Chuck and Michael take a look at Australia, Gran Torino, Seven Pounds, Milk and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Plus their Top 5 War Movies of all time. LISTEN HERE
Movies in the news: Twilight vs Harry Potter, Star Trek and Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. Chuck and Michael’s Top 5 Westerns. LISTEN HERE and let us know what you want to hear about. email Chuck
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What looks to be a compelling crime drama set in the streets of Boston’s southie neighborhood opens Dec 12 in a limited release. Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac) and Ethan Hawke (Training Day) star as two friends on the wrong side of the law. Take a LOOK
Gran Torino BUZZ, What’s up with Benjamin Button’s marketing CAMPAIGN and an UPDATE on another Planet of Apes film over at FOX
Reactions in early press screenings to Clint Eastwood’s GRAN TORINO have been very positive. The reviewers have put the spotlight on Eastwood’s performance, which could result in a Best Actor nomination come Oscar time. While Clint has won Two Oscars for directing and two for producing, the legendary icon has never taken one home for acting. So far, two of the early frontrunners for acting nods are Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler and Sean Penn for Milk. Considering Eastwood has been acting for 53 years this certainly would be a great ‘icing on the cake’ story if he wins. If Eastwood, Rourke and Heath Ledger all get Oscar nominations the Academy Award telecast could be something very special indeed.
I find it interesting that Paramount keeps changing things up with their marketing campaign for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film, which has received a lot of Oscar buzz, has a different feel every time I see a new trailer. There have been at least 5 different trailers cut, with a few of those having totally different music. It feels like the studio is nervous on how to sell it best. Brad Pitt stars as a man that ages backwards and David Fincher (Zodiac) directs but, going by the trailers, it feels like a Tim Burton movie.
Fox production executive, Tom Rothman, confirmed during the PLANET OF THE APES movie marathon this Thanksgiving that the studio is developing a script for a new Apes film that will be set on earth in 2009. This would back up reports last month that some sort of re-imagining of the 4th apes film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, is planned. Personally I think the studio should leave well enough alone. The reason the original franchise worked so well was the element of surprise. Like all great sci-fi, the viewer needs to experience something they haven’t seen before. A few terrific twist and turns thrown in for good measure can’t hurt either. Since the original series did this in spades, it’s hard to justify remaking the same ideas because the audience will know what’s coming. While Tim Burton’s remake was watchable, it couldn’t hold a candle to the Charlton Heston classic as there was nothing new for the viewer to discover. The original 1968 film’s script, direction and star were also superior in every way to what Burton delivered to a new generation. It’s safe to say the same fate would fall on any new Apes film. Fans of the original movies will see what’s coming a mile a way and it’s doubtful it can be presented any better.
According to comingsoon.net, 20th Century Fox has confirmed that the first coming attraction trailer for its X-Men origins: WOLVERINE movie will hit theaters with the studio’s holiday tent pole film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL on Dec 12. The trailer will not debut online or on television until later down the road. There was a trailer to Wolverine shown at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego and I wasn’t impressed. While I like Hugh Jackman and hope the film is good, I have serious doubts that this stand alone spin-off to the X-Men franchise can really work based on the footage shown at Comic-Con. As for the Day the Earth Stood Still, It looks to be a thinking person’s sci-fi film since this Keanu Reeves vehicle hasn’t stirred up much enthusiasm among fan boys on the net. Still I think it will do solid business.
HBO’s vampire series, FIRST BLOOD, concluded its first season on Sunday night. Overall I would call the Alan Ball show a creative success as it really put an interesting spin on vampire lore. Quirky, unpredictable and really weird at times, the show got better week after week, becoming a must-watch for me. I’m really looking forward to the second season next summer since it left off with an interesting cliffhanger involving one of the shows best characters.
I also thoroughly enjoyed this season of ENTOURAGE. I thought the overall storyline line, mostly involving the career downfall of the Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) character, was pretty compelling. The show also had some blisteringly funny moments, mostly involving the Ari Gold character once again played brilliantly by Jeremy Piven. While these two programs gave viewers a reason to tune into HBO, the ratings are a far cry from its landmark THE SOPRANOS, a program the pay cable giant misses greatly.
