Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Capitalism: A Love Story" Shows No Love for Greed



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 88 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for some language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Michael Moore
PRODUCERS: Anne Moore and Michael Moore
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Marracino and Jayme Roy
EDITORS: Jessica Brunetto, Alex Meillier, Tanya Meillier, Conor O'Neill, Pablo Proenza, T. Woody Richman, and John Walter

DOCUMENTARY

Starring: Michael Moore, William Black, US Congressman Elijah Cummings, Sheriff Warren Evans, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Wallace Shawn, and Elizabeth Warren

Capitalism: A Love Story is a 2009 documentary film by author and director, Michael Moore. The film focuses on the financial crisis that began in 2007 (and continued into 2010) and indicts capitalism and the current economic order of the United States. Moore details how capitalism via corporations dominates the lives of Americans and the rest of the world (by default).

Moore’s film travels around the country, especially Middle America, detailing how the excesses of capitalism and corporate greed have damaged, even destroyed the lives of some Americans. Moore attempts to enter the halls of power in Washington D.C. and the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, specifically Wall Street, to discuss greed and government bailouts. Capitalism: A Love Story’s topics include corporate-owned life insurance (called “dead peasants insurance), for-profit prisons, home foreclosures and evictions, the influence of Goldman Sachs in Washington D.C., modern worker strikes, Wall Street’s “casino mentality,” and more. The film asks several questions, but the most prominent being, what is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? The film also has a religious component in which Moore wonders if capitalism is a sin and if Jesus would have been a capitalist.

Obviously the title, Capitalism: A Love Story, is a misnomer, but this isn’t a hate story. Moore examines “unfettered and unregulated” capitalism and also how modern capitalism is defined by greed, an insatiable lust for money, and the tendency to view everything and everyone as a commodity – all subject to exploitation. Moore is more than just a documentary filmmaker; he is also a crusader. As such he presents evidence and information specifically designed to prove his point – in this case that capitalism is destructive and evil – and also to get his audience politically aware and socially active.

Sometimes, Moore’s own actions in his movies come across as stunts – like his antics on Wall Street and near Congress in this movie. In Capitalism: A Love Story, this only serves to hurt the movie’s credibility and also makes him look more like a prankster than a documentary filmmaker. Like Fahrenheit 9/11, Capitalism: A Love Story avoids perfection because of its creator’s tendency to clown.

Still, Moore dazzles with his ability to tell stories about the struggles and suffering of ordinary working Americans. He is also one of the best American filmmakers working today. Impressive storytelling and exceptional technical skills are the calling cards of this brilliant movie director. When such a director tackles our nation’s most pressing issues, we should pay attention because it matters.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2010 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Award Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical or Television)”

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Michael Moore's SiCKO Chronicles Real Death Panels



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 12 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Sicko (2007)
Running time: 123 minutes (2 hours, 3 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for brief strong language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Michael Moore
PRODUCERS: Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
EDITOR: Geoffrey Richman, Christopher Seward, and Dan Swietlik
Academy Award nominee

DOCUMENTARY

Starring: Michael Moore, Tarsha Harris, and Larry and Donna Smith

In his most recent documentary, Sicko, Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) set his sights on the state of the American healthcare system, examining the plight of both the uninsured and the under-insured. Moore’s argument: in the world’s richest country, 45 million people have no health insurance, while HMO’s grow in size and wealth.

During his investigation, Moore uses his trademark humor and confrontational style and attempts to shed light on the complicated medical affairs and tragedies of a wide-range of Americans. Sticking to his tried-and-true one-man approach, Moore also visits Canada, Great Britain, France, and Cuba to compare how those countries provide basic health care coverage free for their citizens.

Michael Moore is clearly dismayed that so powerful and wealthy as nation as the United States should put so many of its citizens in the position of gambling their health will always be good. Sicko seems to reveal that Moore is equally surprised and perhaps angry that the system is such a mess that even people with health insurance are not always better off than the uninsured. Moore shows how the system got that way, and then relying on people rather than statistics, he introduces his audience to various Americans who’ve suffered as a result of a system that emphasizes profit over the well-being of its patients. Some sick people even get a death sentence – in the form of a refusal to pay for a lifesaving procedure – personally from their insurance provider.

The carnival atmosphere that hangs over Moore’s films (especially Fahrenheit 9/11) is still here, but Moore rarely loses focus in reminding us that American can do better for more of its citizens when it comes to healthcare. Though his surprise sometimes comes across as disingenuous, Moore uses droll humor and sly wit to ignite the fire in your belly and the rage in your heart. I must admit that there is some unintentional humor: some of the services that European governments provide for their citizens border on nanny state overkill, but who has the last laugh? Them or we Americans?

Sicko, Moore’s best film since Roger & Me, demands that American healthcare be reformed to help all citizens regardless of financial status. Moore also argues that only those with something to gain from the status quo will ignore the sobering realities.

10 of 10

NOTES:
2008 Academy Awards: 1 nomination for “Best Documentary, Features” (Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara)

2008 Image Awards: 1 nomination for “Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical or Television)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fahrenheit 9/11 a Tour de Force



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 146 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Running time: 122 minutes (2 hours, 2 minutes)
MPAA – R for some violent and disturbing images, and for language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Michael Moore
PRODUCERS: Jim Czarnecki, Kathleen Glynn, and Michael Moore
EDITORS: Kurt Engfehr, T. Woody Richman, and Christopher Seward

DOCUMENTARY/WAR

Starring: George W. Bush, Lila Lipscomb, and Michael Moore

His detractors have called documentary filmmaker Michael Moore everything from a polemist to a propagandist. The Oscar® winning director (Bowling for Columbine) is the best known American documentary movie maker, even better known than such acclaimed talents as Ken Burns and Errol Morris. In the late spring of 2004, Moore debuted is most controversial work to date, Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Moore aims his camera squarely at the administration and policies of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Fahrenheit 9/11 details the connections between the Bush family and various Saudi Arabian oil interests, especially the bin Laden family – ironic considering that Bush and the bin Laden family member who is the alleged architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, Osama bin Laden, are now mortal enemies. The film also takes a look at what happened after 9/11/2001, and how the Bush administration used the tragic event to push its agenda. Moore’s claims include accusations that Bush family and business associates have greatly benefited monetarily from the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through government military and petrochemical contracts. Fahrenheit 9/11 later takes a look at the affects of combat in Iraq on the soldiers and Iraqi citizens, and Moore interviews Lila Lipscomb, a proud and patriotic mother whose son dies in Iraq.

Unlike Moore’s films, Roger & Me and the aforementioned Columbine, Moore, as a character, does not make many on-screen appearances in Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit 9/11 is more focused than the Academy Award-winning Columbine because Moore has to spend a great deal of the film detailing his arguments, especially in the film’s first half. The first hour or so of Fahrenheit 9/11 is where Moore makes his arguments that George Bush and his cronies and administration used the war to enact government and social policies that they wanted to force on Americans all along and that the terrorist attacks on the U.S. gave them the opening they needed. Moore claims that ultimately the war in Iraq was more about the Hand Puppet’s administration’s desire to make money than protecting the U.S. What makes Michael Moore’s argument convincing is that he culls so much archival news footage, photographs, and video from recent news conferences. Thus, the subjects of his film do the vast majority of the talking and inadvertently convict themselves and prove Moore’s points.

The first half of Fahrenheit 9/11, when it focuses on George Bush, is outrageous and hilarious. Michael Moore has the gift of being both subtle and blunt when it comes to humor. His satire has the precision of a scalpel, and he presents arguments with the blunt force of a fist; he is brutal and relentless. Considering how so many Hollywood directors of comedies now rely on childish gross out jokes to sell their “humor,” Moore is likely the smartest film director of humor in America. He uses President Bush and his associates like hapless sock puppets for his jokes, all the while he expertly delineates their follies.

