Sunday, July 31, 2011

Negromancer News Bits and Bites July 31 2011 - Weekend Edition

News for me and news for y'all:

A Dark Knight Rises News Alert!  Total Film has found several set pictures of Tom Hardy in one of his Bane costumes.

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They're rioting in the streets. Lawd! Two theatre chains, Regal and AMC, have cancelled showings of the documentary, Electric Daisy Carnival Experience, after violence erupted at the Hollywood premiere earlier this week.  The documentary is about the Electric Daisy Carnival, an annual electronic music festival or rave.

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The New York Times has a short article on Steven Spielberg's busy year, which will end with two films he has directed, Tintin and War Horse.

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At the recently concluded 2011 Comic-Con International in San Diego, Francis Ford Coppola talked about his 3D film, Twixt.  Reuters has the story and an interview.

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Over at the excellent Box Office Mojo, Brandon Gray puts a beatdown on the lies being told by supporters of the Sarah Palin clownumentary... I mean documentary and propaganda puff piece, The Undefeated.

Happy B'Day, Wesley Snipes: Blade II

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Blade II (2002)
Running time: 117 minutes (1 hour, 57 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong pervasive violence, language, some drug use and sexual content
DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro
WRITER: David S. Goyer (Blade based upon the character created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan)
PRODUCERS: Peter Frankfurt, Patrick J. Palmer, and Wesley Snipes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gabriel Beristain (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Peter Amundson
COMPOSER: Marco Beltrami

ACTION/FANTASY/HORROR/MARTIAL ARTS

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matthew Schulze, Danny John-Jules, and Donnie Yen

The human/vampire warrior Blade (Wesley Snipes) returns to do his thing, which is hunt and destroy vampires. While in Prague, Czech Republic to rescue his old partner Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), Blade receives a summons from Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann), the overlord of vampires. A new breed of creatures, The Reapers, is loose, and they feed on both humans and vampires. Damaskinos has formed a vampire tactical unit dubbed the Bloodpack to hunt the Reapers, but he also wants Blade’s assistance and offers a truce. The Reapers, however, led by the powerful Nomak (Luke Goss), prove to be a formidable foe.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Mimic), Blade II is that rare sequel that not only surpasses the original in quality, but also manages to be very different than the original. This is primarily through the efforts of del Toro; his sense of visual style has a huge impact upon this movie, and the look is seemingly based on art rather than music videos. (Stephen Norrington, the director of Blade, was also a director of music videos). He plays with light (natural and artificial) and darkness to set mood and tone, but also to suggest character motivation and plot elements. del Toro works like a painter, and he makes Blade 2 a wild ride, but reveals a thoughtful composition behind the camera.

In fact, the art department played a huge role in the look of the film. Wayne D. Barlow, the head creature designer, is famous in science fiction and fantasy circles for his drawings of aliens. Mike Mignola, the concept artist, worked on Atlantis: The Lost Continent for Disney. Timothy Bradstreet, a comic book artist and illustrator like Mignola and like Blade 2 storyboard artist Leo Duranona, designed the vampires in this film. Bradstreet’s work, according to him, probably influenced the look of the Blade character in the first film.

The dark and decayed look of inner city Prague is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing even in the dankest and dirtiest sections. Kudos to the art directors and set decorators; they manage to make Blade 2 one of the most gorgeous looking movies ever that used low rent sets.

The eclecticism of the cast also adds to the aura of this movie. Snipes is clearly more confident and more comfortable in his role. He dropped his monotone delivery from the first film for more effective banter this time around, and he portrays Blade throughout this film more as the bold warrior who finished off the original film than the one we first saw.

Kristofferson’s role is a little weightier this go round. Whistler has an air of mystery and intrigue about him, and every time he is on screen, there is something about him that makes you wonder about his motivations. His verbal jousts with his replacement Scud (Norman Reedus) brings a little humor to the film.

Although Kretschmann and Goss are good in their respective roles as Damaskinos and Nomak, the Bloodpack are the true supporting vampire stars. Leonor Varela as Nyssa, Damaskinos’s daughter, brings beauty and a hint of sexuality to these mostly male proceedings. Fight choreographer Donnie Yen also has a small role as Bloodpack member Snowman. Ron Perlman also does a nice turn as Reinhardt, Blade’s opposite in the Bloodpack.

