't know, I'd rather be more entertained.

The story has a great moral: "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone," and an even greater soundtrack. And by soundtrack, I mean songs in the movie, not songs on the album. I checked and the album doesn't have the best ones. It just has Shake Your Groove Thing, Lionel Ritchie's Hello, and Top of the World by the Carpenters with a few more originals and covers.

Since I went to the drive-in, I didn't remember that it was available in 3-D. Here's an interesting point from one of the Facebook fans of Abilene Midday:
  • It was a wonderful movie and well-worth going to see. but they had too many showings of the 3D but only 1 showing of the 2D here in Abilene. There is very little difference between 3D and 2D and the price difference is just too much. Too many people are out of work and are scrimping and saving their money.
Sorry, I feel like this review is a little all over the place. But, then again, so is an animated film about dragons and ginger bread cookies and cats wearing boots.

Soon I'll write another blog about Town & Country!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eclipse Movie Trailer

The trailer debuted on Oprah today, and hit EclipseMovie.org shortly later. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Clash of the Titans: 3 ½ out of 5

By: Chelsea Delz

I recently saw the latest rendition of the 1980s cult classic Clash of the Titans, but don’t be fooled because even though both films share the same title it does not mean they share the same story.

This is the story of Perseus (Sam Worthington). Perseus is ready to take on the Gods after Hades (Ralph Fiennes) kills his family. Little does he know that he is actually a demi-god and the son of Zeus, (Liam Neeson) king of the Gods.

Perseus then realizes it’s his destiny to rescue the city of Argos from Hades and the Kraken. He organizes a group of soldiers and heads out on his quest to “Find and fulfill your destiny,” Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus Clash of the Titans 1981.

Honestly, I enjoyed this version but I am a huge fan of the original so I have to say it was not as good as its predecessor. I think the thing that bothered me the most about this film was there was no love story and the original was a big love story. Perseus’s love for Andromeda was what sent him on his journey to save the city of Argos. It was also Andromeda’s former suitor that was one of Perseus’s major foes, unlike in the new film.

I also missed the usage of the other Gods and Goddesses. In the 80s version we saw and heard from almost all of them, but in this one they were merely there as part of the ambiance.

Plus, I did miss the campiness of the first one with the giant birds, the original Kraken, and Bubo the golden owl. What happened to Bubo?

However, this was definitely an action packed film that kept you jumping in your seat with excitement. I am giving this remake 3 ½ out of 5. Overall it was a great action fill and I think if I had not seen the original I would have loved this one even more than I do now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - Curiouser and curiouser…

by: Erin Stephens

This was my first 3-D experience and I couldn’t have chosen a better film. Needless to say Tim Burton (director) set the bar high, Alice in Wonderland was a joy to experience. The film is not a duplicate of the book or animated feature. The story follows nineteen-year-old Alice as she flees from the expectations of her friends and family, only to find herself in Wonderland where she has new expectations to live up to and different things pulling her in all directions, literally and figuratively. Burton did not disappoint, his style and aesthetic definitely was enhanced by the 3-D technology. The scenes were extremely fresh; the colors in the wardrobe, make-up and setting were rich and bright creating the perfect template for experiencing the wonderment of Wonderland.

The movie did not follow any stories previously written, this was an excellent way to use the already developed characters to build a new story for all to enjoy. However for the viewers that have read Lewis Carroll’s works, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, can be assured that the essence of the stories are still intact. The film incorporated aspects of the books into the storyline, such as the Jabberwocky, which gave it a genuine feel. Also, the characters from the novels were authentically portrayed. The film did a wonderful job of developing the characters, especially Alice, in a way that seemed seamless and effortless, as well as true to the character created by Carroll. The essence of the story, as well as the masterful directing, created the perfect base for a marvelously artful film. But, it would not have been complete without the great performances by the entire cast. Every player portrayed their character with such mastery I could write pages on each performance, however, I will limit myself to the exceptional ones.

Between Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter) and Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), I’m not sure which one stole more scenes. Both were so engrossed in their characters they were almost unrecognizable. Depp was phenomenal, from his hair and make-up (which changed colors!) to his swinging pendulum of emotional outburst he WAS the Mad Hatter. He created a character that was kooky and endearing all at once, you will want to keep from blinking, so not to miss a moment of him. Bonham Carter brings the same type of an all-encompassing performance in her portrayal of the Red Queen. The viewers are torn between pity and disgust as she tyrannically rules Wonderland in her efforts to find adoration from her subjects. Anne Hathaway played the other royal character, the White Queen, she moved and spoke with such an extreme amount of grace and sweetness it was completely whimsical, almost overwhelmingly so. As for Alice, newcomer Mia Wasikowska effortlessly portrayed her as the curious, questioning, presumptuous girl that was created by Carroll. Her frankness and stubbornness was ideal, as well as cleverly placed and disturbed throughout the film in order to fully develop her character. Also, all of the voice actors were perfectly cast and articulated beautifully.

Overall, this was a great film, plain and simple. Tim Burton took a classic story of silliness and nonsense and transformed it into a film that is not only pleasing to the eye and entertaining, but kept the heart of Lewis Carroll’s story beating. The idea that thinking differently and seeing things for not what they are, but what they could be, can be extremely rewarding.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shutter Island - You'll never leave this island

by: Erin Stephens

I love to watch all types of movies, but I especially love the movies that require a second watch in order to be truly appreciated. Shutter Island is definitely one of those films! It’s set in 1954 and follows two US Federal Marshals as they investigate the disappearance of a patient in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. Martin Scorsese (director) is a master behind the camera. He created elegantly intense scenes using simple, but unique camera angles, coupled with an astounding musical score that kept the viewers on the edge of their seats from the first frame.There was an air of mystery woven through out the film, the audience kept questioning what was truth, what was a ploy, who do you believe? Teddy Daniels (Leonard DiCaprio), the protagonist, seemed to be the only person that the viewers could ultimately trust, because the story was being told from his perspective. He took the audience on a quest through the vast grounds of the island, from trekking in the wilderness to lurking through the halls of the fortified ward C. The scenery and extensive details to the set strengthen the film, especially in coordination with the perfectly articulated script. Another aspect of the film that added mystery were Daniels’ memory flashes. They were artfully placed and assisted in the unfolding of the twisted plot.

As for the acting performances, DiCaprio was amazing! His portrayal of the tormented US Marshal Daniels was phenomenal. He developed a bond of trust through acts of genuine sincerity for justice and morality. This was a crucial part of film. The other notable performance was Sir Ben Kingsley as Dr. Crawley. He created a man with such smooth, suave charisma he was almost untrustworthy, however he had enough compassion and care for his patients the viewers want to believe and trust him.

This film was definitely created for a viewer that appreciates the see-saw of emotions as well as the opportunity to generated a load of conspiracy theories on how the plot will pan out. It will most assuredly keep you guessing and questioning while on the edge of your seat holding your breath! It is Scorsese, so there is a bit of vulgar language and some graphic scenes. Overall, it is a MUST watch film!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seeking local movie critics!

Many professional critics get to see movies for free... But we don't! Which means our Movie Madness blog has been bare lately.

If you would like to submit a movie review at any time, email it to lkellerman@bigcountryhomepage.com.

No reviews will be accepted more than two weeks after the movie's release date. All ages are welcome to participate. The decision to publish or not publish a submission is strictly up to our discretion.