The second half of Fahrenheit 9/11 is a bit of a downer, as Moore takes his camera to Iraq to interview soldiers. He also interviews a soldier’s mother from his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Although many critics have claimed that Michael Moore portrayed the American servicemen and servicewomen as villains, I found that to be otherwise. The little time the soldiers are on camera, Moore shows warts and all, but the soldiers come out looking like humans and not killing machines. They make mistakes and do ugly things, but Moore shows them as the heroes – guys and girls just doing their jobs. If the job is wrong, it’s not by their hands, but it’s on the people who sent them there.

The other segment of Fahrenheit 9/11 that’s really hard to watch is Moore’s time spent with Lila Lipscomb, the mother of a slain soldier. His camera takes such an intimate look at her life surrounding her son’s service in Iraq that when tragedy strikes, the viewer also feels the pain.

As good as Moore is at making documentaries, he also uses film to make commentary, and he uses film as if he were an essayist. He’s also part of that other group of journalists, reporters, storytellers, etc. who go beyond the safe borders where mainstream American media won’t go. Michael Moore just happens to be the loudest source of alternative information concerning politics and society, and Fahrenheit 9/11 may be his most accomplished work. Still, it’s by no means perfect; sometimes the film looses focus (as during his visit with two Oregon state troopers). However, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sign of even greater things to come from Moore, and it’s one of the best films of the year.

9 of 10
A+

NOTES:
2004 Cannes Film Festival: 2 wins: “FIPRESCI Prize Competition” (Michael Moore) and Golden Palm or “Palme d’Or” (Michael Moore)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Summit's "Man on a Ledge" Begins Principal Photography with Sam Worthington

Press release:

MAN ON A LEDGE Begins Principal Photography

Directed by Asger Leth and Starring Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, and Edward Burns for Summit Entertainment

NEW YORK, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Principal photography has begun in New York City on the Summit Entertainment feature Man On A Ledge.

An ex-cop and now wanted fugitive (Sam Worthington) stands on the ledge of a high-rise building while a hard-living New York Police Department hostage negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down. The longer they are on the ledge, the more she realizes that he might have an ulterior objective.

Sam Worthington (Avatar) and Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days) star among an ensemble cast including Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), who portrays Worthington's best friend and ally and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) who is Worthington's younger brother and ardent supporter. Also along for the ride is four-time Oscar® nominee, Ed Harris (Pollock) who plays a powerful businessman, while Edward Burns (27 Dresses) is a rival negotiator who tries to swoop in when he believes Banks has a conflict of interest. Newcomer Genesis Rodriguez (Casa di me Padre) plays Bell's girlfriend who along with Bell, tries to prove Worthington's innocence.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated, "MAN ON A LEDGE is an incredible suspense thriller with a powerhouse cast. I look forward to producing this project and once again working with Summit Entertainment with which we just released the action comedy RED."

Man on a Ledge is directed by Asger Leth (Ghosts of Cite Soleil), from an original screenplay written by Pablo F. Fenjves ("The Affair") and Erich Hoeber & Jon Hoeber, and is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian (Transformers & Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). Executive Producers are David Ready (Red) and Jake Myers (Red).

Paul Cameron (Man on Fire) is the Director of Photography and the Production Designer is Alec Hammond (Red). Kevin Stitt (X-Men) is the Editor and Susan Lyall (Red) serves as Costume Designer.


About Summit Entertainment LLC
Summit Entertainment is a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. The studio handles all aspects of marketing and distribution for both its own internally developed motion pictures as well as acquired pictures. Summit Entertainment, LLC also represents international sales for both its own slate and third party product. Summit Entertainment, LLC releases 10 to 12 films on average annually.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Braveheart + Gladiator = Pre-Robin Hood



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 87 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Robin Hood (2010)
Running time: 140 minutes (2 hours, 20 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
WRITERS: Brian Helgeland; from a story by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris and Brian Helgeland
PRODUCERS: Russell Crowe, Brian Grazer, and Ridley Scott
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Mathieson
EDITOR: Pietro Scalia

ACTION/DRAMA/HISTORICAL

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Alan Doyle, Douglas Hodge, Lisa Seydoux, Jonathan Zaccai, and Jack Downham

Back in 2000, Ridley Scott unleashed his Roman costume drama/action movie, Gladiator. The film was a big box office hit and turned its lead, Russell Crowe, into a major movie star. Gladiator went on to win several Academy Awards, including “Best Picture” and a “Best Actor” Oscar for Crowe. Scott and Crowe have worked together since then, but those films have not been as successful as Gladiator.

Scott and Crowe distilled the manly man of honor essence of Gladiator and put it into their recent film, Robin Hood, but this movie is not like other Robin Hood movies. The Scott/Crowe Robin Hood isn’t a reinvention or re-imagining or anything like that. It is a kind of prequel, essentially asking the question of what would have turned a man into an outlaw like Robin Hood. This is the story of how, when, and why Robin Hood came to be, and the story goes like this…

It is 1199, and as the Third Crusade comes to an end, Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) continues his war against Philip II of France (Jonathan Zaccai). In the siege of Chalus Castle, Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer. Following the death of Richard, Robin and two other common archers, Alan A’Dale (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes), and the soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) make an attempt to return home to England after 10 years away. The quartet arrives at the site of an ambush of the Royal guard. There, Robin makes a promise to a dying knight, Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return a sword to his father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow), in Nottingham.

Impersonating Loxley, Robin returns to England to find the land beset by the ill rule of Richard’s brother, now King John (Oscar Isaac). Robin and his companions travel to Nottingham where he meets Loxley’s now-widowed wife, Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett), and Sir Walter, who is old and blind. Walter asks Robin to continue to impersonate his son in order to keep his family lands from being taken by the crown for taxes. In fact, Prince John sends his henchman, Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight secretly aligned with the French, across England to collect taxes from everyone by any means necessary. Robin fights back, but soon discovers that England has bigger problems than out of control tax collectors. Now, Robin Longstride must lead the fight to save the country.

Robin Hood is a rousing adventure combat movie. It isn’t Ridley Scott’s best work (or anywhere near that), nor is it Crowe’s best work. Neither, however, seems on automatic. Crowe is a superb actor and consummate craftsman; it may seem as if he is in cruise control mode here. Crowe just makes it look easy, and perhaps, Scott does the same in this movie. The truth is Robin Hood is very well made and quite entertaining, except for a small dry spell in the second hour of the movie.

Perhaps, it is easy to take this film and the people behind it for granted. I marveled at the high-quality performances throughout. Cate Blanchett gives a strong turn and fashions a forceful character out of the well-worn, almost stock character, Maid Marian. Mark Strong is, as usual, strong as the villain – in this case, the conniving Godfrey, and Oscar Isaac is award nomination-worthy for his creation of the unashamedly jealous King John.

I thought of Gladiator and Braveheart while watching this new take on Robin Hood. I certainly like its depiction of how lowly, common men sacrifice their lives and spend years away from their families to fight wars started by a small circle of vain royalty. After expending so much blood and sweat, they get nothing in return and even have to fight to find a way home on their own. That much is relevant to our modern times. Scott, Crowe, and screenwriter Brian Helgeland get it right. That injustice is reason enough to turn a man into an outlaw, and reason enough for me to enjoy Robin Hood.

7 of 10
B+

Friday, October 29, 2010


Robin Hood Makes Good with "Waiting for 'Superman'"

Press release:

ROBIN HOOD TEAMS UP WITH “SUPERMAN”

ROBIN HOOD JOINS PARTICIPANT MEDIA IN SOCIAL ACTION CAMPAIGN TO BRING WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” TO THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS FREE OF CHARGE

LOS ANGELES – October 28, 2010 – The Robin Hood Foundation has teamed up with Participant Media’s Social Action Campaign for WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” by underwriting a ticket giveaway program that is allowing a variety of New Yorkers from underserved neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn to see the film.

The landmark documentary has sparked a vital conversation on the current state of public education in the United States. The program’s goal is to spread awareness by providing 50,000 New Yorkers tickets to see WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” at no charge.