Visually exciting, intriguing, and beautiful, Blade 2 is unique horror movie simply because of the way it looks. It is an exciting action movie filled with leather suits and high tech chop-socky. The CGI fights scenes are a little off in some instances, but for the most part are very good and only add to Blade 2’s exceptional look; it gives the movie the feel of being something other than just another violent action movie. The fight scene between Nyssa and Asad (Danny John-Jules of the British sci-fi television series “Red Dwarf”) against Blade, alone, is worth the price of admission because it tops anything in the first film. It stands with some of the good fight scenes found in Hong Kong movies (thanks to Donnie Yen).

Guillermo del Toro has created a special cinematic visual experience in Blade 2, which adds to the appeal of seeing his other work. Simply put, in popular parlance, Blade 2 rocks, and it is worth repeated viewings.

8 of 10
A


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Half of "The Lincoln Lawyer" Remains Unseen

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 65 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Running time: 118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – R for some violence, sexual content and language
DIRECTOR: Brad Furman
WRITER: John Romano (based upon the novel by Michael Connelly)
PRODUCERS: Sidney Kimmel, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Scott Steindorff, and Richard S. Wright
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lukas Ettlin (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Jeff McEvoy
COMPOSER: Cliff Martinez

DRAMA/CRIME/MYSTERY/THRILLER

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Bob Gunton, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston, Trace Adkins, Laurence Mason, Margarita Levieva, Pell James, Shea Whigham, Michael Paré, and Reggie Baker

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 courtroom drama and legal thriller starring Matthew McConaughey as the lead character, Mickey Haller. The film is based upon the 2005 novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, the first book in the Mickey Haller series from American crime writer, Michael Connelly.

Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a criminal defense attorney who operates around Los Angeles County in a Lincoln Town Car, currently driven by his chauffer, Earl (Laurence Mason). Haller has spent his career defending the usual suspects (drug dealers, murderers), but he has just landed the case of his career. Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy, has been charged in the brutal beating of a sex worker, Regina Campo (Margarita Levieva). Mickey’s sleazy reputation and Roulet’s tastes for prostitutes, however, only complicate an already difficult case.

I have not read the book upon which The Lincoln Lawyer is based, so I don’t know how close the movie is to novel. Watching this film, I got the idea that screenwriter John Romano and director Brad Furman certainly tried to squeeze as much of the novel as they could into the movie. As good as this film is, a lot of the story seems to be happening offstage or off-camera, in this case. I lost track of how many times, supporting and minor characters ran up to McConaughey’s Mickey Haller and talked about something big they did or found out for him. I kept thinking, “Did I miss something?” It is as if half of the movie takes place out of sight, and only the half with Haller actually happens in front of the audience. That makes many of the film’s twist and turns and sudden revelations seem contrived and arbitrary.

However, I do think that Matthew McConaughey gives a very good, layered, and textured performance, one that makes Haller, who is way too sleazy, an engaging character that you might want to follow around L.A. This is probably the best performance of McConaughey’s career and certainly his best turn as a dramatic actor in a long time. He makes The Lincoln Lawyer worth seeing. He makes a problematic legal thriller something of a thrill to watch.

6 of 10
B

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Friday, July 29, 2011

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for July 29 2012: The Dark Knight! Red Nails! and More!

Here's some stuff I like and some you might like:

The Dark Knight Rises News: Thompson on Hollywood alerted me to this story in the Pittsburgh Business Times.  Batman and crew are in the Steel City to film Chris Nolan's third Batman flick.

When you’re making a large-scale action film that has to showcase the vitality and size of a large American city,” director Christopher Nolan told The Pittsburgh Business Times, “it also involves a certain amount of disruption to that city in order to make the action credible on screen.”

I'll try to keep you up to date on Batman... if y'all want me to...

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DreamWorks Animation CEO and Disney exile Jeffrey Katzenberg says movies suck now in this CNN Money interview:

"Today the thing that is probably most askew in Hollywood is the issue of marketability versus playability, and what that really means is that there is this sort of unholy alliance that has existed forever between art and commerce, show and biz. Today, it's out of balance, and it's too much on the biz, too much on the commerce, too much on the marketability. … The last seven or eight months of movies is the worst lineup of movies you've experienced in the last five years of your life. They suck. It's unbelievable how bad movies have been."

