Friday, October 31, 2008

Let The Right One In

Photo: still from Let The Right One In

Apple has an exclusive clip from 'Let The Right One In'. Creepy in a way Hollywood can't do.


Photo: Nicole Kidman from Elle Magazine

If you're a fan, Elle has an interview with Nicole Kidman.

"Let me tell you what's really good here," Kidman says without glancing at the grease board behind her. "Fried okra, crab cakes, sweet potatoes, poppy seed chicken--my favorite--turnip greens, blackberry cobbler..."


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Valkyrie Pics

Photo: still from Valkyrie

Photo: still from Valkyrie

Photo: still from Valkyrie

New Trailer

Here's the new extended trailer for 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'. Looks good -- I'm not liking Gort that much, though.


The International

Photo: International poster

What to say about this one. Title, not good. What's that supposed to mean to anybody? It conveys nothing conceptual that can be associated with plot elements -- not without convoluted analysis, anyway. Poster has dynamic corners but the largely monochrome approach doesn't appeal to mass audiences. It says 'lots of musuem action, think hard, watch closely'...pass.

The action -- Clive Owen firing an Uzi (or whatever) and Naomi Watts standing there being protected -- doesn't click and doesn't tell us anything about the story. For what it's worth, characters are too close to right edge and the title.

Worst of all, though, is the last tagline: And everybody pays. Somebody at the PR agency wanted to go home early. 'And everybody pays'... Even the stock 'There's no escape' works better.

The signals are not good for this one. I've liked the trailers but can't see 'The International' doing well.

Traditional Media Takes Another Step Backward

Or, put another way, streaming media takes another step forward. According to this article, far more people have seen Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin online than watched it live on NBC. 10.2 million viewers saw the season-opener with Fey as Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on television. Those are good numbers even for a prime-time show. But, the real news is how many watched the bit streaming online. From The Canadian Press article:

Another 1.2 million people captured the episode on their DVRs and watched within the week. Through the middle of last week, NBC estimated that it had streamed the skit online more than 13 million times. Those are just the numbers NBC can keep track of; the skit was undoubtedly captured and posted or e-mailed many more times.

I didn't see the skit on TV but caught it at NBC's site. I don't own a TV so I didn't have much choice, but what about the tens of millions that chose to watch online? Why did they do that?'s so much easier to catch a TV show online than to tune in to the right station at the right time. You can also e-mail content to friends, post stuff online, etc. Fun, convenient. The question, really, is: At what point will most people watch TV content online?

Photo: old television set

We’re used to hearing about the decline of print media, but TV too? I guess it's the television set, invented way back when, as big as a refrigerator, sitting in the corner of most living rooms around the world that had me thinking the medium was impervious to change. However, the popularity of Fey's bit online is another clear sign of changing viewing habits.

Media, now including TV, continues its migration to the web. It won't be long before television sets broadcast nothing but static.

Another Cool Clip

I can't say enough. This is one of the best looking movies I've ever seen. Here's an early review with a nice tone.


I'm liking the look of this one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Photo: still from Angels and Demons

USA Today has some early pix from 'Angels & Demons'.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nick Fury In Iron Man 2

It's surprising that anybody could have thought Sam Jackson's appearance in 'Iron Man' was a..."cameo"?... Please. Makes no sense. This from the write up that's been in the Canadian press:

The actor confirms he's already received word the eye-patch-wearing operative will have a more significant role in the sequel, due in May 2010. "I saw (director) Jon Favreau last night. He walked up and said, 'Hey, I hope you're making your deal.' "

Of course. Duh.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Photo: Philip Seymour Hoffman

I like this interview from All Things Considered today. Scroll for additional audio and clips from 'Synecdoche, New York'.

Changeling, Code 12

Here's a clip from 'The Changeling'.

