Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brian de Palma's "Scarface" on Blu-ray in September 2011



Special Limited Edition Blu-Ray TM Kicks-Off with a National Fan Art Contest & Will Feature Collectible Packaging, New Bonus Content and Digital Copy

Plus the Ultimate Fan Gift: A Limited-Run Scarface-Themed Humidor Specially Crafted by the Renowned Daniel Marshall

Universal City, California, March 24, 2011—With machine guns blazing, the explosive underworld epic Scarface arrives on Blu-ray TM Hi-Def September 6, 2011 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Considered one of the most influential gangster films ever made, Scarface’s gritty depiction of Tony Montana’s lethal ambition has made it a cultural touchstone that spans generations. Now, fans can experience the film’s raw power in the newly restored, high-resolution, high-definition picture and explosive 7.1 audio for the first time ever. Exclusive new bonus content created especially for this release reveals the film’s iconic legacy as one of the greatest crime sagas of all time. For a limited time only, Scarface Special Limited Edition Blu-rayTM comes with collectible SteelBookTM packaging, ten exclusive art cards, a digital copy of the film and a DVD of the original 1932 Scarface, making it a must-own addition to every film fan’s library. And, for the ultimate collector and cigar enthusiast, an elegantly hand-crafted Scarface-themed humidor will be made available in an exclusive, never-before-available, limited edition. Created by the renowned Daniel Marshall, the humidor’s exterior is hand painted and polished with the Marshall’s trademark “1000 coat brilliant finish.” The interior – made with untreated Spanish cedar – will properly condition and age approximately 100 cigars at optimal humidity levels. Limited to 1,000 worldwide, each individually numbered humidor comes embellished with custom medallions inspired by the iconic film and includes a certificate of authenticity.

“Nearly 30 years after it first exploded onto the screen, Scarface stands as a cultural icon with a passionate and growing fan base that continues to exert an enduring influence on not just moviemakers but artists across the entire pop-culture landscape,” said Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “Now, for the first time ever, fans of this jewel in the Universal crown can enjoy Scarface with the spectacular picture and sound quality that only Blu-rayTM provides.”

A masterful collaboration between acclaimed director Brian de Palma (The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Oliver Stone (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Platoon), Scarface features extraordinary performances from a powerhouse cast that includes Academy Award® winner Al Pacino (The Godfather), Academy Award® nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Hairspray), Academy Award® nominee Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Color of Money, The Perfect Storm), Academy Award® nominee Robert Loggia (Jagged Edge) and Steven Bauer (Traffic). The film was nominated for three Golden Globe® Awards (including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Score), and was named one of the Top 10 Gangster Films of All Time by the American Film Institute.

To celebrate the film’s Blu-rayTM debut, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design Scarface-inspired artwork using classic Tony Montana images from the film. Universal will select the Top 25 submissions based on creativity, originality, quality of composition/design and utilization of the Scarface theme. Fans will vote on their favorite 10 submissions which will then be featured as exclusive art cards in the Scarface Limited Edition Blu-rayTM. The designer who garners the highest number of fan votes will become the Grand Prize winner, and will have their art featured on both the art card and on a high-profile billboard in a major US city to promote the release.

For more information on how to enter the fan art contest and to be among the first to hear future exciting, exclusive announcements about Scarface on Blu-rayTM, join over 3.6 million fans on Facebook and visit

· The Scarface Phenomenon— This all-new documentary presents Scarface as a unique phenomenon in cinema history. It explores how a film plagued by controversy leading up to its release has become a Hollywood classic, influencing a whole new generation of filmmakers and leaving a lasting imprint on popular culture.

· Deleted Scenes

· The World of Tony Montana —Experience the world of the ultimate gangster and hear from experts on the real world violence, fear and paranoia that surrounds a drug lord.

· The Rebirth —Director Brian De Palma, producer Martin Bregman, actor Al Pacino, and screenwriter Oliver Stone revisit the history of Scarface, from the inspiration of the original Howard Hawks classic to the evolution of the script.

· The Acting — Join the filmmakers, Al Pacino and Steven Bauer to discover how each of the roles was cast and how Brian De Palma worked with his actors to get unforgettable performances.

· The Creating — A fascinating, controversial and definitive journey through the making of the film, which began with the production being forced to leave its initial location in Florida. Discover how the chainsaw scene was filmed, learn about the production design, the photography, and the struggle to get the film an “R” rating.

· Scarface: The TV Version—A revealing and hilarious montage of film clips comparing the theatrical version to the network television version of Scarface.

· The Making of Scarface: The Video Game: Immerse yourself in the world of Scarface in this behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the video game.

· Scarface Scoreboard—Watch Scarface like never before. Keep track of the number of times the “F” word is used and monitor the bullets fired!

· Picture in Picture—Access interview footage of Brian De Palma, Al Pacino, Screenwriter Oliver Stone, and others without interruption to the movie experience. Also featured is a scene comparison between the 1983 version of Scarface and Howard Hawks’ original film.

· BD-LIVE™—Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers and more.

· pocket BLU™ app— USHE’s groundbreaking pocket BLU™ app uses iPhone™, iPad™, iPod® touch, Smartphone, Android™, PC and Macintosh to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray™ player and offers advanced features such as:

o Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.

o Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the movie.

o Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to mobile devices or to stream from anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy exclusive content on the go, anytime, anywhere.

o Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray™ player with your device’s easy and intuitive keyboard to facilitate such Blu-ray™ features as chatting with friends and sending messages.

In the spring of 1980, the Mariel boatlift brought thousands of Cuban refugees to the sun-washed avenues of Miami in search of the American dream. From acclaimed director Brian DePalma, Scarface is the rags-to-riches story of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who finds wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams…at a price he never imagined. Tony Montana’s meteoric rise, lavish life and soul-destroying fall anchor an epic film that inspired a worldwide following. Pacino is at his most memorable as Montana, blasting his way to the top of Miami’s drug underworld in a bravura performance.

Technical Information
Street Date: September 6, 2011
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 Hours 50 Minutes
Number of Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Technical Info: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1/DTS Surround 2.0, French DTS Surround 2.0 Mono, Spanish DTS Surround 2.0 Mono
Languages: English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles
Gift Set SRP: $999.99
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

Melissa Rosenberg to Adapt "Earthseed" for Paramount Pictures


HOLLYWOOD, CA (March 29, 2011) – Paramount Pictures Film Group President Adam Goodman today announced that the studio has optioned the novel EARTHSEED, with Melissa Rosenberg (“Twilight,” “Dexter,” “Highlander”) attached to pen the script and produce through her Tall Girls Productions.

Set in the future, Earthseed, written in 1983 by Pamela Sargent, was the first book in the young adult trilogy that also included Farseed, published in 2007, and Seed Seeker, published in 2010. The plot centers around a group of teenagers who have been born without traditional parents from the genetic bank of a spaceship. Earthseed is a Tor Book, Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

“Ever since I was a kid, it’s been a goal of mine to see EARTHSEED get to the screen in an awesome way. To have Melissa Rosenberg and her Tall Girls company writing and producing this material is truly a dream. There is no better voice for this material, in fact I just want to see the movie now!!!” Said Goodman.