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Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch looks at what's next for the cast of Harry Potter in the wake of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  Draco Malfoy is in Rise of the Planet of the Apes!

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George Lucas is finally unleashing Red Tails, the World War II drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary African-American fighter pilot squad who battled Nazis abroad and discrimination at home in the good old U.S. of A.  January 20, 2012, kids.  Entertainment Weekly has the trailer..

"Wild Wild West" Another Weird Western Disappointment

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 11 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux


Wild Wild West (1999)
Running time: 106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for action violence, sex references and innuendo
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITERS: S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, and Peter S. Seaman; based on the screen story by Jim Thomas and John Thomas
PRODUCERS: Jon Peters and Barry Sonnenfeld
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Ballhaus
EDITOR: Jim Miller
COMPOSER: Elmer Bernstein

ACTION/ADVENTURE/FANTASY/SCI-FI/WESTERN

Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Selma Hayek, M. Emmett Walsh, Ted Levine, Garcelle Beauvais, and Ling Bai

Wild Wild West is a 1999 science fiction film starring Will Smith. The film is based upon the 1960s CBS television series, The Wild Wild West. While the TV series features lots of gadgets, the film focuses on bizarre machines and steampunk technology.

Jim West (Will Smith) is a brash gunslinger with a quick mouth. Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) is a U.S. Marshal with a mind for inventions and disguises. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh), an embittered former Confederate, threatens the United States and President Ulysses S. Grant (also played by Kline). President Grant forces West and Gordon to join and to fight Loveless and his diabolical machines. The mismatched pair bickers its way to Loveless as the villain and his most devastating creation awaits the two heroes in Spider Canyon, Utah.

Sonnenfeld first came to acclaim as Joel and Ethan Coen’s cinematographer in films like Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. He went onto shoot When Harry Met Sally and Misery for Rob Reiner. His career as a director has been hit (Get Shorty and Men in Black) and miss (Addams Family Values and For Love or Money). Wild Wild West falls somewhere in between, kind of leaning toward being a miss.

This film allegedly went through many reshoots to up the humor content, and the changes only served to make an already awkward film more awkward. Wild Wild West is a hybrid, and like the television series upon which it is based, “The Wild, Wild West” (1965-70), that was part western, part science fiction, part adventure, the film is also a mish mash of several genres. It is dressed up like a high priced costumed drama circa late 19th Century, set in the Deep South, Washington D. C., and the barren wild West. It has elements of sci-fi, specifically in the assorted gadgets, machines, and inventions. Its characters are clearly modern in their outlook and with their know-it-all sensibilities.

The script, by four veteran Hollywood writers with resumes full of scripts for action movies and cinema of the fantastic, bounces along the wall and stumbles about like a drunk. The plot is simple: stop Lawless before he defeats the U.S. The execution is senseless, very likely because too many hands were involved. No one person with a single vision was really in charge. West has many moments of genuine comedy and a few decent action sequences, but at its heart, it is a badly constructed, weak movie.

Will Smith does his best to carry the load, and his character is both brash and funny. His humor never comes across as strained, and Smith is seemingly comfortable acting captain of this sinking ship. His personality is lively, and his face, whether happy with his own jokes or stern with action readiness, is open and engaging. It’s a joy to watch him.

Kline is okay, but certainly miscast. Being older than Smith, he could have been the wise, older hand. He has his moments, but sometimes he just seems like a fifth wheel on a bike. He buries himself so far in make up for his duel role as President Grant that he gets lost in the part of this expendable character. He does a decent job in the part, but, like the movie, it’s not really worth noting.

Branagh is nutty and hilarious in his over the top performance as the psychotic, and vengeful Southern. Missing his lower extremities and riding a mechanical chair thing, Arliss Loveless is ridiculous, but he throws himself into a role so extreme and wacky, it belongs in a cheap novel or a superhero comic book. He’s simply a hoot. The rivalry between Smith’s West and Branagh’s Loveless is hilarious, and they make a very good screen pair.

Wild Wild West is a somewhat entertaining movie, but it is difficult to see where it had any potential to be better. The studio, Time-Warner, might have figured that it would be easy to sell a movie based on an idea with which people were already familiar, namely the television program The Wild, Wild West. They may have thought that audiences would readily accept a big budget update of this idea made with big named stars. It’s worked box office magic in the past, but, as in this case, it usually means average at best product. Even in its best moments, West is a light, fluffy distraction, forgotten soon after consumption.