Robin Hood has distributed thousands of vouchers redeemable for admission to any performance of the film at select New York theaters over a three-week period starting Friday, October 22. There will be additional free screenings of the film to be shown throughout the five boroughs over the next several months.

“As a result of Robin Hood’s support, tens of thousands of New Yorkers from underserved neighborhoods will now have the chance to see WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” and be able to be part of the national conversation,” said Jim Berk, CEO Participant Media. “Their next step is to text ‘POSSIBLE TO 77177’ or visit waitingforsuperman.com/action, where they can find a variety of ways to get actively involved in changing the quality of education in their own communities.”

Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone, which is featured in the film, has distributed 10,000 of the free vouchers, valid from now through November 11, for admission to any performance of the film at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 theatre and the AMC Empire 25 theatre in Manhattan. 19,000 have been distributed by Robin Hood’s network of grantees, with 12,500 redeemable at the two AMC theatres from now through November 11, and 6,500 vouchers, valid from now through November 4 at the UA Court Street theatre in Brooklyn.


About WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN”
From An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim comes WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN”, a provocative and cogent examination of the crisis of public education in the United States told through multiple interlocking stories—from a handful of students and their families whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system. Tackling such politically radioactive topics as the power of teachers’ unions and the entrenchment of school bureaucracies, Guggenheim reveals the invisible forces that have held true education reform back for decades.

The film is produced by Lesley Chilcott, with Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann serving as executive producers. It is written by Davis Guggenheim & Billy Kimball.

About Participant Media
Participant Media (participantmedia.com) is a Los Angeles-based global entertainment company specializing in socially-relevant documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital media. Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that bring to the forefront real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates extensive social action and advocacy programs, which provide ideas and tools to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant’s online Social Action Network is TakePart (takepart.com).

Participant Media is headed by CEO Jim Berk and was founded in 2004 by philanthropist Jeff Skoll, who serves as Chairman. Ricky Strauss is President.

Participant's films include The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Darfur Now, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night, and Good Luck, Syriana, The Visitor, The Soloist, Food, Inc., The Informant!, The Cove, The Crazies, Oceans, Countdown to Zero, WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN” and Fair Game.

About Robin Hood Foundation
Robin Hood holds steadfast to a single mission: fight poverty in New York City. Robin Hood is changing the fates and saving the lives of our neighbors in need by applying investment principles to charitable giving. We find, fund and create the most effective programs and schools serving families in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods. To ensure that every dollar is invested wisely, we rigorously assess each program using independent, third-party evaluators to hold each program accountable. Because Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, 100 percent of donations go directly to organizations helping impoverished New Yorkers build better lives. www.robinhood.org

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

About Walden MediaWalden Media specializes in entertainment for the whole family. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Nim’s Island” and “Charlotte’s Web.” Upcoming films include the third installment in the Narnia series “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

"Batman Begins" Still Thrills



TRASH IN MY EYES No. 96 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Batman Begins (2005)
Running time: 140 minutes (2 hours, 20 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense action violence, disturbing images, and some thematic elements
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
WRITER: David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan; from a story by David S. Goyer (based upon the BATMAN characters published by DC Comics and created by Bob Kane)
PRODUCERS: Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, and Larry Franco
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister, A.S.C.
EDITOR: Lee Smith, A.C.E.
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/ACTION/ADVENTURE/MYSTERY

Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman, Mark Boone Junior, Linus Roache, Sara Stewart, Gus Lewis, Gerald Murphy, and Christine Adams

In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is tormented by guilt and anger over the death of his parents, Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne (Linus Roache and Sara Stewart), killed one dark night by a common hood, when Bruce was a child (Gus Lewis). When he grew older, he became determined to fight injustice and fear and to also honor his parents’ altruistic legacy, so Bruce decides to educate himself in the ways of the criminal mind by traveling the world and mixing with criminals. Eventually, the mysterious Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) mentors him in the mastery of the physical and mental disciplines. Ducard also offers Bruce a place in the League of Shadows, a vigilante group to which Ducard belongs and that is headed by the enigmatic Ra’s al Ghul (Ken Watanabe).

Bruce eventually returns to the city that he called home before his seven-year odyssey, Gotham, and finds it devoured by rampant crime and corruption. Wayne Enterprises, the business that his family has owned for generations, is about to make a public stock offering at the behest of it’s CEO, Richard Earle (Rutger Hauer), a man not interested in Wayne Enterprises’ history of serving the public good. Bruce’s close childhood friend, Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), is an Assistant District Attorney struggling to gain convictions against the city’s most notorious criminals and their scumbag crime boss, Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). Her efforts are often thwarted by Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy), a prominent Gotham psychiatrist who bolsters insanity defenses for Falcone’s thugs in return for his own favors.

But Bruce has a plan. He is developing a costumed alter ego, the Batman, based upon the things that frightened him most as a child, bats. With the help of the Wayne family’s long-time trusted butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), detective Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) – one of the few good cops on the Gotham police force – and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), his ally at Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Sciences division, Bruce unleashes the masked crusader Batman, who uses his strength, fighting skills, intellect, and an array of high tech weaponry to fight the sinister forces gathered to destroy Gotham.

In Batman Begins, the first film in the Batman movie franchise since the failed 1997 film, Batman and Robin and also a restart for the franchise, the acting is quite good. Christian Bale is superb as Bruce Wayne, a man who doesn’t yet have a thousand faces, but may eventually. Bale’s Bruce has grit and determination, but he suffers the imperfections and infallibilities of a man haunted by childhood fears and the deaths of his parents. He is a believable Bruce Wayne to whom we can attach our fortunes and through whom we can live vicariously as Bruce Wayne searches for the deeper answers to crime and punishment, justice, vigilance, and charity. Bale’s Bruce Wayne is Bruce played by an actor who takes the part of a comic book character and brings it to life through his art the way serious actors bring great literary characters to life.

Liam Neeson is magnetic and electric as the menacing, almost religious, leader Ducard. Neeson gives Ducard’s every word weight and gravity, which solidifies the character’s importance. Michael Caine is grandfatherly and matronly as Bruce’s loyal butler, Alfred, the best interpretation of the character in live action film to date. Morgan Freeman is sly and witty as Lucius Fox. Katie Holmes is scrappy, savvy, and smart as Rachel Dawes, a character who is too little in this film, but Ms. Holmes, like Neeson with Ducard, makes Rachel’s every word and scene count.

The directing by Christopher Nolan is good (but not as good as his debut Memento); the editing, photography, action sequences, costumes, art direction/set decorations, and locations are all tight-ass fine. However, the thing that makes Batman Begins good is the script by Nolan and co-writer David S. Goyer (the Blade franchise), from a story by Goyer. They treat the subject matter with seriousness that is tremendous, as if this comic book film should be adapted with all the somberness one would an acclaimed literary novel. Batman Begins is a summer film with meat on it; it’s eye candy that sticks in the mind and in the heart. The story is always engaging the thought process and appealing to the emotional side. Audiences probably won’t feel as if they just had a fluffy desert when they leave the theatre after seeing this. Batman Begins is a great romantic adventure, the kind that thrived in the 19th century and sadly died by the mid-20th century. Though Batman Begins drags on a few occasions, this enthralling film will remind some how good heroic tales can be and introduce others to the joys of romantic, heroic adventure.

9 of 10
A+

NOTES:
2006 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Wally Pfister)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Janek Sirrs, Dan Glass, Chris Corbould, and Paul J. Franklin), “Best Production Design” (Nathan Crowley), and “Best Sound” (David Evans, Stefan Henrix, and Peter Lindsay)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dark Knight 3 Entitled "The Dark Knight Rises"

Yesterday, Los Angeles Times blog, Hero Complex, broke the news that Christopher Nolan's third Batman film is to be entitled "The Dark Knight Rises."  No, The Riddler will not be a villain, and the film will not be in 3D.  Empire Online also talks about this news.

If I find any more news about this, I'll add the link(s) in a future post.

