10. WATCHMEN- I never read the graphic novel and the trailer doesn’t look overly exciting, but I’m still totally intrigued by the hype!
9. LAND OF THE LOST- While I’m against turning the material into a comedy, I’m still interested in seeing what Will Ferrell does with the concept as I was a fan of this 70’s Saturday morning TV show.
8. ANGELS AND DEMONS- I never read The Divinci Code so I actually enjoyed the movie. Have a feeling Howard and Hanks will please everyone this time around.
7. PUBLIC ENEMIES- Michael Mann’s take on the notorious 1930’s gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Christian Bale and Johnny Depp star!
6. TERMINATOR SALVATION- I love sci-fi and this franchise. While this installment has a decidedly different feel than the first three, I’ll still be there on opening day. Will Arnold make a cameo? Rumor has it, it’s a possibility!
5. FRIDAY THE 13th- Lets face it, this franchise, along with Jason, is one that will never really die! While I know that this remake will never have the shock factor of the 1980 original, I’m still very interested in seeing it.
4. STAR TREK- In JJ Abrams we trust. While I’m not the biggest of trek fans, I do believe Abrams will deliver a quality product that will broaden the scope from its loyal but stagnant fanbase.
3. 2012- I LOVE the disaster genre. Roland Emmerich brings us his take on the end of the world in a film that features tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Woody Harrelson should make for a solid cast.
2. TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE- The original 1973 film, starring Walter Mathau and Robert Shaw, was one of that decades best and a classic. Very few films captured the feeling of NYC the way that movie does. While I like the idea of Denzel Washington in the Matthau role of transit detective, I’m not as fond of seeing John Travolta in the Shaw role as the villain who takes over a NYC subway train and hold the passengers hostage. He’s just way overexposed doing the bad guy thing at least five times too many! Still I’m curious what director Tony Scott will create with this redo.
1. TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN- Transformers was my favorite summer movie of 2007. Yes I’m a Michael Bay fan!
Based on newspaper columnist John Grogan’s best selling book about his life, Marley & Me is a winning story of a married couple who wind up owning one of the most undisciplined destructive canines imaginable. While I can’t speak for non-dog lovers, I found Marley & Me to be an entertaining and moving movie that should pull in sizeable loot at the box-office. The story follows newlyweds John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) Grogan who pick out the seemingly adorable Marley from a pen of lab puppies at a discount price. As it turns out, it’s far from a steal.
From the get go it’s apparent that the dog is untrainable as he proceeds to maul, chew and stampede everything in his sight. Marley disobeying a dog trainer (Kathleen Turner, looking less than flattering) and doing his business on the beach are two of the movie’s funnier moments. Still, John and Jenny embrace him as they eventually start to build a family. As time goes by, John and Jenny change jobs, have more kids and move to new places. All while Marley remains a constant fixture in their lives – they love him despite his incorrigible behavior. While his actions continue to be frustrating and somewhat destructive he never the less remains a likeable lug.
Despite the way the film has been marketed, Marley is not always the story’s sole center of attention. Great detail goes into the Grogan’s relationship and John’s work life. This is handled in a fairly realistic way, showing the ups and downs of life and the chemistry between the two leads, which is really good. Owen Wilson is easily one of the most likable personalities in movies today and his casting is a big reason why this film works as well as it does. Alan Arkin, who plays Grogan’s eternally dry but highly likeable editor and Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy), who plays John’s journalist buddy, also add a lot to the film. Movies like Marley & Me will always have their distracters, with some crying emotional manipulation but I disagree! While the last 20 minutes is a true tear jerker, it certainly rings true. I, like so many others, have lost a dog and the movie ending is the way it usually plays out. While movies can stimulate many emotions like happiness and laughter, sadness is also a necessary outlet and healthy to explore. The film deals with that issue in an honest way as it explores the reality of Marley in his later years and his passing. I believe a good cry is a healthy thing and I never felt manipulated in the least. While parents might want to keep very young kids away (personally I don’t think they should), Marley & Me was an interesting journey well worth taking. While not a great film, it is a solid one that I was totally involved in and touched by. I certainly recommend it. 3.5 Zombies out of 5.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OUR READERS AND LISTENERS FROM ENTERTAINMENT TODAY AND BEYOND
ALSO A HAPPY HOLIDAY SHOUT OUT FROM
Universal has released the poster to its summer release of LAND OF THE LOST. While the poster is fairly cool, the direction of this project is not! There’s no doubt that the original 1970’s Saturday morning television show was cheesy, but it was NOT a comedy. The concept about a modern day family transported back into prehistoric times actually had some solid Sci-fi themes and was an entertaining program that I used to watch religiously when I was a little kid. Will Ferrell obviously felt the concept would play well for laughs, so he hijacked the property. Personally, I’d rather see a film version played straight that respects the source material. This is one of the reasons I hate Ben Stiller’s Starsky and Hutch. Ferrell’s take on The Land of the Lost opens June 5, 2009. Poster comes courtesy of Cinematical
10. TRUE BLOOD- HBO’s vampire series was as wacky a show as I’ve seen all year, and I say that in a good way. I look forward to Season Two.