Said Rosenberg: “EARTHSEED is an incredibly compelling world and I'm excited to dive into it. The film’s premise easily lends itself to an exciting franchise with plenty of room for invention and humor. I’m drawn to complex female characters in compelling high concept stories, and this is the perfect first movie for me to produce under my Tall Girls Productions banner.”

Rosenberg has scripted all five Twilight films and is currently writing “Highlander” for Summit. She is also actively developing “AKA Jessica Jones” for ABC and has spent four years as producer and head writer on Showtime’s “Dexter.” She is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Management.

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 Paramount Television & Digital Distribution.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: "Due Date" is Good Product

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 28 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Due Date (2010)
Running time: 95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – R language, drug use and sexual content
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
WRITERS: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel, and Todd Phillips; from a story by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland
PRODUCERS: Daniel Goldberg and Todd Phillips
EDITOR: Debra Neil-Fisher
COMPOSER: Christophe Beck


Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride, and RZA

Due Date is a comedy and road movie from Todd Phillips, the director of The Hangover. It is the story of a high-strung father-to-be forced to hitch a ride with an oddball wannabe actor if he wants to make it to the birth of his first child on time. While it isn’t nearly as funny or as outrageous as The Hangover, Due Date is entertaining and offers some pretty hysterical moments of its own.

Architect Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is on his way home from Atlanta to Los Angeles when he has an unpleasant encounter with another flyer, aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), who is also going to L.A. Peter and Ethan’s meeting ends up with Peter being placed on the No Fly List. Desperate to get home for the impending birth of his child, Peter is forced to accept Ethan’s offer to hitch a ride with him and his dog, Sonny, cross-country. Thus begins a road trip to hell – the most agonizing, frustrating, terrifying, and physically painful journey of Peter’s life.

Due Date reminded me of another comedy road movie featuring a mismatched pair, Plains, Trains, and Automobiles (1987), the surprisingly poignant film starring Steve Martin and the late John Candy and directed by the late John Hughes. Due Date does have oddly touching moments, but the film really doesn’t deliver on the talents of the people involved, especially Downey, Galifianakis, and director Todd Phillips. It is a mixed bag. Sometimes, it is an action movie; other times, it is a raunchy comedy, and a few times, the film throws out some emotional moments. Due Date is funny, but for the most part, it just feels like big time Hollywood product. It entertains, delivering with the same reliability of an unspectacular Big Mac. Due Date is just average.

5 of 10

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Review: Crazy "Old School" Ultimately Plays it Safe

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 119 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Old School (2003)
Running time: 91 minutes (1 hour, 31 minutes)
MPAA – R for some strong sexual content, nudity and language
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
WRITERS: Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips, from a story by Court Crandall and Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips
PRODUCERS: Daniel Goldberg, Joe Medjuck, and Todd Phillips
EDITOR: Michael Jablow


Starring: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Craig Kilborn, Jeremy Piven, Seann William Scott, Matt Walsh, and Artie Lange

When Mitch Martin (Luke Wilson) discovers that his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) participates in group sex, it shatters his life. Under the guise of helping Mitch, his friends Bernard “Beanie” Campbell (Vince Vaughn) and Frank Ricard (Will Ferrell) hatch an idea to start their own fraternity so that they can relive the wild lives they lost when they got married. Of course, Martin reluctantly allows them to use his new house (conveniently located near a college campus) to stage their hijinks. It might be a bad idea for a number of reasons (and a good idea for a movie), not the least of which is that Mitch has his eyes on Nicole (Ellen Pompeo). Mitch had a high school crush on Nicole; she’s attracted to him, but finds their sorority boy activities immature.

Old School is very funny, and I laughed in spite of how dumb this movie is. It would have been even funnier if the movie hadn’t sold out in the end. The kind of guys that go to see a movie like this want the full raunchiness, but this movie plays it safe. By the end of the film, the horny thirty-somethings all return (for the most part) to their domestic tranquility without a notch on their belts to show for their wild times. I know that a lot of (stupid) people feel that movies should validate the American bourgeois’ value system, but this is a frickin’ comedy, and a lowbrow comedy at that, so all bets are off. Let there be no sacred cows; let the husbands screw around on their wives. This isn’t supposed to be smart and life affirming. If it were supposed to be intelligent, Old School wouldn’t have as a character one of the most tired stereotypes of film comedies set on college campuses, the evil dean of students (Jeremy Piven).

The scene I most anticipated was the one in which Vince Vaughn’s Beanie Campbell, who so wants to have sex with a co-ed, in spite of his alleged devotion to his wife and two young boys, would finally get a young lass alone with him in his room. What does Beanie do when he gets time with a co-ed? He chickens out, although the girl is quite willing. Still, a film like this is supposed to provide the yucks and lots of vicarious thrills. Beanie should have screwed her brains out. In fact, after that scene, the Beanie character loses all the intensity he had early in the film. Even Luke Wilson’s Mitch commits to a “serious relationship” by film’s end (in a very pat and neatly wrapped dénouement).

I recommend Old School for its many moments of awesome hilarity, but I pity the filmmakers for their lack of balls. This could and should have been so much funnier, so much more rebellious, and so much more subversive.

5 of 10


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Amy Adams is the New Lois Lane


BURBANK, CA, March 27, 2011 — Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Amy Adams will star in the coveted role of Lois Lane in the new Zack Snyder-directed feature film.

Snyder remarked, "Second only to Superman himself, the question of who will play Lois Lane is arguably what fans have been most curious about. So we are excited to announce the casting of Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and respected actresses in films today. Amy has the talent to capture all of the qualities we love about Lois: smart, tough, funny, warm, ambitious and, of course, beautiful."

Amy Adams will star opposite Henry Cavill, who plays the new Clark Kent/Superman in the film. The main cast also includes Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, as Martha and Jonathan Kent.

Amy Adams was recently honored with her third Oscar® nomination in five years, for her performance in the true-life drama "The Fighter," with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. She previously earned Oscar® nominations for her work in the acclaimed films "Doubt" and "Junebug." She has also starred in such diverse hits as "Enchanted," "Julie and Julia," "Charlie Wilson's War," and "Catch Me If You Can." She will next be seen in Walter Salles' "On the Road" with Viggo Mortensen and "The Muppets."

Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

The new Superman movie will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Empire Awards Name "Inception" Best Film

The Empire Awards are named for Empire, Britain's best-selling film magazine. The Empire Awards are voted for entirely by the British film-going public.  The 2011 Jameson Empire Awards were presented at a ceremony in London, on Sunday, March 27.

2011 Jameson Empire Awards winner:

Best Film presented by Kirin Ichiban – Inception

Best Director presented by Sony – Edgar Wright

Jameson Best Actor – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Best Actress presented by Citroën – Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Best Newcomer – Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)

Best Comedy – Four Lions

Best Horror – The Last Exorcism

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Best Thriller – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best British Film presented by The Industry Trust – Kick-Ass

Empire Inspiration presented by HMV – Edgar Wright

Empire Hero presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey – Keira Knightley

Empire Icon – Gary Oldman

Done in 60 Seconds – 127 Hours by Maeve Stam

Walt Disney's "Tangled" Now on DVD and Blu-ray

TANGLED: Grossing over 400 million dollars in global theatrical sales to date, TANGLED, The Walt Disney Studios blockbuster animated feature that takes a modern twist on the famous hair-raising fable Rapunzel, debuts as the ultimate 4-Disc Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack (3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy in a single package) on March 29, 2011.
As the 50th full-length animated feature in The Walt Disney Studios’ celebrated library and the first animated feature film to ever debut day-and-date on Disney Blu-ray 3D, TANGLED’s uniquely packaged home entertainment release ensures that viewers of all ages can enjoy this film on a variety of superior, hi-def media platforms while diving further into the history and quirky details behind the making of this film via amusing and informative bonus features.