Saw 4 Redeems Saw 3



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 133 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Saw IV (2007)
Running time: 95 min (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture throughout and for language
DIRECTOR: Darren Lynn Bousman
WRITERS: Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan; from the story by Thomas H. Fenton and Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan
PRODUCERS: Mark Burg and Oren Koules
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David A. Armstrong
EDITOR: Kevin Greutert

HORROR/CRIME/MYSTERY/THRILLER

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsey Russell, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis, Justin Louis, Simon Reynolds, Donnie Wahlberg, Angus Macfadyen, Shawnee Smith, and Billy Otis

As Saw IV opens, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and his apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith) are dead, and the police discover Detective Kerry’s (Dina Meyer) body. Two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Perez (Athena Karkanis), arrive in this community that Jigsaw has terrorized to assist veteran Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) in sifting through Jigsaw's latest grizzly remains and piecing together the puzzle.

Meanwhile, SWAT Commander Rigg (Lyriq Bent), the last officer untouched by Jigsaw, is abducted and thrust into Jigsaw’s bloody game of bizarre death contraptions. Rigg has only ninety minutes to overcome a series of demented traps and his own obsessions to save his old friend Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), who is revealed to still be alive, or face the deadly consequences.

Saw IV has a huge twist that is somehow connected to Saw III, and it will only serve to enrich this fantastic horror/crime film series that borders on torture porn. In fact, IV is an upgrade on III. For one, whereas III seemed to be mostly about violence, gore, and sadism, IV is a suspenseful mystery/thriller that keeps the viewer on the edge of his seat in terror and keeps up the urgency to unravel the mystery. Secondly, IV finally offers the origin story of Jigsaw, and it’s a tightly written story within a story that is as poignant and tragic as many film dramas and as shocking as the best horror flicks. Thirdly, the ensemble cast is good, in particularly Lyriq Bent in his performance as the determined Rigg.

Saw IV is just as big as a gross out flick as Saw III, but this time we get an edgy thriller, a riveting mystery, and good filmmaking to go with the gleefully gory stuff.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saw 3 Gory and Boring... Which is Actually Kinda Impressive


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 223 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


Saw III (2006)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong grisly violence and gore, sequences of terror and torture, nudity, and language
DIRECTOR: Darren Lynn Bousman
WRITERS: Leigh Whannell; from a story by James Wan and Leigh Whannell
PRODUCERS: Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, and Mark Burg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David A. Armstrong (director of photography)
EDITOR: Kevin Greutert

HORROR with elements of drama

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer, Mpho Koaho, Barry Flatman, Lyriq Bent, and J LaRose

The Jigsaw killer (Tobin Bell) and his apprentice, Amanda (Shawnee Smith), are still subjecting hapless victims to their cruel, sadistic, and intricate games of death. While city detectives frantically hunt for them, they’ve chosen two new pawns, the detached and clinical Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), a grieving father obsessed with getting revenge for the death of his young son.

Saw III, of all the Saw films, may delve most deeply into the psychology of both the game masters and their “players.” However, for all its attempts at discovering the reasons and rationales for the characters’ actions, Saw III is listless, although it is as gory and gross as the previous movies. Watching the characters desperately fight to escape the mega sadistic contraptions Jigsaw and Amanda have prepared for them (there’s a twist here) is painful – ready-made to cause viewer squirming and flinching. But the whole gruesome exercise seems as dull and as unappealing as harvesting belly button lint.

Most of Saw II’s crew has returned for Saw III, including director Darren Lynn Bousman and screenwriter Leigh Whannell (who based Saw III’s script on an idea by original Saw director James Wan), but they couldn’t rebuild the fire they started for Saw II. The production values are also of lesser quality. The set looks like a rundown mechanic’s garage, and the cinematography is dull and poorly lit even for a horror flick. The acting amounts to sneers, hard stares, hollering, and over-emoting. Hardcore gore attics (and Saw fanatics) may very well find much in this flick to love, but if it weren’t for the scene with the puréed putrid pigs, Saw III wouldn’t have a single memorable moment.

4 of 10
C

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halle Berry Makes Late Bid for Oscar Nomination

Halle Berry news from Deadline.  Her based-upon-a-true-story, 1970s psychological drama, Frankie and Alice, is a last minute entrance into the Oscar race.  The film, which Berry produced, has been moved up to a December 17 released date in L.A. and NYC in order to qualify for the 2011 Oscars.  It will go into a wider release (the top 20 cities) on Feb. 4th, shortly after the Oscar nominations are announced.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sex and the City: The Movie is Groovy



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 86 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Sex and the City (2008)
Running time: 145 minutes (2 hours, 25 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
DIRECTOR: Michael Patrick King
WRITER: Michael Patrick King (based upon the book by Candace Bushnell and the television series created by Darren Star)
PRODUCERS: Michael Patrick King, John Melfi, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Darren Star
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Thomas (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Michael Berenbaum

COMEDY/DRAMA/ROMANCE

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Mario Cantone, Candice Bergen, Lynn Cohen, Gilles Marini, Joseph Pupo, and Alexandra Fong and Parker Fong

Sex and the City was an American comedy television series that was originally broadcast on HBO over six seasons from 1998 to 2004. Created by Darren Star, the series was based in part on Candice Bushnell’s book of the same title.

Sex and the City the series focused on 30-something Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), a columnist for the fictional New York Star and book author, and her three best friends: 30-somethings Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and 40-something Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall). The girls often discussed their desires, sexual fantasies, love, and life. In 2008, the TV series made it to the big screen as Sex and the City: The Movie.

The movie’s story opens four years after the television series ended. Carrie and the on-again/off-again love of her life, John Preston A.K.A. Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are about to get married, but what began as a modest wedding has nearly quadrupled in sized. As her 50th birthday approaches, Samantha is living in Los Angeles with her boy toy actor boyfriend, Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis). Samantha is also Smith’s manager, and she is starting to feel like a housewife, which she does not like.

Miranda and her husband, Steve Brady (David Eigenberg), have stopped having sex, and their marriage is in trouble, bigger trouble than she thinks. Charlotte and her husband, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler), are also in for a big surprise regarding their marriage. 20 years after they first met in New York City, the girls are still supporting one another, and they need each other now more than ever.

I’ve only seen a few episodes of the Sex in the City series, and that was only in syndication when the episodes were edited for content. To date, I have liked what I’ve seen, although the series obviously isn’t aimed at me or my demographic group. The characters are what appeal to me. Each has personality traits which both attract and repel, but those characteristics are more substantive than quirky. Perhaps, I like them because I expected them to be vacuous, but instead found them engaging.

Carrie Bradshaw and friends are not shallow. While they are professional women living lives of affluence and abundance, those lives are not without conflict, drama, and dilemmas. The glamour is not without some gloom, and writer/director Michael Patrick King (a driving force behind the television series) freely goes to some dark places in the lives of the women.

Sex in the City is partly about love and all its complications – even the gritty complications that cause you hurt and make you want to punish the love of your life. Sex and the City, however, is really all about the girls. If you loved them in the series, you’ll love going through hell, healing wounds, and enjoying friends and family with them in this film. Sex and the City: The Movie is both effervescent and tart the way romantic comedy should be, and this movie is one of the best modern romantic comedies.

7 of 10
A-

Monday, October 25, 2010


150,000 People Have Now Pledged to See "Waiting for 'Superman'"

Press release:

NewSchools Venture Fund Announces $5 Million Investment in Entrepreneurial Organizations as 150,000 People Pledge to See “Waiting For ‘Superman’”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 11, 2010) – Honoring a pledge to the viewers of “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm NewSchools Venture Fund announced today that it will invest $5 million in innovative education organizations to help close achievement gaps in low-income communities.

The new investments, which will be announced in the coming months, come in connection with the commitment http://www.newschools.org/about/news/press-releases/waiting-for-superman-pledge NewSchools made once 150,000 people pledged http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/pledge-progress to see the film. The “Waiting for ‘Superman’” pledge meter surpassed that level on October 8 – a testament to the movie’s powerful narrative and its urgent call for dramatic change and innovative solutions to the crisis facing our nation’s public schools.