9. FX channel- With shows like Nip Tuck, Rescue Me, Damages and The Shield, the basic cable network has become a force to be reckoned with!
8. 90210- While NOT quite as good as the original Beverly Hills 90210, it’s not the disaster many predicted. It’s actually very watchable entertainment that should get better as it goes along.
7. SMALLVILLE- The long running program has received a nice creative rebound this season. The new focus on the budding romantic relationship between Lois and Clark has put renewed energy into the show. Personally, I think Tom Welling would make a great big screen man of steel.
6. BROTHERS AND SISTERS- Not since Knots Landing in the 1980’s has Television seen such fun nighttime guilty pleasure. Sally Field and the rest of the cast have chemistry in spades. My only question is – how many family dinners can these characters have?
5. GREYS ANATOMY- For the record, I still like the show, but in many aspects it’s jumped the shark. Already this season we’ve seen a main character sleeping with a ghost and interns operating on each other. Bizarre stuff indeed. Not to mention the behind the scenes unhappiness of a few of their high profile cast members. Still, its one of televisions biggest hits, attracting more than 15 million viewers a week!
4. JAY LENO- The announcement of a 5 night a week 10 PM timeslot for Leno starting next year was not only a shocker, but proof network executives are grasping at straws to solve their ratings erosion problem.
3. DEXTER- For the third straight year this Showtime program continued to WOW. The addition of Jimmy Smits was a brilliant move as his star power proved to work beautifully against our serial killer hero, Dexter Morgan’s, quiet confidence. Michael C. Hall continues to be a revelation in the title role.
2. LOST- If there is a show with writers that have more imagination that these guys please let me know. I continue to be amazed at how they keep the program fascinating each and every episode. Quality that should be applauded.
1. NETWORK RATINGS- Quite simply, they continue to slide. With competition from cable (both basic and pay) and the internet, network ratings continue to slide. The Leno move is the first real sign that Executives are throwing up the red flag with no answer in sight!
10. MICKEY ROURKE- When Nicolas Cage dropped out of Darren Aronosky’s “The Wrestler,” Mickey Rourke filled in. While not many people thought much of it at the time, it now appears Rourke will play a big part come Oscar night. A really good story!
9. THE HAPPENING- Not only the year’s worst film, but it solidified the staggering fall of director/writer M. Night Shyamalan. How could the same guy who conceived The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable be reduced to such utter silliness. I hope he bounces back!
8. HUGH JACKMAN AS HOST OF OSCARS- While I’m a Jackman fan, I feel the Academy is going in the wrong direction here. For me it’s always been about the opening monologue. With Jackman as host there won’t be any!
7. TWILIGHT- The film version of the best selling novel fancied by teen girls, is a huge worldwide smash. It appears a new franchise has been born. The sequel NEW MOON starts filming in March!
6. CLOVERFIELD- No other main stream movie divided audiences like this one. The JJ Abrams produced film about a Godzilla-like monster that wrecks havoc in NYC, seen through the eyes of a hand held camera, had people loving it or hating it! I loved it! Its 9/11 type feel gives it great power! A fascinating movie.
5. THE REMAKES KEEP COMING- It seems like every week a Studio is announcing a remake of an old favorite. Already announced, Romancing the Stone, Arthur, They Live, and Old Boy to name a few, and those in just the last month. It’s an epidemic that won’t end until every film ever made is eventually redone. Don’t laugh – it will happen.
4. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL- 19 years for this! A massive disappointment as the film has little of the magic of the original trilogy. Spielberg and Lucas should hand the reins over to a new creative team. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but I am.
3. ROBERT DOWNEY JR- Entertainment Weekly named Downey Jr. its entertainer of the year. It’s hard to argue against that pick as the guy scored big with turns in Iron Man (his charm elevated that pic to much greater heights) and Tropic Thunder (blisteringly funny as an Australian actor portraying a black soldier). Once in the toilet, his career couldn’t be any hotter!
2. THE DARK KNIGHT- I never would have believed that a Batman film could do almost a billion dollars in ticket-sales worldwide, as I always felt that the material’s dark sensibilities would restrict that kind of mass interest. Well, when you produce a film this great, you do draw a crowd! Despite flaws in the last half hour this is head and shoulders above any superhero film ever made! Something really special indeed. The Academy will do itself a disservice if there’s no best picture nomination.
1. HEATH LEDGER- The year’s saddest story. While one could argue that his death was senseless (and it was) it was also one of the most stunning in quite some time. I remember going on the Drudge Report and seeing a tease headline that read Heath Ledger found… I clicked on and it read Heath Ledger found Dead. I must say I was shocked. Being a big Batman fan, and knowing he had completed his role as the Joker, it was beyond surreal. After seeing The Dark Knight I honestly never thought he had that in him. He was brilliant, giving a performance for the ages. He will be missed.
Fox has released a first look trailer to its sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Ben Stiller once again returns as the bumbling night watchman who comes across a whole new group of crazy characters. While the first Night at the Museum was a passable entertainment, it was nothing overly memorable. It was more Jumanji than Jurassic Park. Hopefully this follow-up will be much better. It looks like FUN. This all new adventure co-starring Jonah Hill, Amy Adams, Bill Hader and Owen Wilson hits theaters May 22, 2009.