Featuring unexpected heroes, magic, laughter and adventure, this animated feature is supported by an amazing cast of voice talents including Mandy Moore (“A Walk To Remember,” “The Princess Diaries”) as Rapunzel, Zachary Levi (TV’s “Chuck,” “Less Than Perfect”) as Flynn Rider, Brad Garrett (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “’Til Death”) as Hook Hand Thug, Donna Murphy (“Spider-Man 2,” “The Fountain”) as Mother Gothel, and Ron Perlman (“Hellboy,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” “The City of Lost Children”) as the Stabbington Brothers. From directors Byron Howard (“BOLT”) and Nathan Greno and the award-winning songwriter of “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” Alan Menken, TANGLED’s hair-raising adventure keeps viewers entertained throughout with its exciting storyline and memorable melodies.

TANGLED hits store shelves this spring and is available as a 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) for the suggested price of $49.99 US/$56.99 Canada, a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD) for $39.99 US/$44.99 Canada and/or a 1-Disc DVD for $29.99 US/$35.99 Canada.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: "Waste Land" Finds Treasure in Trash

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Waste Land (2010)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
DIRECTORS: Lucy Walker with Karen Harley and João Jardim
PRODUCERS: Angus Aynsley and Hank Levine
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ernesto Herrmann and Dudu Miranda with Heloísa Passos (co-D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Pedro Kos
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Vik Muniz, Fabio, and Tíao Santos

Waste Land is an Oscar-nominated documentary that follows an art project initiated by Brazilian contemporary modern artist, Vik Muniz. Waste Land documents the two years in which Muniz joined forces with the “catadores,” the garbage pickers working at Jardim Gramacho. Gramacho is one of the world’s largest landfills, and it serves Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These pickers dig in the garbage and refuse to find recyclable material, a job for which they are paid $20 to $25 per day.

Muniz guided the pickers in a process in which they used recyclable materials from Gramacho to create large-scale portraits of themselves. These portraits were sold at art auctions in London and were also exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo. Along the way, Waste Land portrays the lives of the garbage pickers and their working conditions.

Waste Land is one of those pure documentaries in which the director (and, in this case, co-directors) point the camera, stand back, and let the magic happen. In that way, something is documented and the subject comes to life. The film depicts Vik Muniz as such an open-hearted and warm individual, so the pickers are drawn to talk to him. Muniz is so encouraging that when he reveals the portraits to his collaborators, the viewer will likely feel the joyful emotions of the pickers.

Best of all is how the film allows the pickers to slowly bring the viewer into their personal lives. Some even open up about their histories and personal tragedies, and the stories are poignant, sad, inspirational, and even beautiful. Waste Land reveals how connected we are and how much more we can be. It says that we can change each other’s lives, and that isn’t always a bad thing. Waste Land is one of the best films you will see all year.

8 of 10

2011 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Documentary, Features” (Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Empire Award Nomination List

The Empire Awards are named for Empire, Britain's best-selling film magazine. The Empire Awards are voted for entirely by the British film-going public.

The 2011 Jameson Empire Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, on Sunday, March 27.

Complete list of nominations for the 2011 Jameson Empire Awards:

Best Film
The Social Network
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
The King's Speech

Best British Film
127 Hours
The King's Speech
Four Lions

Best Director
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Chris Nolan (Inception)
Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)
Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass)

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass)

Best Actress
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Emma Watson (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1)
Olivia Williams (The Ghost)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)

Best Newcomer
Gareth Edwards (Monsters)
Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass/Let Me In)
Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland)

Best Thriller
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Shutter Island
The Town
Black Swan
127 Hours

Best Horror
Let Me In
A Nightmare On Elm Street
The Last Exorcism
Paranormal Activity 2
The Crazies

Best Comedy
Four Lions
Get Him To The Greek
The Other Guys
Easy A
Toy Story 3

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Alice In Wonderland

Review: Excellent Cast Keeps "Little Miss Sunshine" Shining (Happy B'day, Alan Arkin)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 186 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Running time: 101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – R for language, some sex, and drug use
DIRECTORS: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
WRITER: Michael Arndt
PRODUCERS: Albert Berger, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, and Ron Yerxa
EDITOR: Pamela Martin
Academy Award winner


Starring: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, and Alan Arkin, Paula Newsome, Dean Norris, and Lauren Shiohama

Seven-year old Olive Hoover’s (Abigail Breslin) deepest wish is to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, CA. Schedules and financial issues compel her parents: her mother Sheryl (Toni Collette) and her father Richard (Greg Kinnear), who is struggling to take his motivational seminar national, to make the trip from their home in New Mexico to California in a VW bus. The trio won’t be alone, though; the rest of her odd clan is coming along on this stressful road trip. That includes her heroin snorting Grandpa (Alan Arkin), her suicidal, gay uncle, Frank (Steve Carell), and her brother, Dwayne (Paul Dano), who has taken a vow of silence until he attains his dream – the Air Force Academy. Along the way, the Hoovers must learn to deal with their broken dreams, heartaches, and the broken-down VW bus. It’s the only way they’ll learn to accept themselves for who they are and to give each other the support that helps to overcome the challenges on the path of life.

Steve Carell’s hit NBC comedy, “The Office” resonates with audiences not because its portrayal of the working life in a corporate office is necessarily real, but because it captures the spirit of absurdity and idiocy that often thrives in the office space. Carell is also part of the ensemble cast of the film, Little Miss Sunshine, and perhaps, this movie resonates with audiences and critics not because it is a realistic portrayal of the nuclear and extended family (though the script does take verisimilitude to the next level). Little Miss Sunshine captures in its spirit the irritation, aggravation, and disappointments of being in a family while simultaneously capturing the essence of what makes being in a family so damn cool when it works right.

This charming little film gets it right from top to bottom – character, plot, setting, and concept. In fact, the Hoovers’ odyssey on that little VW bus and how they have to work together to make it run long enough to get them to the pageant and back is a metaphor for the hard won teamwork that it takes to keep a family in working order and working together – especially when it often seems that by every right it should be broken into hundreds of little pieces. Little Miss Sunshine doesn’t laugh at the family or their drama. Instead, it reveals the creamy inside of the family’s tough exterior through dry humor – the kind the family uses to deal with itself.

Little Miss Sunshine is also a superbly cast film because it has a superb cast. They hit their marks, and they get their moments right. Each actor knows that he or she has scenes scattered throughout the film when it’s up to the individual to not only sell his or her character, but to also sell this movie. From Steve Carell’s Frank having a run-in with a lover who spurned him to Abigail Breslin’s moment to make Olive shine at the pageant, this cast hits a home run or at least gets an extra base hit. It’s hard to find an ensemble cast that outshines them this year.