5 of 10
C+

NOTES:
2000 Razzie Awards: 4 wins: “Worst Director” (Barry Sonnenfeld), “Worst Original Song” (Stevie Wonder, Kool Moe Dee, and Will Smith for the song "Wild Wild West"), “Worst Picture” (Warner Bros.), “Worst Screen Couple” (Kevin Kline and Will Smith), and “Worst Screenplay” (Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, and Peter S. Seaman); 4 nominations: “Worst Actor” (Kevin Kline), “Worst Supporting Actor” (Kenneth Branagh), “Worst Supporting Actress” (Salma Hayek), and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Kevin Kline as a prostitute)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for July 28 2011

Here's a roundup of stuff that interests me or may interest you, dear reader:

Apparently, some people feel that Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis has to defend her role in The Help.  I don't.  I think that people who are uncomfortable with the subject matter of the film and the book upon which it is based should just avoid the film, which I may do.

Anyway, BET cribbed some quotes from an interview she gave to another website.  Here, is a good one:

Davis: “I feel one of the most revolutionary things you could do [in film] is to humanize the Black woman. And what I mean by that is that is… there is no way that I’m going to believe that if Meryl Streep or a Jodie Foster or any number of fabulous Caucasian actresses were sitting in front of you that anyone would ask them why they did a role if there was something about that character that they didn’t feel was politically correct...

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Yep, it's been 20 years.  John Singleton talks to BET.com about the Oscar-nominated Boyz N the Hood, which is 20 years old this year.

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Deadline: New York has an exclusiveJ.J. Abrams is ready to begin work on the sequel to his 2009 smash hit reboot, Star Trek (the first Trek flick to win an Oscar).  But the film will not meet its June 29 2012 release date, so Paramount Pictures is giving that release date to G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  Currently, Star Trek 2 does not even have a script. Egads!

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More from Deadline:  Paramount has moved Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol from December 16th to Dec. 21st.  Meanwhile, the next Tom Cruise franchise, based upon the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, is set to launch in February 2013.

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We love Simon PeggWord is out about a new movie, "A Fantastic Fear of Everything," which has him playing, "a children’s author turned crime novelist whose research into the lives of Victorian serial killers turns him into a paranoid wreck, especially when a Hollywood executive decides he wants to make a film out of his findings."

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Movieline has the lineup for the 68th Venice Film Festival, which runs from August 31st to September 10th.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: The Eagle

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 64 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


The Eagle (2011)
Running time: 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images
DIRECTOR: Kevin Macdonald
WRITER: Jeremy Brock Rosemary Sutcliff (based on the novel, The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff)
PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony Dod Mantle
EDITOR: Justine Wright

HISTORICAL/DRAMA/ACTION

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahimm Ned Dennehy, Thomas Henry, and Denis O’Hare

The Eagle is a 2011 historical film from Kevin Macdonald, who directed The Last King of Scotland (2006). The Eagle is based upon The Eagle of the Ninth, a 1954 historical adventure novel written by Rosemary Sutcliff. The Eagle follows a young Roman officer’s journey to find a lost Roman eagle standard in the wild north of Great Britain, which the Roman Empire does not control.

In the year 140 AD, 20 years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Caledonia (Scotland), Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum), a young Roman centurion, arrives in Britain to serve as a garrison commander. Marcus also hopes to redeem his family’s honor and to restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth.

Accompanied only by his British slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), Marcus sets out across Hadrian’s Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia, beyond the frontier of the Roman Empire. There, he will not only confront the mystery of his father’s disappearance, but also the savage tribes of the north, in particular, the Seal People. Along the way, Marcus will learn the truth about Esca, the fate of the Ninth Legion, and the whereabouts of the legion’s golden standard, the Eagle of the Ninth.

The Eagle belongs to a sub-genre of the adventure and historical film genres that some critics, reviewers, and fans call “sword and sandal” (or “sword and shield” as Roger Ebert calls them). Troy, 300, and Gladiator (the best picture Oscar winner back in 2000) are recent examples of sword and sandal flicks. Like those films, The Eagle is about men of war and about the honor they seek to gain, regain, or retain.