As of the 25th, YouTube expanded their standard video window size to a 640 x 360 widescreen look. It’s a nice improvement.
LionsGate will have to hope they get a decent opening weekend out of its PUNISHER WARZONE when it hits theaters Dec 12. The troubled film has had bad buzz for months after firing its director. Even worse, the marketing department can’t even cut a compelling trailer – always a sign the final product is just terrible. Even though I didn’t think the 2004 PUNISHER was a great film, I still enjoyed it. THOMAS JANE was solid in the lead and JOHN TRAVOLTA hammed it up pretty good as the film’s villain. Jane wanted to come back for the sequel but left the project once he read the script. This is now a franchise that will certainly be put to rest as the character is not viable enough for another re-boot any time in the near future.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT (HitMan, Live Free or Die Hard) has signed on to star in the remake of George Romero’s THE CRAZIES. The story is about a small town beset by death and insanity after a plane crashes and releases a secret biological weapon into the water supply. Olyphant will play the town sheriff. In this case I like the idea of a remake. While I love Romero’s original zombie trilogy, his version of the Crazies wasn’t a great film. Romero’s 1973 original was shot on a budget of just $275,000 and its storytelling was suspect at best. The concept is pure B-movie and the casting of Olyphant as the remake’s lead only solidifies that fact. I look forward to seeing what they do with this material. Breck Eisner (Sahara) will helm the project.
Warner Bros has started running ads in Trades to get the late HEATH LEDGER a much deserved Oscar nomination as best supporting actor for his AMAZING turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. I’m hoping all academy voting members are on the same page and vote for Heath as a supporting actor. In 1989 Jack Nicholson, who appeared to be a shoo-in for his Joker in Tim Burton’s BATMAN, did not get nominated. Upon reflection, many speculate that some voting members cast ballots for Jack as best actor, while others voted for him as best supporting actor, thus splitting the overall vote and canceling out his chances for a nomination in either category. I hope this doesn’t happen this time around. VIEW this terrific ad, courtesy of batman-on-film.com
If someone had told me that a film which featured vampires would have a huge opening weekend, I might have believed it, but if they told me that 75% of its total audience would be female, I would have been mighty surprised. Well that was the case with TWILIGHT, the new feature film based on a series of wildly popular novels by Stephanie Meyers about a forbidding love between a brooding vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and a teenage high school girl, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Its $70,553,000 box-office take was better than expected and, for the third time this year, showed that the female demographic can be a powerful force if presented with the right product. This same audience made big hits out of Sex in the City and Mamma Mia.
The critic-proof Twilight, which was produced for $37,000,000, immediately put its production company, Summit Entertainment, on the map. This film is only the sixth the company has produced in their short existence which began in April 2007. Summit seems to be in great shape having just announced plans this weekend to go ahead and produce the next book in the series, titled NEW MOON. Twilight also represents the best opening weekend for any film directed by a woman (Catherine Hardwicke). The previous record was Mimi Leder who helmed Deep Impact back in 1998. It pulled in 41,100,000. Here’s the weekend’s TOP TEN
Not only is the CW’s SMALLVILLE performing well in the ratings (almost 5 million views a week) this year but, creatively, the program is back on track. The decision by the new production team to focus on the budding romance between Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark (Tom Welling) has been a smart move as their chemistry is really good. The addition of Justin Hartley as a series regular playing Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow has also worked out well. I fully expect the low rated network to keep the show going after this season.
Season three of Showtime’s DEXTER is shaping up to be as good as one and two. The writers have really used JIMMY SMITS to full effect, taking his DA character, Miguel Prado, and creating something I never would have expected after his introduction in the first couple of episodes. The writers of Dexter deserve a lot of credit as they continue to fascinate. Dexter is as good as it gets when it comes to quality television.
Here’s a look at the newest promotional poster and trailer to ABC’s LOST which returns for its 5th season on Jan 21, 2009. Also television at its finest! View TRAILER