Little Miss Sunshine sometimes offers pat resolutions, but those are the sweetest pats of butter around. Sometimes, the actors seem too earnest and overact in making their characters weird and troubled. This flick, however, is filled with black humor, and ultimately, its seeming ease at reaching a resolution is hard fought. They show us the dark side of family, but it’s sweet as dark chocolate, and the aftertaste is one we’ll enjoy. Hooray to directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris who saw the magic in Michael Arndt’s script and spun gold cloth from it, and bravo to the fates for giving us an enchanting cast to bring it all to life.

8 of 10

Sunday, August 27, 2006

2007 Academy Awards: 2 wins: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Alan Arkin) and “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Michael Arndt); 2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, and Marc Turtletaub) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Abigail Breslin)

2007 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Alan Arkin) and “Best Screenplay – Original” (Michael Arndt); 4 nominations: “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Abigail Breslin), “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Toni Collette), “Best Film” (Albert Berger, David T. Friendly, and Ron Yerxa), and “David Lean Award for Direction” (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris)

2007 Golden Globes: 2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Toni Collette)



Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Wesley Snipes Pumps Little Life into "Game of Death"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Game of Death (2010)
Running time: 86 minutes (1 hour, 26 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence and language
DIRECTOR: Giorgio Serafini
WRITERS: Jim Agnew and Megan Brown
PRODUCERS: Philippe Martinez, Rafael Primorac, Billy Dietrich
EDITORS: Kevin Budzynski and Todd C. Ramsay


Starring: Wesley Snipes, Gary Daniels, Zoe Bell, Robert Davi, Aunjanue Ellis, Quinn Duffy, Michael Maurice, and Ernie Hudson

Wesley Snipes’ latest straight-to-DVD thriller, Game of Death, only received a theatrical release in Japan. Game of Death is such a low budget action flick that it barely looks better than such high-end, television crime dramas as “NCIS: Los Angeles” and the 2010 “Hawaii Five-O.”

Game of Death centers on CIA Agent Marcus Jones (Wesley Snipes). Marcus has been assigned by his company mentor, Dietrich (Michael Maurice), to act as a bodyguard for an arms dealer, Frank Smith (Robert Davi). Smith has ties to the Detroit-based Redvale Corporation and its owner, John Redvale (Quinn Duffy). Marcus’ assignment is to gather intelligence on Smith and Redvale Corp. before taking them down.

The mission is complicated when Smith falls ill shortly after he and Marcus arrive in Detroit. The mission is compromised when a rogue CIA agent, Zander (Gary Daniels), and his team make a move to kidnap Smith at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Now, Marcus fights his way through a wave of assassins and killers, while Rachel (Aunjanue Ellis), a courageous doctor, tries to save Smith’s life.

Although it shares a title with the movie Bruce Lee was filming when he died in 1973, Snipes’ Game of Death is unlikely to become a legend among film fans. It isn’t bad. It’s just a mediocre movie all around, and what isn’t mediocre is amateurish or substandard – the directing and the writing. I watched this because I am a big fan of Wesley Snipes, but even I have to admit that it was not often I found something entertaining, interesting, or engaging about this movie. I forced myself to find something in this movie to like. If you like Wesley Snipes, rent Game of Death. Why? Just because…?

4 of 10

Friday, March 25, 2011


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Production Begins on "Clash of the Titans" Sequel

Production on “Clash of the Titans 2” Underway for Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Stars Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson Once Again Gods at War

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ epic action adventure sequel to “Clash of the Titans,” being directed by Jonathan Liebesman (“Battle: Los Angeles”). Returning to star in the film are Sam Worthington (“Avatar”) as Perseus, and Academy Award® nominees Ralph Fiennes (“The English Patient,” the “Harry Potter” films) as Hades and Liam Neeson (“Schindler’s List,” “Unknown”) as Zeus.

A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus—the demigod son of Zeus—is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius.

Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous underworld.

Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans’ strength grows stronger as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned, and hell is unleashed on earth.

Enlisting the help of the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son, Argenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), Perseus bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

Jonathan Liebesman directs the film from a screenplay by Dan Mazeau & David Leslie Johnson and Steven Knight, story Greg Berlanti & David Leslie Johnson & Dan Mazeau, based on the 2010 hit “Clash of the Titans” and the 1981 film of the same name, written by the late Beverley Cross.

The film is produced by Basil Iwanyk (“The Town”), who also produced the previous “Clash of the Titans,” and Polly Cohen Johnsen (“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”). The executive producers are Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, William Fay, Callum McDougall, Kevin De La Noy and Louis Leterrier.

Joining Worthington, Fiennes and Neeson in the international cast are Danny Huston (“Robin Hood”), reprising his role as Poseidon, god of the sea; Edgar Ramírez (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” TV miniseries “Carlos”) as the traitorous god of war, Ares; Bill Nighy (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”) as Hephaestus, whose twisted, lame figure belies his Olympian origins; Toby Kebbell (“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”) as Agenor, imprisoned thief and son of Poseidon who joins Perseus on his journey to Tartarus; and Rosamund Pike (“Barney’s Version”) as Andromeda, the princess whose life Perseus once saved, and who now, as a queen, follows Perseus into battle.

The behind-the-scenes team bringing this mythical epic to life includes director of photography Ben Davis (“The Rite,” “Kick Ass”); production designer Charles Wood (“The Italian Job,” “The A-Team”); Academy Award®-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “V for Vendetta”); and costume designer Jany Temime (the “Harry Potter” films). “Clash of the Titans 2” also reunites several talents from the previous film, including Oscar®-nominated visual effects supervisor Nick Davis (“The Dark Knight,”); Oscar®-nominated prosthetics supervisor Conor O’Sullivan (“The Dark Knight,” “Saving Private Ryan”); and Academy Award®-winning special effects and animatronics supervisor Neil Corbould (“Gladiator”). Also on board are Oscar®-nominated makeup designer Paul Engelen (“Frankenstein,” “Robin Hood”) and hair designer Kevin Alexander (“Robin Hood,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”).

“Clash of the Titans 2” will be filming in studios outside London and will later shoot on location in Surrey, South Wales and in the Spanish Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife. The film is currently scheduled for release in March 2012.

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Thunder Road Film, “Clash of the Titans 2” is being co-produced by Furia de Titanes II, A.I.E. and COTT Productions and will be distributed in 3D and 2D worldwide by Warner Bros. Entertainment Companies.

Review: "Mother and Child" Honest and Real

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mother and Child (2009/2010)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hour, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, brief nudity, and language
PRODUCERS: Lisa Maria Falcone and Julie Lynn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Xavier Pérez Grobet (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Steven Weisberg
Image Award winner


Starring: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Cherry Jones, Elpidia Carrillo, Shareeka Epps, David Morse, Eileen Ryan, Amy Brenneman, and David Ramsey

Mother and Child is an ensemble drama film released in 2010, after premiering at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Focusing on the complications and complexities of motherhood and adoption, the film is poignant, powerful, and even beautiful. It is also sometimes grueling to watch.

Mother and Child opens almost 40 years earlier on a scene in which a 14-year-old girl prepares to have sex with a teen boy. She gets pregnant and later gives up her baby for adoption. 37 years later, we learn that the baby is Elizabeth Joyce (Naomi Watts), a high-powered attorney returning to Los Angeles, the place of her birth. Elizabeth takes a job at a law firm owned by a man named Paul (Samuel L. Jackson). Elizabeth begins an affair with Paul, but this is but one affair of many for a woman who uses her sex appeal to have the upper hand in situations in which she does not have control.