However, this film offers something more. Marcus Aquila is clearly the hero, and his quest to recover the eagle standard is a heroic one. However, the society to which he belongs, the Roman Empire, is not heroic. The film contrasts Marcus’ behavior as a warrior with Rome’s behavior towards the people the empire conquers. The film views the quest for honor from two sides – Rome and Rome’s opponents – is personified by Marcus’ slave, Esca, played by Jamie Bell, who gives this film’s best performance.

What appeals to me about this film is that it is a rousing, manly adventure that is open to different points of view – including those of the antagonists. The Eagle reminds us that while war, even battle, may seem simple, it is complex, indeed, even messy.

The Eagle is not perfect. Marcus’ time at the garrison, the battles, and the chases through the forest are superb cinema, while the character moments are somewhat dull. I for one liked Channing Tatum’s pugnacious performance. It is the movie star sweet to this movie’s determination not to be straight-forward rah-rah about war. The Eagle is a film I’ll come back to many times.

7 of 10
B+

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings Documentary Screens in August

SPECIAL NEW PEOPLE FILM SCREENING OF TWICE BOMBED, TWICE SURVIVED REMEMBERS THE ATOMIC BOMBINGS OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI

Emotional Documentary Recalls One Man’s Incredible Experience Having Survived Bombings Of Both Japanese Cities

San Francisco, CA, July 26, 2011 – NEW PEOPLE, the nation’s only entertainment complex dedicated to Japanese popular culture, commemorates the 66th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a very special screening of Twice Bombed, Twice Survived, a thought provoking documentary about Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person to have been officially recognized by the Japanese government for surviving both explosions. Tickets, a trailer and more information are available here.

Twice Bombed, Twice Survived plays at NEW PEOPLE’s cinema on Saturday, August 6th at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10.00 each. A portion of sales will be donated directly to the Friends of Hibakusha, a San Francisco organization dedicated to supporting U.S. citizens and Japanese-American survivors of radiation exposure from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The U.S. government does not currently subsidize any medical treatment programs for atomic bomb survivors. Several survivors from the Friends of Hibakusha will speak in a Q&A immediately following the screening.

In August 1945, two atomic bombs were dropped over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 210,000 people were killed and many more victims were affected by both of the bombings. Tsutomu Yamaguchi is one person who was bombed twice, and survived twice. His hope towards the abolition of nuclear weapons brought 90-year-old Yamaguchi to appear in this incredible film. Along with Yamaguchi, seven other twice-bombed twice-survived people also recount their experiences in the film.


About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. (http://www.newpeopleworld.com/) 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 (http://www.newpeopleent.com/), 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.

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for July 27 2010

Here's a rundown of stuff I found interesting and/or thought you'd find interesting, dear reader.  Don't know how long these links will work:

Entertainment Weekly gives a rundown of the films showing at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 8th) with a synopsis of each film.

                                    

This year (2011, of course) is the 25th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning film, Aliens (1986), which was directed by James Cameron.  The film's star, the lovely Sigourney Weaver, gives an interview to the Moviefone Blog.

Among other things, Weaver talks about 20th Century Fox's reluctance to make another Alien film with her as the star - because of her age, she believes.  She even drops a tidbit about Carrie Hehn, the young actress who played Newt in Aliens.

                                 

No, I did not know that Mad Max, the 1979 George Miller film that shot Mel Gibson to international stardom, was being remade.  Found out in this HitFix chat with Inception actor, Tom Hardy, who will be in the remake and also The Dark Knight Rises.

                              

Cinema Blend covered Guillermo del Toro at this past weekend's 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International.  The Hellboy director talked about his mysterious, much-talked about alien invasion movie, Pacific Rim.  Del Toro said that the film will have big monsters versus big robots (but added some F-bombs).

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Collider is reporting that Ron Howard will not direct the third book in the Robert Langdon series, The Lost Symbol.  Howard directed the movies based on the other two books in the series, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

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Frank Darabont is stepping down as the showrunner on the AMC series, "The Walking Dead."  It's a shocker for some, but I can't say that I care, although the series is good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2011 Toronto International Film Festival Lineup Announced

The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival begins September 8th and runs 11 days.  Here is the lineup of films scheduled to screen:

Albert Nobbs - Rodrigo Garcia, World Premiere
Butter - Jim Field Smith, World Premiere
A Dangerous Method - David Cronenberg, North American Premiere
A Happy Event - Rémi Bezancon, World Premiere
The Ides of March - George Clooney, North American Premiere
The Lady - Luc Besson, World Premiere
Moneyball - Bennett Miller, World Premiere
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding - Bruce Beresford, World Premiere
Take this Waltz - Sarah Polley, World Premiere
W.E. - Madonna, North American Premiere

Special Presentations
11 Flowers - Wang Xiaoshuai, World Premiere
50/50 - Jonathan Levine, World Premiere
360 - Fernando Meirelles, World Premiere
The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius, Toronto Premiere
Americano - Mathieu Demy, World Premiere
Anonymous - Roland Emmerich, World Premiere
A Better Life - Cédric Kahn, World Premiere
Burning Man - Jonathan Teplitzky, World Premiere
Chicken with Plums - Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, North American Premiere
Coriolanus - Ralph Fiennes, North American Premiere
Countdown - Huh Jong-ho, World Premiere
Dark Horse - Todd Solondz, North American Premiere
The Deep Blue - Sea Terence Davies, World Premiere
The Descendants - Alexander Payne, World Premiere
Drive - Nicolas Winding Refn, Canadian Premiere
Elles - Malgoska Szumowska, World Premiere
The Eye of the Storm Fred Schepisi, International Premiere
Friends With Kids - Jennifer Westfeldt, World Premiere
Habemus Papam - Nanni Moretti, North American Premiere
Headhunters - Morten Tyldum, North American Premiere
Hick - Derick Martini, World Premiere
The Hunter - Daniel Nettheim, World Premiere
Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Jay and Mark Duplass, World Premiere
Killer Joe - William Friedkin, North American Premiere
Like Crazy - Drake Doremus, International Premiere
Machine Gun Preacher - Marc Forster, World Premiere
Martha Marcy May Marlene - Sean Durkin, Canadian Premiere
Melancholia - Lars von Trier, North American Premiere
The Oranges - Julian Farino, World Premiere
Pearl Jam Twenty - Cameron Crowe, World Premiere
Rampart - Oren Moverman, World Premiere
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Lasse Hallstrom, World Premiere
Shame - Steve McQueen, North American Premiere
A Simple Life - Ann Hui, Hong Kong, North American Premiere
The Skin I Live In - Pedro Almodóvar, North American Premiere
Take Shelter - Jeff Nichols, Canadian Premiere
Ten Year - Jamie Linden, World Premiere
Trishna - Michael Winterbottom, World Premiere
Twixt - Francis Ford Coppola, World Premiere
Tyrannosaur - Paddy Considine, Canadian Premiere
We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lynne Ramsay, North American Premiere
Where Do We Go Now? - Nadine Labaki, International Premiere
Woman in the Fifth - Pawel Pawlikowski, World Premiere

Happy B'Day, Kate Beckinsale: Underworld Unrated Extended

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 17 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Underworld (2003)
2 Disc Unrated Extended Cut – May 25, 2004
Running time: 134 minutes (2 hours,14 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Len Wiseman
WRITERS: Danny McBride; from a story by Kevin Grevioux and Danny McBride Len Wiseman
PRODUCERS: Tom Rosenburg, Gary Lucchesi, and Richard Wright
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Pierce-Roberts, BSC
EDITOR: Martin Hunter

ACTION/DRAMA/FANTASY/HORROR/THRILLER

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Robby Gee, Wentworth Miller, and Kevin Grevioux

In the 2003 film, Underworld, there has been a war between the Vampire and Lycan (Werewolf) clans for about 1000 years. The film focuses on Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a young vampire warrior known as a Death Dealer. The Death Dealers are the ones who hunt, track, and kill Lycans. During a hunt at the beginning of the film, she discovers two Lycans following a young American medical intern, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman). Michael is the key to the Lycan leader, Lucian’s (Michael Sheen), plot to unite the two warring species, but Selene discovers that Michael is also advertently a link to a centuries-old conspiracy between Lucian and the Vampire’s current leader, Kraven (Shane Brolly). As the web of conspiracy broadens, Selene must use her resourcefulness and martial skills to save her clan and Michael.

Underworld (2 Disc Unrated Extended Cut) contains 12 minutes of extra footage, which amounts to more backstory on Michael Corvin and the Lycans, a new battle scene at the end, and a subplot involving the sexy and catty, Erika (Sophia Myles). There is also 11 minutes of recut or “replacement footage.” According to Wiseman’s commentary, this is not a “director’s cut,” because he cut the 12 minutes in the original film for pacing, and as he says, you’ll hardly notice the difference, as I didn’t.