“‘Waiting for “Superman”’ shines a bright light on two important truths,” said Ted Mitchell, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. “Excellent schools, with outstanding teachers, make all the difference in a child’s life. But in some places in this country, access to an excellent school is a matter of chance. It’s not fair, and we all need to step up to change the odds. NewSchools and its entrepreneurs are demonstrating every day that it can be done.”

NewSchools provides funding and management guidance to entrepreneurial organizations working to improve public education for low income children. NewSchools’ investments include organizations that recruit and train teachers, start public charter schools, turn around failing public schools, and create technology tools for the classroom. Some of the schools featured in “Waiting for ‘Superman’” were built by organizations in the NewSchools portfolio. NewSchools and its portfolio of entrepreneurs are developing innovative solutions to address the toughest challenges facing public education and create better opportunities for all of our nation’s children.

“With the hard work that these new investments will support, we will move a bit closer to a day when a good public education is a right for every child,” Mitchell said. “No child should have to win a lottery to get on the path to college.”

Founded in 1998, NewSchools has been committed for more than a decade to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed. To achieve this goal, NewSchools has supported more than 40 education entrepreneurs, helping them to build strong, high-impact organizations making a real difference in the lives of children and connecting their work to the broader public education reform movement to catalyze broader systems change.

“Waiting for ‘Superman,’” directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), is a Paramount Vantage and Participant Media presentation in association with Walden Media. It examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories. Designed to start a national conversation, the movie and corresponding “Take the Pledge” campaign aim to inspire everyone to create innovative and long-term solutions to help change the course of our kids’ lives for the better. The “Pledge Progress Meter” launched in May as a way for non-profits, foundations, and corporations to match individual pledge levels with powerful action items aimed at helping both students and public schools.

The film opened in New York and Los Angeles on September 24, and continues to expand nationwide throughout October. The film is produced by Lesley Chilcott, with Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann serving as executive producers. It is written by Davis Guggenheim & Billy Kimball.

For more information about the movie, or to take the pledge go to http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/. To join the conversation visit us on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/Newschools or Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nsvf


About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools Venture Fund seeks to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed. As a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm, NewSchools supports education entrepreneurs, a special breed of innovators who create new nonprofit and for-profit organizations that redefine our sense of what is possible in public education. Founded in 1998, NewSchools has invested in more than 35 nonprofit and for-profit organizations and raised nearly $150 million. NewSchools takes an active role with each venture in our portfolio to help them create sustainable organizations that generate breakthrough results at scale for the students they serve. In addition to this direct support to entrepreneurs, NewSchools also connects their work to the broader public education reform movement to catalyze systems change.

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

About Participant Media
Participant Media (participantmedia.com) is a Los Angeles-based global entertainment company specializing in socially-relevant documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital media. Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that bring to the forefront real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates extensive social action and advocacy programs, which provide ideas and tools to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant’s online Social Action Network is TakePart (takepart.com).

About Walden Media
Walden Media specializes in entertainment for the whole family. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Nim’s Island” and “Charlotte’s Web.” Upcoming films include the third installment in the Narnia series “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2 Does Not Disappoint



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 85 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Running time: 91 minutes (1 hour, 31 minutes)
MPAA – R for some language and brief violent material
DIRECTOR: Tod Williams
WRITER: Michael R. Perry, Christopher Landon, and Tom Pabst; from a story by Michael R. Perry (based on film directed by Oren Peli)
PRODUCERS: Jason Blum and Oren Peli
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Simmonds
EDITOR: Gregory Plotkin

HORROR

Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Brian Boland, Sprague Grayden, Molly Ephraim, and Tim Clemens

It was film festival attendees who first saw, in 2007, the ultra-low budget, psychological horror film, Paranormal Activity. Eventually, well-connected and influential Hollywood types (like Steven Spielberg) saw the film, and Paranormal Activity got a nationwide theatrical release in October 2009, going on to become a box office hit.

A year later, Paranormal Activity 2, which is (mostly) a prequel and (partly) a sequel to the original film, arrives. Overall, Paranormal Activity 2 is about as good and as scary as the original film. There is a difference. The first film started well, but stumbled to an ending. Paranormal Activity 2 is hit and miss for most of its runtime, but it has an edgy last half hour and an absolutely, killer ending. [It must be noted that some of the scenes shown in the various trailers for this movie are not in the theatrical release – like the one with the baby in the middle of the street.]

Paranormal Activity 2 focuses on the home and family of Kristi Rey, the sister of Katie from the first film. Kristi is married to Dan, who is a widower with a teenaged daughter, Alli. Kristi and Dan have just welcomed a baby boy, Hunter, into their happy home. Martine, a Hispanic housekeeper and nanny, lives with them, as well as Abby, the family’s loyal German shepherd.

Paranormal Activity 2’s action begins 60 days before the death of Katie’s boyfriend, Micah, which happened in the first film. After an apparent break-in and vandalism of their home, Dan has a number of security cameras installed inside and outside the house. The cameras begin to record unusual, even weird activity. Martine and eventually Kristi and Alli begin to suspect that they are not alone in the house. Something is vexing them all, especially Hunter.

I compared the first Paranormal Activity to The Blair Witch Project, specifically that the former surpassed the latter. Like Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity 2 is full of characters arguing and whining and then later, crying and screaming. During the first hour of Paranormal Activity 2, I found myself being scared at the cleverly presented spooky atmosphere, but also being annoyed by the characters. It isn’t an exaggeration to suggest that anytime a dog and a baby are the smartest characters in the film that the script may have a little trouble in the character development department.

The last half hour of this film, however, is riveting and absolutely chilling. I think my heart was indeed trying to find a hiding place in my throat, and, as I write this several hours after seeing the movie, I’m still thinking about it. Paranormal Activity 2 lives up to the hype and the original film.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two-Day Retrospective of Scorsese-DiCaprio Callabos in November

Press release:

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS SCORSESE AND DICAPRIO

A TWO-DAY RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FILM COLLABORATIONS FROM THE PROLIFIC DIRECTOR-ACTOR PARTNERSHIP

NOVEMBER 13TH & 14TH AT THE HISTORIC EGYPTIAN THEATRE IN HOLLYWOOD

INCLUDING A CONVERSATION WITH LEONARDO DICAPRIO IN PERSON AND MARTIN SCORSESE SATELITTED IN FROM LONDON

Hollywood, California, October 21, 2010 – The American Cinematheque announced that it will feature a two-day retrospective of the film collaborations of Academy Award® winning director Martin Scorsese and three-time Academy Award® nominated actor, Leonardo DiCaprio on November 13 and 14 at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The two-day event will feature screenings of the four acclaimed films on which Scorsese and DiCaprio have collaborated: GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE DEPARTED, THE AVIATOR and this year’s hit SHUTTER ISLAND. As part of the retrospective on November 14, Scorsese and DiCaprio will participate in a conversation where DiCaprio will attend in person and Scorsese will take part via satellite from London.

Tickets to the event are available online at the http://www.egyptiantheatre.com/. A full program description follows:

SCORSESE AND DICAPRIO
November 13 – 14 at the Egyptian Theatre.

After productive ongoing relationships with Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Academy Award® winning director Martin Scorsese found a new muse in the 2000s in the form of TITANIC star Leonardo DiCaprio who had already earned his first Oscar® nomination at the age of twenty for his breakout role in WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. Starting with GANGS OF NEW YORK in 2002 and continuing through three more films (including THE DEPARTED, THE AVIATOR and this year's hit SHUTTER ISLAND), DiCaprio and Scorsese have found a common language and created a body of work that stands alongside the best actor-director partnerships. The Cinematheque is proud to present a complete series of their collaborations.

Saturday, November 13 – 5:00 PM SCORSESE & DICAPRIO
Double Feature: THE DEPARTED, 2006, Warner Bros., 151 min. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Scorsese returns to crime and the streets, though this time the mean streets are in Boston, not New York. Leonardo DiCaprio is an undercover cop pretending to be a crook and Matt Damon is a gangster (a protege of crime lord Jack Nicholson) passing himself off as a cop; as both men get deeper and deeper into their false identities, the danger to their bodies and souls increases exponentially. Scorsese finally got his Oscar for this riveting thriller that also stars Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin.