Meanwhile, her birth mother, Karen (Annette Bening), is a 50-something physical therapist still riddled by the guilt of giving up her baby. Although initially resistant, she begins a relationship with Paco (Jimmy Smits), a co-worker who seems to be therapeutic for Karen. At the same time, a small businesswoman, Lucy (Kerry Washington), and her husband, Joseph (David Ramsey), begin the process of adoption. However, the birthmother, a difficult young woman named Ray (Shareeka Epps), interrogates Lucy and seems hostile to Joseph.

Top to bottom, Mother and Child is filled with splendid acting, and there isn’t an actor, regardless of the size of his or her part, who does not deliver the kind of first-class performance that a professional actor should always give. Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Sam Jackson, and Shareeka Epps give distinctive performances that add both surprising nuance to a film that rages with dark emotions and strong feelings (particularly anger, bitterness, and regret).

Writer and director Rodrigo García composed a sumptuous screenplay rich with characters and vivid characterizations. It is Garcia’s directing, however, that is the star here, as he gives his actors the space they need to develop these characters and to deliver on the characters’ promise without slowing the film.

Still, there are moments in Mother and Child that feel contrived and overwrought, as if Garcia doesn’t trust his cast to deliver or his audience to understand his film, which is as spiritual as it is dramatic. Garcia captures how vulnerable people are when they open themselves to relationships, and he accurately depicts the bitterness people feel over perceived betrayals. Sometimes the raw emotions are too much to bear (or watch). As good as this film is, and Mother and Child is exceptionally good, I sometimes got a feeling or a notion that things were a little overdone. But don’t let that keep you from seeing one of 2010’s very best films.

8 of 10

2011 Black Reel Awards: 2 nominations: “Best Supporting Actor” (Samuel L. Jackson) and “Best Supporting Actress” (Shareeka Epps)

2011 Image Awards: 1 win: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Samuel L. Jackson); 2 nominations: “Outstanding Independent Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture-Theatrical or Television” (Rodrigo García)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" on DVD September 2011

From the visionary Director Julie Taymor (Frida) comes a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece in the visually stunning and innovative feature film THE TEMPEST. Available nationwide on Blu-ray™, DVD, Movie Download, and On-Demand on September 13, 2011.

Film Synopsis:
This modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s final masterpiece is an exciting, mystical and magical fantasy with Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, The Queen, 2006) leading a star-studded cast including Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek) and Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice). Exiled to a magical island, the sorceress Prospera (Mirren) conjures up a storm that shipwrecks her enemies, and then unleashes her powers for revenge. Directed by Julie Taymor (Frida) — and complete with exclusive bonus features — The Tempest, with its innovative twist, is a supernatural dramedy filled with Shakespearean villains, lovers and fools that will leave you spellbound.

U.S. Release Date:
September 13, 2011
(Direct Prebook July 19, 2011/ Distributor Prebook August 2, 2011)

Rating: PG 13 - for some nudity, suggestive content and scary images
Feature Run Time: Approximately 110-minutes
Release Format: Blu-ray™, DVD, Movie Download & On-Demand
Suggested Retail Price: 1-Disc Blu-ray = $39.99 U.S.
1-Disc DVD = $29.99 U.S.
Movie Download High Definition = $39.99 U.S.
Movie Download Standard Definition = $29.99 U.S.
On-Demand = for pricing, please contact your television provider or favorite digital retailer

Bonus Features:
Audio Commentary with Director Julie Taymor Russell Brand Rehearsal Riff
O MISTRESS MINE Reeve Carney Music Video
And more!

Helen Mirren (The Debt, State of Play, The Queen)
Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek; Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Prince of Persia, An Education)
Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond)
Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife,” It’s Complicated)
Chris Cooper (Remember Me, The Kingdom)
David Straitharn (The Bourne Ultimatum)

Julie Taymor (Frida, Broadway’s The Lion King and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark)
Julie Taymor (Frida, Broadway’s The Lion King and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) and Ronald Bozeman (Confessions of a Shopaholic)

Review: Elizabeth Taylor Roars in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 39 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) – B&W
Running time: 131 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Mike Nichols
WRITER/PRODUCER: Ernest Lehman (from the play by Edward Albee)
EDITOR: Sam O’Steen
Academy Award winner


Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis

At a New England college, on the serene campus grounds, in their disordered campus home, George (Richard Burton), an emasculated professor, and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), his rancorous emasculating wife, have returned from a faculty party at about two in the morning. Martha is already drunk, and they both start drinking more while their conversations turns to bellows and accusations aimed at each other, a disagreeable autopsy on the corpse that their marriage isn’t… yet. Soon, the couple’s guests arrive – Nick (George Segal), a new junior professor, and his fragile wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis). Before long, the warring duo of George and Martha suck the young couple into their whirlpool of wrenching disclosures, petty name-calling, and endless antagonism, which before long is also starting to open up the dark places in Nick and Honey’s marriage.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is director Mike Nichols adaptation of Edward Albee’s famous play about a couple whose marriage is a maelstrom created by their feelings of anger, guilt, and frustration with each other. Nichols, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton actually used Albee’s original play as the script, retaining only two lines of dialogue from producer/writer Ernest Lehman’s script adaptation of the stage drama, so the audience pretty much gets the full effect of Albee’s original writing.

Simply put: Martha is angry at George’s despairing view of life, and that his ambition was satisfied when he got the job at the university (where her father, whom we never see, is President) and he married her. George, on the other hand, apparently understands, but is not wholly sympathetic with Martha’s struggle to connect with him, especially as they couldn’t have children. Her passive/aggressive way of dealing with what she sees as his shortcomings drive George to contemplate violent harm to Martha. The young couple, Nick and Honey, are simply getting an advance view of where their marriage will be because their problems are similar to George and Martha’s, but still in their infancy stage.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the screen version, is difficult to watch because of the frank and brutal conversations – the vitriol. With only some artifice, Nichols allows the actors to commit to playing this intricate drama that is held together not only by physical acting, but also by concisely delivered lines of dialogue from competing speakers, intertwining and battling. Truthfully, the movie tends to dry up in several spaces, and it is easily a half-hour too long, but where to cut? This, in a sense, is a thriller, and the action is in the build up to every topic of conversation that becomes an argument, confession, or trust betrayed.

The film has excellent production values, from the gorgeous dreamlike Oscar-winning black and white photography of Haskell Wexler to the otherworldly, Oscar-winning set decoration and art direction. The cast is also excellent, and while Richard Burton does a top-notch professional job, Elizabeth Taylor’s turn as the ultimate bitch is a career changer. Some people tend to remember Taylor as a tough woman, best exemplified by her performance as Martha delivering countless verbal body blows to Burton’s George, while he cuts and stabs at her in self-defense.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is not for the feint of heart or people who don’t like films built around conversations and dialogue – all that talk-talk, but if you like that, this is an embarrassment of riches.