Gran Torino

Photo: poster for Gran Torino

What can you say? Eastwood still has a commanding presence. Poster is very good. Have no idea what the plot details are (and will not look into it in advance), but something tells me this movie will deliver.

ps - Oh. One more thing. If I look that freaking good at 78 (holding a crutch let alone a rifle) I'll be happy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let The Right One In Clip

Photo: still from Let The Right One In

NYT has an exclusive clip from 'Let The Right One In'. Scene has that delicate subtle layering that, for the most part, Hollywood isn't able to produce. I don't have high hopes for the remake that's underway.


I can't believe my eyes. Is this the best thing I've seen Van-Damme in? Does this drama actually have a spine? Could it be?


Photo: Watchmen poster

The 'justice will be served -- no matter what' motif is pretty hard to resist, hmm...

Friday, October 17, 2008


One totally cool trailer. Here's the poster:

Photo: poster for Special

Apparently, this has been sitting on the shelf since 2006 and will finally be rolling out November 21 (2008).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funniest Thing I've Seen In...

How can this movie not score at the box office?

Let The Right One In -- Red Band

Rotten Tomatoes has the red band trailer for 'Let The Right One In'. I'm not sure if this trailer is any different than the most recent one. I think it's got maybe a couple seconds more graphic stuff but I can't be sure without checking. Rather than doing that I'm just posting it. I like this picture that much.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Haunting. The One In Connecticut.

Apparently based on a true story. I've heard of the haunting in Massachusetts, but not the one in Connecticut. Will have to check this one out on disc.


It will be interesting to see whether the execution matches the conceit. I get the feeling this one may be a tad too ambitious.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First 7 Minutes Of Standard Operating Procedure

Photo: still from Standard Operating Procedure

Yahoo has the opening seven minutes of 'Standard Operating Procedure'. It's fair to call this riveting stuff. I found this excerpt from the documentary more compelling than the vast majority of Hollywood movies. You can get it on DVD tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Defiance Keeps Looking Better

The first trailer for 'Defiance' was a historical glimpse, introducing us to the Bielski partisans, a group of over a thousand Jews who survived the Nazi purge by hiding in the forest of present-day Belarus.

The new trailer is a more emotional look at what must have been a mix of courage and desperation that was needed to attempt something so dangerous and nearly impossible to accomplish.

I think this movie will draw an audience. Release is scheduled for mid-December and I wouldn't be surprised if 'Defiance' was still in theaters doing good business in January. For some reason this one seems like it will have legs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sunshine Cleaning

Why do I like this so much? Got to see this.

Friday, October 10, 2008


James Nachtwey is a photographer. He covers war, famine, epidemics, and the human condition at its worst. In this documentary, Nachtwey offers a look at what he does and tells us what he hopes his work might accomplish.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

So Very Scary

Here's the official copy:

"Sometimes the soul of a dead person has been so tainted with evil that it is denied entrance to heaven. It must endlessly wander the borderlands between worlds, desperately searching for a new body to inhabit.

And sometimes it actually succeeds."

Scary. So very scary. "...Denied entrance to heaven." I hate when that happens. That makes me so mad. Then comes the endless wandering, looking for a new body to inhabit. Constantly wandering and looking. That really pisses me off. Dammit!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

First Color

Photo by Alan Green

Photo by Alan Green

Ed Harris On The Treatment

Just what process did Ed Harris use to pick this hat for his character Virgil Cole in 'Appaloosa'? His interview with Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment is pretty good. Besides 'Appaloosa', Harris also talks at length about how the script for 'Pollock' came about, why he was compelled to make the movie, and what he had in common with the painter.

Photo: still from Appaloosa. Ed Harris

Max Payne

Photo: promo for Max Payne

Fox has put up the Max Payne site. You can get the usual stuff -- pointer icons, wallpapers, etc. There's a pretty nice animated segment that spells out Mr. Payne's backstory. It's a good thing for those of us who haven't read every graphic novel that comes out. Me...I haven't read any, so a quick rundown on who's who helps.

I wonder if there's an explanation as to what this guy's parents (Mr. and Mrs. Payne) were thinking when they named their son Max. I mean, come on. They couldn't have gone with Tony or Ralph?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Do I Really Believe This?