GANGS OF NEW YORK, 2001, Miramax Films, 167 min. Martin Scorsese's most ambitious epic uses the visual language of the American Western to tell a very urban story: the history of New York's development in the wake of the Civil War. Leonardo DiCaprio is a young man bent on vengeance whose nemesis, the evil but seductive Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day Lewis), leads his city's anti-immigrant "nativist" movement.

Sunday, November 14 – 1:00 PM SCORSESE & DICAPRIO
Double Feature: SHUTTER ISLAND, 2010, Paramount Pictures, 138 min. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel, an investigator who enters a mental institution to solve a crime and is quickly immersed in a tale of haunting mystery and psychological suspense that unfolds entirely on a fortress-like island housing a hospital for the criminally insane. Leonardo DiCaprio heads up an all-star cast (Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson) in this chilling compendium of mid-20th century horrors.


THE AVIATOR, 2004, Miramax Films, 170 min. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes in this biopic that earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor. The gripping drama focuses largely on Hughes' adventures in Hollywood - a time frame that allows Martin Scorsese to construct a grand old-fashioned entertainment in the tradition of the classic studio system. Recreations of the Cocoanut Grove and other Hollywood landmarks, along with expert turns by Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner, make this a feast for movie fans.

Discussion at 1pm with actor Leonardo DiCaprio in person and director Martin Scorsese via satellite from London.


About American Cinematheque
Established in 1981, the American Cinematheque is a 501 C 3 non-profit viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all of its forms. At the Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque presents daily film and video programming which ranges from the classics of American and international cinema to new independent films and digital work. Exhibition of rare works, special and rare prints, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque renovated and reopened (on Dec. 4, 1998) the historic 1922 Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. This includes a state-of-the-art 616-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman's first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its 1922 grandeur. The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922. In January 2005 the American Cinematheque expanded its programming to the 1940 Aero Theatre on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Running time: 134 minutes (2 hours, 14 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, nudity, language, and some violence
DIRECTOR: Ang Lee
WRITERS: Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana (based upon the short story by Annie Proulx)
PRODUCERS: Diana Ossana and James Schamus
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Prieto, A.S.C.
EDITORS: Geraldine Peroni and Dylan Tichenor, A.C.E.
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/ROMANCE

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, and Randy Quaid

Two young men: Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), a ranch hand, and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), a rodeo cowboy, meet in the summer of 1963 while shepherding sheep on Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. They unexpectedly fall in love and form a lifelong connection. At the end of the summer, they part ways. Ennis remains in Wyoming and marries his girlfriend, Alma (Michelle Williams), and they have two daughters. Jack returns to Texas to ride bulls in the rodeo where he falls in love with and marries a cowgirl, Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway), and they have a son. However, for the next 20 years, Ennis and Jack meet a few times a year for a fishing trip where they can freely express their love for one another, both emotionally and physically. The film shows the toll hiding their forbidden love takes on them and their relationships outside their romance.

Brokeback Mountain has the burden of history on its shoulders, being a movie about a love between cowboys, and the fact that it is the first film distributed by a big Hollywood studio (Focus Features, a division of Universal) and getting a wide release that directly focuses on a gay love affair between men. While the film can take a lot of credit for being a landmark in American cinematic history, the contents of the film aren’t as great. Mainly it is a combination of faulty direction and a flawed script. Like director Ang Lee’s previous film, 2003’s The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain is choppy, clumsy, and often dull. Add the fact that this film is alternately dry and cold, and you don’t have the makings of a great romance film. Sometimes The Hulk had moments that were quite novel, really clever, or simply brilliant filmmaking choices, and Brokeback Mountain is that way. However, dross sometimes weighs down the clever cinema. As for the script, an adaptation of an E. Anne Proulx story by Diana Ossana and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), it does indeed seem like a short story padded with a sagging and problematic middle to make a longer story.

That shakiness carries over to the acting. Heath Ledger is superb, often rising above the material and sometimes dragging the material up to his heights. His performance rings true; he certainly comes across as a dirt-poor cowboy, trouble and conflicted about all his personal relationships. His eyes are so expressive, and his facial expressions are riveting and absorbing. On the other hand, Jake Gyllenhaal really isn’t that good, and except for a moment here and there, his performance seems forced… phony even. That especially puts a damper on the screen chemistry between the leads. The supporting performances are good, though the parts are too small. Randy Quaid is menacing as the surly rancher who discovers Ennis and Jake’s secret. Michelle Williams is also quite good as Ennis’ long-suffering wife, Alma, and there are moments when she lights a fire that is as good as anything else in this film.

Certainly there are moments in Brokeback Mountain that completely impressed me. The opening act of the film, which reveals the origin of the cowboy’s love, is truly, truly expert filmmaking. The ending is heart-rending and poignant, with Ledger giving a performance in the last act that is good enough to save the entirety of another film. It’s the vast, clunky wasteland in the middle of Brokeback Mountain that keeps it from meeting its promise greatness.

6 of 10
B

Sunday, January 29, 2006

NOTES:
2006 Academy Awards: 3 wins: “Best Achievement in Directing” (Ang Lee), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Gustavo Santaolalla), and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana); 5 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Diana Ossana and James Schamus), “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Rodrigo Prieto), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Heath Ledger), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jake Gyllenhaal) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Michelle Williams)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 4 wins: “Best Film” (Diana Ossana and James Schamus), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jake Gyllenhaal), “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), and David Lean Award for Direction” (Ang Lee); 5 nominations: “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music” (Gustavo Santaolalla), “Best Cinematography” (Rodrigo Prieto), “Best Editing” (Geraldine Peroni and Dylan Tichenor), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Heath Ledger), and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Michelle Williams)

2006 Golden Globes: 4 wins: “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Director - Motion Picture: (Ang Lee), “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Gustavo Santaolalla-music and Bernie Taupin-lyrics for the song “A Love That Will Never Grow Old”), and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana); 3 nominations: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (Gustavo Santaolalla), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Heath Ledger) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Michelle Williams)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Audiences to Get Sneak of "TRON: Legacy" October 28

Press release:

WALT DISNEY PICTURES KICKS OFF “TRON: LEGACY” 10-WEEK GLOBAL COUNTDOWN

20+ MINUTE 3D SNEAK PEEK ELECTRIFIES AUDIENCES AROUND THE WORLD WITH “TRON NIGHT: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE”

Walt Disney Pictures’ “TRON: Legacy” Opens in US Theaters December 17, 2010

BURBANK, Calif. (October 10, 2010) —Walt Disney Studios announced, October 10, 2010 (“10-10-10”), the kickoff of the official 10-week countdown to the release of “TRON: Legacy,” which opens in theaters December 17, 2010. Every week for the next 10 weeks marks a major milestone in the countdown as The Walt Disney Company rolls out exciting new TRON events, film content, products and announcements in preparation for the worldwide film launch, including:

TRON Night: An IMAX 3D Experience, a special event on October 28, 2010, that will give audiences worldwide the first opportunity to step onto the Grid and into the cutting-edge, 3D world of Walt Disney Pictures’ high-tech adventure “TRON: Legacy,” during an exciting 20-plus-minute sneak peek of the highly anticipated film, sponsored by ASUS Computer International.

Select IMAX 3D theaters nationwide and 3D & IMAX 3D theaters internationally will offer a special screening of thrilling, never-before-seen 3D footage. “It’s exciting to offer fans an early, exclusive 3D preview of ‘TRON: Legacy’ in the ultimate of formats. We can’t wait for audiences around the world to experience the visually stunning and cutting-edge world that director Joe Kosinski has created,” said Sean Bailey, President of Production, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment, is equally enthusiastic. “We are ecstatic that the Disney team and the ‘TRON: Legacy’ filmmakers elected to debut this amazing footage exclusively in our network of theaters,” said Foster. “This first-look in IMAX 3D is the most immersive way to bring audiences into the world of ‘TRON: Legacy’ and kick-off the countdown to the film’s highly-anticipated launch.”