7 of 10

1967 Academy Awards: 5 wins: “Best Actress in a Leading Role” (Elizabeth Taylor), “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” (Sandy Dennis), “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White” (Richard Sylbert and George James Hopkins), “Best Cinematography, Black-and-White” (Haskell Wexler), “Best Costume Design, Black-and-White” (Irene Sharaff); 8 nominations: “Best Picture” (Ernest Lehman), “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Richard Burton), “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (George Segal), “Best Director” (Mike Nichols), “Best Film Editing” (Sam O'Steen), “Best Music, Original Music Score” (Alex North), “Best Sound” George Groves-Warner Bros. SSD), “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium” (Ernest Lehman)

1967 BAFTA Awards: 3 wins: “Best British Actor” (Richard Burton), “Best British Actress” (Elizabeth Taylor), and “Best Film from any Source” (Mike Nichols)

1967 Golden Globes: 7 nominations: “Best Motion Picture – Drama. “Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama” (Richard Burton), “Best Motion Picture Actress – Drama” (Elizabeth Taylor), “Best Motion Picture Director” (Mike Nichols), “Best Screenplay’ (Ernest Lehman), “Best Supporting Actor” (George Segal), and “Best Supporting Actress” (Sandy Dennis)

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Elizabeth Taylor Has Died at 79

I watching CBS' dreadful "The Early Show."  As usual, they managed to find what I call a "dead white girl" story, but during the broadcast of this tragic story, one of the news personalities broke in to report that one of the greatest white girls of all time, Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), had died.  Huffington Post and Cinema Blend have more.

R.I.P. Ms. Taylor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Production Officially Begins on "The Hobbit"

Production Begins in New Zealand on “The Hobbit,” Peter Jackson’s Two Film Epic Adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Timeless Classic

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Production has commenced in Wellington, New Zealand, on “The Hobbit,” filmmaker Peter Jackson’s two film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s widely read masterpiece.

“The Hobbit” is set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The two films, with screenplays by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, will be shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming will take place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

“The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Martin Freeman takes the title role as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns in the role of Gandalf the Grey. The Dwarves are played by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Ken Stott (Balin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), William Kircher (Bifur) James Nesbitt (Bofur), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Rob Kazinsky (Fili), Aidan Turner (Kili), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), John Callen (Oin), Jed Brophy (Nori), Mark Hadlow (Dori) and Adam Brown (Ori). Reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Elijah Wood as Frodo. Jeffrey Thomas and Mike Mizrahi also join the cast as Dwarf Kings Thror and Thrain, respectively. Further casting announcements are expected.

“The Hobbit” is produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, alongside Carolynne Cunningham. Executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens as co-producer. The Oscar-winning, critically acclaimed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, also from the production team of Jackson and Walsh, grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box office. In 2003, “The Return of the King” swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture – the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The trilogy’s production was also unprecedented at the time.

Among the creative behind-the-scenes team returning to Jackson’s crew are director of photography Andrew Lesnie, production designer Dan Hennah, conceptual designers Alan Lee and John Howe, composer Howard Shore and make-up and hair designer Peter King. Costumes are designed by Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor.

Taylor is also overseeing the design and production of weaponry, armour and prosthetics which are once again being made by the award winning Weta Workshop. Weta Digital take on the visual effects for both films, led by the film’s visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. Post production will take place at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

“The Hobbit” films are co-produced by New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM. The two films are planned for release in late 2012 and 2013, respectively.

New Line Cinema continues to be one of the most successful independent film companies. For more than 40 years, its mission has been to produce innovative, popular, profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Line produced the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which is a landmark in the history of film franchises. New Line Cinema is a division of Warner Bros.

Peter Jackson is one of the world's most successful filmmakers. His monumental achievement co-writing, co-producing and directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy (with fellow Academy Award winners and frequent collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) earned a total of 30 Academy Award nominations and 17 Academy Awards. Jackson and Walsh received their first Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for their acclaimed film Heavenly Creatures. Jackson, through his New Zealand-based Wingnut Films banner, also was responsible for the globally successful 2005 remake of King Kong which earned over $500 million worldwide and 3 Academy Awards. Jackson most recently directed the Academy Award nominated The Lovely Bones; an adaptation of the acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, which to date has earned nearly $100 million worldwide; and produced the global sensation, District 9, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He is also developing a trilogy of films with Steven Spielberg based on Tintin, the world renowned comic book series by Herge. In 2010 he received a Knighthood for his services to film.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world's largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in domestic and international TV channels reaching over 130 countries. For more information, visit

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: "Nil by Mouth" (Happy B'day, Gary Oldman)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 29 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Nil by Mouth (1997)
Running time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
MPAA – R for graphic drug use, non-stop strong language, brutal domestic violence and some nudity
PRODUCERS: Luc Besson, Gary Oldman, and Douglas Urbanski
EDITOR: Brad Fuller
COMPOSER: Eric Clapton
BAFTA Award winner


Starring: Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Doré, Chrisse Cotterill, Jon Morrison, Jamie Foreman, Steve Sweeney, and Leah Fitzgerald

Nil by Mouth is acclaimed actor Gary Oldman’s directorial debut. It’s what I call “cinema de unflinching,” in particular that “cinema’s” sub-genre “film de raw.” Oldman, an extremely talented actor who can simultaneously bury himself in a role and also exude movie star wattage, composed a film that stands as one of the most powerful family dramas of the 1990’s because of its dogged pursuit of portraying the effects of drugs and alcohol on a poor family in notorious South London.

Ray (Ray Winstone) is a coke snorting, alcoholic bully who brow beats his wife Valerie (Kathy Burke) and his brother-in-law, Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles), who lives with the couple. After Raymond savagely attacks Billy and kicks him out of the apartment, both men spiral downward, as Ray drinks more and becomes more paranoid and Billy does little other than feed his dope habit. Meanwhile, Val and the rest of the women in the family valiantly hold the family together and look for a few good times in a drug-addled world of poverty and crushing of claustrophobia.

The film starts off quite slowly, and I am certain that it will be difficult for many non-Brits to understand the London dialects (as it was for me). Still, the acting is good, quite good, actually. Oldman gives this film a good pace and a high level of intensity, considering that this film is heavy with the kind of dialogue that reveals character. However, when Nil by Mouth bogs down on a plot point, it is almost anal, and I occasionally found myself drifting away from it. Nil by Mouth is raw and unflinching, but it did not always hold my attention. Still, the script is well-written and well thought out; when you consider the movie as a whole, the screenplay seems rather brilliant.

All in all, Nil by Mouth is a satisfying and rewarding film viewing experience. Oldman makes the right choice in terms of satisfying the audience by letting his film family work through their difficulties. Rather than call it a Hollywood ending, I’ll describe it as artfully handled.

7 of 10

1998 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Luc Besson, Douglas Urbanski, and Gary Oldman) and “Best Screenplay – Original” (Gary Oldman); 2 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Ray Winstone) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Kathy Burke)

1997 Cannes Film Festival: 1 win: “Best Actress” (Kathy Burke) and 1 nomination: “Golden Palm” (Gary Oldman)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Aussie "Animal Kingdom" is Awesome

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Animal Kingdom (2010)
Running time: 113 minutes (1 hour, 53 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence, drug content and pervasive language
EDITOR: Luke Doolan
COMPOSER: Antony Partos
Academy Award nominee


Starring: James Frecheville, Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, and Laura Wheelwright

Often, I am reluctant to just come right out and say, “Go see this movie!” When it comes to the Australian crime drama, Animal Kingdom, the debut film from writer/director David Michôd, I cannot hesitate to say, “See this movie!” and “It’s on DVD for your home viewing comfort.”