I like the trailers for 'Body of Lies' but there's a problem with this type material. You never know what you can believe and what's pure Hollywood hyperbole. Take the above clip -- a standard car chase except it's supposed to be the real thing. That is, instead of Bond or Bourne in a firefight barely escaping a sticky situation it's a real-life CIA operative. Or, more precisely, the chase is something we're expected to accept could happen and has happened in real CIA day-to-day work.

There must have been times when a CIA operative experienced this kind of thing. The problem is obvious though. CIA work is secret, so how would we know. 'Body of Lies' is based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, who is an Op-Ed columnist with The Washington Post. Ignatius has covered international politics including CIA operations for years. I'll bet he's had CIA guys tell him stories over a couple beers about events such as the one in the clip. But, again, how do we know? Possibly, such a car chase happened yesterday, but it wasn't in any news report. If such events are covered up out of the need for secrecy, fine. So be it. If they're not reported in the news because they never happened... Well, how do we know the difference?

Photo: still from Black Hawk Down

The director of 'Body of Lies', Ridley Scott, also gave us the excellent 'Black Hawk Down', taken from the book by Mark Bowden, which is based on real events that were reported worldwide. It's easy to get swept up in the action in this movie. Even mundane stuff like soldiers going thirsty because they didn't think to bring enough water feels real. More conventional war movie action, like seeing a door a soldier is hiding next to shot full of holes, elicits a visceral response. The point being: if 'Black Hawk Down' were a work of fiction the screenwriter would be criticized for coming up with such a lame plot element as 'they go thirsty because they forgot to bring enough water', or something so predictable as having a door with bullet holes. But, because it really happened it hits home -- the audience feels the absurdity of having to fight for your life while suffering from extreme thirst and sympathizes with a soldier who is hiding next to a door full of bullet holes.

Photo: still from The Bourne Ultimatum

It's hard to take 'Body of Lies' as seriously. Here, a high-speed chase where the protagonist shoots at bad guys with an automatic weapon and manages to survive RPG fire (with the help of American military helicopter gunships) plays much more like Hollywood fluff than the real thing. It's like Bourne but not as good because the action isn't juiced enough. It's like Black Hawk but not as believable because, well, we don't know whether such stuff happens -- not for sure. The clip from 'Body of Lies' is exciting, no doubt about it. The problem isn't that, it's how to react to it. Do we enjoy the rush while munching popcorn like it's a Bourne action flick, or do we watch soberly like it's something some poor brave slob had to live through? I think we're expected to do both and I'm not sure too many people are interested in that. They want one type of movie or the other -- not a mix. I feel a little gullible and a little guilty accepting the action in 'Body of Lies' at face value. Perhaps, it doesn't help that the movie has the word 'lies' in its title.

I think audiences will sense that and avoid 'Body of Lies'. I hope I'm wrong, but still. And, that's not the only thing that might keep crowds away. This movie has other issues. It deals with terrorism, the Middle East, makes people think of the wars we're into, and has sequences where intelligence agents torture a suspect for information. Not a very appealing recipe, especially these days, and especially if it's supposed to be based on reality. Making it worse -- (from what I've heard) the novel on which the movie is based has a very convoluted plot. How, exactly, do you sell 'Body of Lies' to your friends at work over the water cooler on Monday morning?

This weekend, audiences may prefer family fare like 'City of Ember', or the predictable feel-good sports picture 'The Express', or even the purely escapist 'Quarantine'. I wouldn't expect 'Body of Lies' to do well next weekend going up against 'Max Payne', 'W.', and 'Sex Drive'.

I'm looking forward to 'Body of Lies' but I think it suffers from bad timing and a contradictory tone.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Let The Right One In

One of the best trailers I've ever seen.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


'Eskalofrio' (Shiver). This one has gotten mixed reviews but it looks pretty cool. If it's half as good as the positive reviews I'll be happy. If it's as bad as the worst reviews it's still okay. Apple has a hi-def trailer.

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