Tickets to the October 28th TRON Night events are free and will be distributed for US and Canadian screenings on a first-come, first-serve basis starting 10:00 a.m./PDT on the first “TRON Tuesday,” October 12, 2010. Information for U.S. and Canadian ticketing can be found on Facebook.com/TRON.

· Beginning today, fans have the opportunity to purchase tickets to select IMAX 3D midnight screenings of “TRON: Legacy.” Tickets may be purchased at all participating IMAX locations and online at Disney.com/TRON.

“TRON Tuesdays”— every Tuesday for the next 10 weeks, exclusive new video and film content, including behind-the-scenes exclusives, trailers and artwork, will be released around the world online and through select broadcast outlets. To get the latest on “TRON Tuesdays” and more, visit Disney.com and Facebook.com/TRON.

· “10-10-10” also marks the launch of Disney.com’s TRON: Get on the Grid Sweepstakes, featuring hundreds of prizes including a Grand Prize Trip for four to experience ElecTRONica, the new street celebration at Disney California Adventure™ Park. The Get on the Grid Sweepstakes is open to US residents only; details and official entry rules are available at Disney.com/TRONsweeps.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 10-WEEK COUNTDOWN:

· Walt Disney Records will release the “TRON: Legacy” official motion picture Soundtrack, scored by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, on December 7th.

· In addition to new merchandise arriving to stores this month, Disney Consumer Products will debut exciting, new “TRON: Legacy” products and promotions, including a special line for women, a one-of-a-kind immersive retail destination for products and a unique gadget line for music and gaming fans.

· On December 7th, Disney Interactive Studios will launch the next-gen video game “TRON: Evolution” for all major home video game consoles, Windows PC and handheld platforms.

· Disney Parks is celebrating “TRON: Legacy” with ElecTRONica, a nighttime street event at Disney California Adventure™ Park, featuring a dynamic visual- and music-based experience, a re-creation of Flynn’s Arcade and an opportunity to see a special 3D preview of “TRON: Legacy.” ElecTRONica runs from now until April 2011 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night and nightly through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

Information on all TRON activities can be found at Disney.com/TRON.


ABOUT THE MOVIE
“TRON: Legacy” is a 3D action-packed adventure set in a digital world unlike anything captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Oscar® and Golden Globe® winner Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world’s leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the abandoned Flynn’s Arcade—that could have only come from his father—he finds himself pulled into a world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a visually stunning universe—created by Kevin Himself—which has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons and landscapes, and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.

“TRON: Legacy” is directed by Joseph Kosinski and produced by Sean Bailey, Jeffrey Silver and Steven Lisberger. The story is by Eddy Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal, and the screenplay is by Eddy Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, based on characters created by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird. Presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX 3D® and scored by Grammy Award®–winning electronic music duo Daft Punk, “TRON: Legacy” hits theaters on December 17, 2010.

Moulin Rouge! Half Brilliant, Half Ridiculous



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 19 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sexual content
DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann
WRITERS: Craig Pearce and Baz Luhrmann
PRODUCERS: Fred Baron, Martin Brown, and Baz Luhrmann
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald M. McAlpine (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Jill Bilcock
Academy Award winner

MUSICAL/ROMANCE

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald, Jacek Koman, Matthew Whittet, and Kerry Walker

Christian (Ewan McGregor), an impoverished young poet from Scotland, arrives in Montmarte, France and falls in with a group of Bohemians led by Henri Ramone de Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo), against the wishes of his father. Like the young poet, the Bohemians believe in freedom, truth, beauty, and most of all love, and they want to stage a show in the legendary Moulin Rouge, the home of the Paris’s colorful and diverse underworld where the wealthy rub shoulders with the working class, artists, bohemians, actresses, and courtesans.

Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent, Iris), the impresario of the Moulin Rouge, wants a backer so that he could turn his haven of sex and drugs into a proper theatre. His wealthy quarry is The Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) who is willing to give the money for the renovation, but, in return, he wants for his possession the Moulin Rouge’s most popular attraction, the beautiful courtesan and the stuff of which dreams are made, Satine (Nicole Kidman). The stop in Zidler’s plans and in the Duke's desires comes in the form of Christian. He becomes the playwright of the show that would transform the Moulin Rouge, and he falls hopelessly in love with Satine, much the chagrin of the vindictive Duke.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann (William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), Moulin Rouge! is an extravaganza of modern popular music, flashing lights, sumptuous sets, colorful costumes, and dazzling production numbers. Like the title of the Bohemians’ play that Christian composes, Moulin Rouge! is a “spectacular spectacular.” As beautiful and as breathtaking as everything is, Moulin is more about visual noise than it is about visual storytelling.

At some moments, the cacophony of music and songs intertwined like drunken snakes is quite nice, at other moments, it is a melding of pretension, misfires, and nonsense. However, even in those moments excess, Moulin Rouge! remains engaging and beautiful. Even when you’re bored, you can’t take your eyes away from the gorgeous sights, nor can your ear not seek out the secrets of the sonic mélange. The cinematography (Donald McAlpine who also worked on Luhrmann’s Romeo) captures the rich palette with the flare of a romantic classical painter. Production design (Catherine Martin), art direction (Ann-Marie Beauchamp), and set decoration (Brigitte Broch) are not only some of the best of the year, but some of the best ever.

Kudos to the actors for maintaining their crafts amidst the energy of Luhrmann’s film. Ms. Kidman has never been more beautiful (and she is always beautiful), her face a luminous globe in Moulin Rouge!’s dance of colors. She is a swooning siren, an intoxicating temptress, and gorgeous martyr. Ewan McGregor is the young poet eager to teach the world his overriding belief in truth, beauty, freedom, and love, but he is able to turn jealous and angry at a moment’s notice. It is in his face that we can see the overwhelming optimism of “love conquerors all: that seems to be a theme of this film. Even in sadness, there remains in young Christian’s face, the strength of love.

Moulin Rouge! is in its execution meant to be a cinematic experience like no other. That it is. It seeks to overwhelm the viewer with sound and images, though the images and sounds are often static and junk. It looks so good on the screen, and the movie moves madly about the screen. It loses the story amidst the sound and the spectacle, so sometimes it seems nonsensical. Moulin Rouge! tries the patience of the viewer, and the film hints that it could have been something more. Better luck next time.

6 of 10
B

NOTES:
2002 Academy Awards: 2 wins: “Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Catherine Martin-art director and Brigitte Broch-set decorator) and “Best Costume Design” (Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie); 6 nominations: “Best Actress in a Leading Role” (Nicole Kidman), “Best Cinematography” (Donald McAlpine), “Best Editing” (Jill Bilcock), “Best Makeup” (Maurizio Silvi and Aldo Signoretti” “Best Picture” (Fred Baron, Martin Brown, and Baz Luhrmann), “Best Sound” (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Roger Savage, and Guntis Sics)

2002 BAFTA Awards: 3 wins: “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music” (Craig Armstrong and Marius De Vries), “BAFTA Film Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jim Broadbent), and “Best Sound” (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Roger Savage, Guntis Sics, Gareth Vanderhope, and Antony Gray); 9 nominations: “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Chris Godfrey, Andy Brown, Nathan McGuinness, and Brian Cox), “Best Cinematography” (Donald McAlpine), “Best Costume Design” (Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie), “Best Editing” (Jill Bilcock), “Best Film” (Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann, and Fred Baron), “Best Make Up/Hair” (Maurizio Silvi and Aldo Signoretti), “Best Production Design” (Catherine Martin), “Best Screenplay – Original” (Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce) and “David Lean Award for Direction” (Baz Luhrmann)

2002 Golden Globes: 3 wins: “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,” “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (Craig Armstrong), and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Nicole Kidman); 3 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Baz Luhrmann) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (David Baerwald for the song "Come What May") and “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Ewan McGregor)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thousands Waited for Chance to See "Paranormal Activity 2"

Press release:

THOUSANDS OF FANS LINE UP FOR HOURS IN CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR SOLD OUT SCREENINGS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 – CAPACITY CROWDS ARE AMONG THE FIRST TO SEE THE FILM IN THEIR HOMETOWN ON THE EVE OF THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED MOVIE’S RELEASE AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT

HOLLYWOOD, CA (October 21, 2010) – On the eve of the North American release of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, thousands turned out to be among the first to see the highly anticipated movie at sold out free preview screenings hosted by Paramount Pictures.