Animal Kingdom follows Joshua Daniel “J” Cody (James Frecheville). After his mother, Julia Cody, dies of a heroine overdose, J goes to live with his maternal grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody (Jacki Weaver), the matriarch of a Melbourne-based crime family. Eldest son, Andrew “Pope” Cody (Ben Mendelsohn) and family friend, Barry “Baz” Brown (Joel Edgerton) are armed robbers. Craig Cody (Sullivan Stapleton) is a mid-level drug dealer, and barely legal Darren Cody (Luke Ford) is an up and coming apprentice to the crime family.

The family is under surveillance by Melbourne’s notorious Armed Robbery Squad. After the Squad strikes first, the Cody brothers strike back. Suddenly, J is the prize in a cat and mouse game between Janine and her sons and the police, personified by a senior detective named Nathan Leckie (Guy Pearce). Now, J has to make a decision that will determine where he belongs – with his relatives or somewhere else.

With all the critical acclaim that Animal Kingdom has received, it would be redundant to go over the film’s highlights in detail. Animal Kingdom is very well acted, and Jacki Weaver certainly deserved the Oscar nomination she received for best supporting actress. Ben Mendelsohn also deserved an Oscar nomination (which he didn’t get) for his stunning turn as Pope, one of the year’s best performances. Luke Ford is quite good in a quiet way as the reluctant and hapless Darren. James Frecheville is a bit stiff as J, but has some moments in the film where he shines.

I must reserve time to heap praise on writer/director David Michôd. I don’t know him well enough to call him a liar, but this cannot be his debut film. Really? This is really good, and it’s his first?

Anyway, not only is Animal Kingdom well written and exceptionally well directed, it is also different from the standard crime family flick. Michôd composes this film with J as the center, but after introducing J, Michôd brings him to the Cody household and then, moves him into the background. There, J becomes the eyes and ears through which Michôd both introduces to and immerses us in the world of the Cody crime family. By the time J returns to the forefront (when he is asked to participate in the act that launches this film’s central conflict), the narrative is ready to focus on him again.

The way Michôd uses J and directs the actor playing him, James Frecheville, gives an odd, otherworldly feel to this film, which is good. Instead of being bloody and gritty, Animal Kingdom is a matter of fact examination of the police and the thieves, presenting both sides as predators always on the lookout for prey they can uses to their advantage. This different way of presenting a crime film, the exceptional character writing, riveting plot, and excellent performances make Animal Kingdom one of 2010’s best movies.

9 of 10

2011 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Jacki Weaver)

2011 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Jacki Weaver)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" is Still a Steve Carell Showcase

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 133 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Running time: 116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
MPAA – R for pervasive sexual content, language, and some drug use
DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow
WRITERS: Steve Carell and Judd Apatow
PRODUCERS: Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend, and Judd Apatow
EDITOR: Brent White


Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, Gerry Bednob, Shelley Malil, Kat Dennings, Erica Vittina Phillips, Cedric Yarbrough, David Koechner, Lee Weaver, Gloria Helena Jones, and Nancy Walls

Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) has never “done the deed,” or, to put it more plainly, Andy has never had sexual intercourse. That makes the avid toy collector, video gaming enthusiast, and comic book reader a 40 year-old virgin. When his co-workers: the three randy bastards, David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogen), accidentally discover Andy’s situation, they immediately want to help him get his cherry popped.

After a series of misadventures, Andy is once again ready to accept that he will never have sexual intercourse, but fate brings him into contact with Trish (Catherine Keener), a single mother of three children and a grandmother of one. Andy and Trish become very close and decide to have a platonic relationship until they get to know each other. However, when the time finally arrives for them to get intimate, Andy is still having reservations…

The 40 Year-Old Virgin could have been nothing more than a shameless excuse to make a tawdry film aimed at teenagers and 20-somethings – full of bad jokes about virginity, loosing one’s virginity and having awkward first-time sex. Instead the film is only half that. Sure, there is plenty of gross humor and embarrassingly frank discussions of sexuality. In fact much of the sex talk is the kind of triple-blue tales guys tell each other when they’re not in polite company because together they aren’t polite company.

Romany Malco and Seth Rogen gamely lead the charge unleashing a barrage of X-rated storytelling that tops the wretched bragging that is a stable on B.E.T.’s “ComicView,” but Malco and Rogen are 10 times funnier. In fact, this is a breakthrough performance for Malco, who deft plays Jay as both comically and as a hypocrite. Both he and Rogen should have long film careers playing “the buddy” to a big name star’s turn as a struggling romantic. However, the third member of the support trio is limply played by Paul Rudd, but it’s not entirely his fault; the script gives him a few good scenes, and then leaves both him and the audience hanging for more of the obviously complicated David.

One thing that The 40 Year-Old Virgin’s screenplay (co-written by the director Judd Apatow and Steve Carell) has going for it is its sense of realness. There is a naturalness to the individual scenes that suggests the truth of real life. What the script lacks is a cohesive sense of honesty. Some things are true; others are just plot contrivances designed to make an outsider tale seem like normal Hollywood fare. In fact, since the writers chose to gloss over the supporting characters, they made the film too long by ten minutes. They could have given those 10 minutes to Catherine Keener so her character, Trish, wouldn’t only come across as a cardboard, sympathetic mother figure and cherry popper – a waste of a powerful actress for sure.

Ultimately, the main reason to see this film is Steve Carell; the seemingly humble actor (at least he comes across that way in interviews) has quietly delivered a number of roles, stunning in how good they are for their smallness, in films such as Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Here, he plays a 40 year-old virgin not as a pathetic figure, but a man to be pitied because he has so willingly bought into a life of loneliness. This is especially sad because he’s the proverbial quiet and shy guy who is really a good fellow, and would make a fine pal.

While The 40 Year-Old Virgin’s script is soft, the film’s actors build their roles into characters that the audience wants to like and finally do. Carell, more than anyone else in this film, builds a guy in Andy Stitzer who is so likeable that the audience accepts everything about him, including his many quirks and eccentricities. In the real world, a lot of people wouldn’t recognize or pay attention to a guy like Andy. Carell amazingly turns Andy into an ideal, a perfection of nerd, if you will; Andy is the kind of dork that you could love, root for, cheer, and go out of your way to help.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin has been compared to an earlier 2005 summer hit, Wedding Crashers, but the latter is funnier by far. However, both films make up for crassness with engaging tales of romantic entanglements. Virgin isn’t perfect, and Steve Carell’s performance is more memorable than the film, which in the end may be remembered as a star-making vehicle for him. Although that ending has got to go, the film is daring in so many ways. It’s one of the very few “mainstream” comedies that have almost as many African-American roles as the typical “urban comedy” (comedy with a lot of black characters), and an actress (Catherine Keener) who is older than the male lead (Carell) playing the love interest. That alone makes it a class act.

7 of 10

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Friday, March 18, 2011

Kevin Costner Cast as Jonathan Kent in Upcoming "Superman" Film Reboot

Kevin Costner Cast as Jonathan Kent in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Upcoming Superman Movie
BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Kevin Costner will play Jonathan Kent, the father who raised Clark Kent as his own son, in the new Superman movie to be directed by Zack Snyder.