Fans across the country stood on line for up to 8 hours to guarantee they would be among the first to experience the second chapter of the movie Bloody-Disgusting.com called “one of the scariest movies of all time." Playing to capacity crowds at special midnight screenings held around the country last night, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 will open in theaters across the U.S. and Canada beginning today Thursday, October 21, 2010 at midnight.

Standing room only crowds were reported in all 20 cities where the film played including: Los Angeles, CA (Arclight Hollywood); New York, NY (AMC 34th St.); Chicago, IL (AMC East River); Dallas, TX (AMC Northpark); Houston, TX (Regal Grand Palace Greenway); Phoenix, AZ (Harkins Tempe Marketplace); San Diego, CA (AMC Mission Valley); Miami, FL (AMC Aventura); Philadelphia, PA (Regal King Of Prussia); Atlanta, GA (Regal Atlantic Station); San Francisco, CA (AMC Metreon); Boston, MA (AMC Boston Common); San Antonio, TX (Santikos Palladium); Detroit, MI (MJR Marketplace); Las Vegas, NV (Rave Town Square); Seattle, WA (Landmark Neptune); Orlando, FL (AMC Universal); Denver, CO (Regal Continental); Austin, TX (Alamo South Lamar); and Toronto, ON (AMC Yonge & Dundas).

Follow PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TweetYourScream for audience reactions and important announcements.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is produced by Jason Blum and Oren Peli with story by Michael R. Perry and screenplay by Michael R. Perry, Christopher Landon, and Tom Pabst. The movie is directed by Tod Williams.


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

First "Paranormal Activity" Flick a Goose Flesh Generator



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 11 (of 2009) by Leroy Douresseaux

Paranormal Activity (2007/2009)
Running time: 86 minutes (1 hour, 26 minutes)
MPAA – R for language
EDITOR/WRITER/DIRECTOR: Oren Peli
PRODUCERS: Oren Peli and Jason Blue

HORROR

Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Ashley Palmer, and Amber Armstrong

Late summer, 10 years ago, The Blair Witch Project, a very low-budget horror flick, hit movie theatres after several months of buzz about it being one of the scariest movies ever. Ten years later, another micro-budget, handmade horror film hit theatres. Made for $11,000 and shot in the director’s house, Paranormal Activity, a thoroughly modern haunted house thriller, delivers more chills than Blair Witch – at least for me.

Paranormal Activity takes place in the two-story San Diego home of day trader, Micah (Micah Sloat), and his college student, live-in girlfriend, Katie (Katie Featherston). Katie claims that she has been plagued by a demonic spirit, on and off, since she was a child. Lately, this spirit seems to have returned, so Micah decides to use a video camera to record evidence that this spirit is real. The couple joke and bicker, but as we watch them sleep, via the camera mounted at a fixed angle in their sparsely lit bedroom, we see that something is wrong in that house. The time-code on the camera races by, except when it stops to a crawl and records freaky disturbances.

In a slow-building, but relentless way, director Oren Peli makes sure the viewer sees more than audiences ever saw in Blair Witch. Of course, Paranormal Activity is shot on a video camera (sometimes hand-held and other times stationary). Unlike other movies shot with hand-held cameras carried by the actors, the jerky movement is not distracting. The camera always seems to capture the environment in a way that makes it interesting. To make things chilling, creepy, freaky, and terrifying, Peli dabs his little-film-that-could with troublesome light switches and are-they-really-there shadows. He layers that with a clever use of sound – creeks, bumps, footsteps, and mumbling – which recalls two 1973 fear flicks, The Exorcist and The Legend of Hell House.

This narrative, however, is not executed with perfection. Without giving away the story, some of the action is implausible, not the supernatural elements, but the way the characters react to the supernatural. Sometimes Micah and Katie are incomprehensibly blasé about things that should have them running for the hills.

On the other hand, I found Micah and Katie to be extremely likable characters (something I didn’t find with the Blair Witch characters). Micah, obnoxious in an endearing way, is supremely confident both in his ability to find out things and in the decisions he makes. Katie is both sweet and bristly, but seems like a young woman who is used to getting by the bumps in life. Micah seems like a bump in her life, and because she’s gotten by his less attractive traits, the two actually seem to work as a couple. Those who buy into this two will certainly buy into their struggle with the paranormal that has come into their normal.

So a novice director with a shoestring of a shoestring budget and two semi-pro actors have given us one of the best scary movies in recent years. The atmosphere of fear is so real, and Paranormal Activity is so the real deal.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sopranos Creator to Direct His Feature Film Debut for Paramount Pictures

Press release:

CHASE REUNITES WITH VAN ZANDT AND UNVEILS CASTING FOR HIS FEATURE FILM DEBUT AT PARAMOUNT

Movie to Begin Production in January 2011 in New York

HOLLYWOOD, CA (October 15, 2010) - David Chase, the creator and producer of the multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning critically acclaimed series The Sopranos, announced today that legendary musician, and Sopranos star, Steven Van Zandt will produce and supervise the music, as well as serving as an Executive Producer, for the director’s music-driven coming of age story set in 1960’s suburbia.

Chase, who is making his feature film directorial debut, simultaneously announced that actors John Magaro, Jack Huston and Will Brill will star in the movie, to be released by Paramount Vantage. Principal photography is set to begin this January in New York.

Chase, who wrote the original script, will produce alongside Oscar® winning producer Mark Johnson (“Rain Man,” “The Chronicles of Narnia”).

Said Chase, “It’s exciting to be working with Brad Grey again, doing my first feature. I look back with pleasure on our last outing. I am also thrilled to be working with Steven again, especially on this particular subject. It’s not just that we both worship the same songs and bands from the era----it’s that he obviously knows so much. About every aspect. He embodies a particular spirit of a particular kind of rock and roll. He actually is that spirit.”

“Everyone at Paramount is proud that our studio will be the home of David’s first feature,” said Paramount Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. “He is a gifted story-teller and a great friend. His talent, along with Steven’s, promises something uniquely insightful and entertaining. We are all looking forward to a great picture and I am personally looking forward to working with them both again.”

Best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s famed E Street Band, and more recently as one of the stars of Chase’s acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, Van Zandt grew up amidst the Jersey Shore music scene, beginning first as a journeyman guitarist and subsequently becoming a songwriter and producer for fellow Jersey shore act Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Van Zandt later went on to join Springteen’s E Street Band, eventually serving as the arranger for the classic album Darkness on the Edge of Town, and later production credits on The River, and Born in the U.S.A. Van Zandt has hosted Little Steven’s Underground Garage, a weekly syndicated radio show, since 2002.

Rising stars Magaro, Huston and Brill landed the coveted roles after a nationwide search. Magaro, repped by Abrams Artists Agency and Authentic Talent and Literary Management, most recently appeared in Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take”. Huston most recently appeared in “Twilight: Eclipse” and is repped by UTA, The Collective, and by Ken McReddie Associates in the UK. Brill, repped by Stewart Talent Agency in New York, makes his feature film debut.

A veteran writer, producer, and director, Chase has been recognized by the WGA, DGA, PGA, Golden Globes®, and received a total of 7 Emmy® Awards in his career.

Paramount Vantage has previously released the Oscar® nominated “Babel” and “There Will Be Blood,” as well as the Oscar® -winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The label recently released the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary “Waiting for Superman” from Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott, the Academy Award®-winning director and producer of “An Inconvenient Truth.”


About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.