Snyder stated, “Jonathan Kent is the only father figure Clark has ever had, the man who was there to help Clark understand what he was meant to do in the world as Superman. Kevin will be able to communicate the quiet strength of this rural American man who raised the greatest super hero of all time.”

Costner will star alongside Diane Lane, who plays his wife, Martha, and the film’s star, Henry Cavill, who will play the new Clark Kent/Superman.

Costner most recently starred in 2010’s “The Company Men,” and is currently in development on the comedy “The One.” He has won two Academy Awards®, for producing and directing the epic “Dances with Wolves,” also garnering a nomination for Best Actor. He has also starred in a wide range of memorable films, including “The Untouchables,” “No Way Out,” “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “JFK,” “The Bodyguard,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Tin Cup” and “Swing Vote,” to name a few.

Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

The new Superman movie will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Review: "Set It Off" (Happy B'day, Queen Latifah)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 63 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Set It Off (1996)
Running time: 123 minutes (2 hours, 3 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong graphic violence, pervasive language, some sex and drug use
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
WRITERS: Takashi Buford and Kate Lanier; from a story by Takashi Buford
PRODUCERS: Oren Koules and Dale Pollock
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Marc Reshovsky (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: John Carter
Image Award nominee


Starring: Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, John C. McGinley, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Ella Joyce, Dr. Dre and Anna Marie Horsford

Set If Off, the second film from music video director F. Gary Gray, was almost the best film ever made about the plight of impoverished African-American women at the turn of the century. Instead, the filmmakers settled on making a film that is a decent drama and a cathartic action movie. Part western and part girl movie, Set If Off resonates with the pain of these female characters although the film only scratches the surface of who the characters are.

After some neighborhood acquaintances of Francesca “Frankie” Sutton’s (Vivica A. Fox) rob the bank where she works and kill a few people, her supervisors at the bank fire her because they find the fact that she knew the culprits disturbing. Her diligence and hard work (only a day prior, she’d counted $240,000 by hand to help one of her bosses) don’t matter one bit. Detective Strode (John C. McGinley), the lead detective in the case, also considers her to be in cahoots with the robbers.

Lida “Stony” Newson (Jada Pinkett) has been plans for her brother Stevie (Chaz Lamar Shepard) to attend UCLA. Stevie is a friend of one of the bank robbers. He visits him after the robbery, and a pack of cowardly, punk cops murders Stevie when they mistake him for the bank robber. Thinking Stevie has a gun, they shoot him down like a dog, only to discover that he was trying to show them that all he had in his jacket was a bottle of champagne a friend had given him for his birthday.

Tired of being on the beating end of the stick, Stony and Frankie join two other downtrodden friends, Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims (Queen Latifah) and Tisean “T.T.” Williams (Kimberly Elise, in a sparkling debut), as bank robbers themselves, to make a little money to get ahead in life and to stick it to the evil, white tyrants who go out of their way to oppress a sister.

This movie could have been so much more than it ended up being, maybe an intense urban drama about what these young women go through and the ends they meet when they finally lash out (perhaps blindly and unwisely) at the world for their pain. However, I will review this movie for what it is. The drama is about average. I caught on to what the story was about; I felt the sisters’ pain. Still, other than Stony, the film mostly relegates the characters to being ciphers, and the script only skims the surface of Stony’s character, for that matter. The filmmakers feel compelled to spend much of the film’s time detailing the intricacies and violence of bank robbery, and they do that quite well. As robbers, the four women are clumsy, but they’re raw and eager. Their crimes are swift and abrupt, and Gray presents it all in a bracing fashion in which the camera lovingly follows the ladies’ every move.

I wanted this film to be more, but, honestly, I really enjoyed what I got. The drama, as mishandled as it was, it still touching and visceral, and the action had me cheering my girls every step of the way. As things fall apart for them, I couldn’t help but feel the emotions and bond they shared, both strong enough to make them sacrifice for one another.

The acting is also quite good. This was a breakthrough role for Queen Latifah, who is full of snarling and barely checked rage; the camera loves her. Ms. Pinkett easily revealed the depth of her talent as a strong dramatic actress, but this performance didn’t earn her lots of new roles, being of the jigaboo persuasion. Ms. Fox’s character barely registers, but that’s the fault of the script. This was a good start for Ms. Elise; her large expressive eyes make her a film natural in her ability to convey feelings.

For all its shortcomings, Set It Off is a very good film, and we need more like it, albeit of a higher quality, that detail the hard lives of poor people and their willingness to fight back when they need to. See this film, and then watch it again.

7 of 10

1997 Image Awards: 3 nominations: “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture” (Jada Pinkett Smith), “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture” (Queen Latifah) and “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Blair Underwood)


New People to Screen "Hula Girls" for Japanese Tsunami Relief


Award Winning Film Set in Fukushima Prefecture Plays On March 26th And Offers A Heartwarming Story That Is A Testament To The Enduring Human Spirit

NEW PEOPLE, the nation’s only entertainment complex dedicated to Japanese popular culture, will present a special screening of director Lee Sang-il’s celebrated film, HULA GIRLS, to raise funds for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. HULA GIRLS will screen on Saturday, March 26th at 2:00pm, 4:30pm and 7:00pm. Suggested donations are $10.00 or more per person. NEW PEOPLE is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown at 1746 Post St.

Proceeds from the screenings will be donated to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, administered by JCCCNC and Union Bank in San Francisco’s Japantown. More information on the screenings and the work of this relief organization is available at:

A heartwarming film, HULA GIRLS is set in Fukushima prefecture, site of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that was heavily damaged during the recent earthquake and tsunami on March 11th. HULA GIRLS was Japan’s official entry to the 2007 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category and also won four Japanese Academy Awards the same year including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

“The world was stunned by the damage and tragic loss of life from the recent earthquake and we invite audiences to donate to the recovery efforts and attend the screening of this uplifting film that is set in the area of Japan that was affected by the disaster,” says Seiji Horibuchi, president of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. “HULA GIRLS is a moving testament to the indomitable human spirit and we hope its story inspires audiences to contribute to the ongoing relief efforts that are now underway.”

Based on a true story set in 1965, the desolate and declining mining town of Iwaki, located in Fukushima prefecture in Northern Japan, tries to revive itself by building a Hawaiian-themed resort. The featured attraction is to be a hula show, but in this isolated place far from the tropical bliss of Hawaii there are no palm trees or hula dancers. In fact, no one knows how to do the dance or even knows what the hula is! The town leaders invite a dance instructor from Tokyo to teach the local minors' daughters how to hula, but conservative townspeople are initially resistant to the provocative dance. The skepticism and conservatism of the locals is gradually overcome as their daughters fall under the spell of the talented and determined dance instructor from Tokyo.

Once a leading performer, the instructor at first looks down on the coal miners and their amateurish daughters, but the girls’ sincere dedication gradually rekindles a passion in her. Each dealing with their own harsh lives, the local girls find a new lease on life and, for the first time, support in their friendships as they absorb the essence of hula dancing. The film has been praised as an enchanting story of women who take once-in-a-lifetime chances to escape their monotonous lives, only to become unwitting heroes to their depressed mining town as well as the whole of Japan.

About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. ( offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan through its unique entertainment destination as well as through licensing and distribution of selective Japanese films. NEW PEOPLE Entertainment (, a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, GANTZ, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, and THE TASTE OF TEA.