I liked the film the first time I saw it and I like it even more the second time. The movie is a blend of Blade, The Crow, and The Matrix. Conceptually, it borrows from the Blade franchise, but visually, it’s takes from The Crow and absolutely leans on and loots The Matrix. However, it is a superbly made bit of fluff that is divinely tasty eye candy. Although the concept and script are full of holes, it’s kind of like a gorgeous looking high-concept music video with much more story than music video normally have. By the way, “unrated” doesn’t mean we get to see skin from Ms. Beckinsale. This is a must-have for hardcore fans of the film, even if it means dumping the first DVD edition.

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
DVD includes a 48-page Underworld comic book and a 16-page production sketch booklet, which contains several storyboard-to-screen comparisons. Disc 1 contains the extended cut of the film with (1) director and cast (Ms. Beckinsale and Speedman) commentaries; (2) outtakes; (3) the American Movie Classic (AMC) television special “Fang vs. Fiction”; (4) two TV spots; (4) and previews of four (then) upcoming movies distributed by Sony Pictures. Disc 2 has several features including a music video by the band Finch (“Worms of the Earth”) and several looks at designing the look and sounds of the film.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Critic Not Sure Why He Likes "I Am Number Four"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 63 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


I Am Number Four (2011)
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language
DIRECTOR: D.J. Caruso
WRITERS: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and Marti Noxon (based on the novel by Jobie Hughes and James Frey writing as Pittacus Lore)
PRODUCER: Michael Bay
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Guillermo Navarro
EDITORS: Vince Filippone and Jim Page
COMPOSER: Trevor Rabin

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/DRAMA with elements of romance

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Argon, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand, Jake Abel, and Jeff Hochendoner

I Am Number Four is a science fiction teen drama released earlier this year, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and produced by DreamWorks. The film is based upon the bestselling novel of the same name and follows an alien teenager living on Earth and hiding from another alien race bent on killing him and others like him.

I Am Number Four is a movie meant to appeal to the young audiences that love the Twilight movies. I Am Number Four is not as good as any of the Twilight films, but it is a better than average action fantasy that has familiar, but likeable characters.

Early in the film, we meet an extraordinary teen going by the name Daniel Jones. He was born on the planet, Lorien, and like eight other children from this planet, he has special powers and is part of a group known as the Garde. He and the other eight children had to leave Lorien in order to escape an invading race, the Mogadorians. Daniel lives in hiding on Earth with a Warrior/Guardian named Henri (Timothy Olyphant).

Circumstances force Henri to take his young charge to a new home in Paradise, Ohio. Once there, Henri changes Daniel’s name to John Smith (Alex Pettyfer). Although he is supposed to stay quiet and not get noticed, John falls for amateur photographer and fellow high school student, Sarah Hart (Dianna Argon), and he befriends a UFO conspiracy theorist, Sam Goode (Callan McAuliffe). John also draws the ire of local football stud, Mark James (Jack Abel), who once dated Sarah and bullies Sam.

John’s high school drama becomes complicated when he begins to make connections with people who share his destiny and when the Mogadorians get closer to finding him. The Mogadorians must kill members of the Garde in a particular sequence, and they’ve already killed the first three. John Smith is Number Four.

Hackneyed plot, clunky pacing, clichéd characters, and an overall story that seems familiar: that is how I can describe I Am Number Four. Still, I liked it. For the comparisons it may draw to Twilight, I Am Number Four belongs more to the boy-savior genre and is closer to the Harry Potter franchise. I also found the movie to be longer than it needed to be. Not only are the characters clichés, but the actors act as if they are determined to deliver clichéd characters.

Still, for some reason, however, I liked this movie. Perhaps, it is the action movie pyrotechnics, which make alien characters here seem like quasi- superheroes and super villains. Maybe, it is the screen charisma and natural charm that Alex Pettyfer exudes. I liked I Am Number Four, and can’t really tell you, dear reader, why. My enjoyment is why I give this mediocre to sometimes barely above-average film this particular grade.

6 of 10
B

Friday, July 22, 2011


1990s Animated Conan Series Now on DVD

Animated Adventures For The Whole Family!

CONAN THE ADVENTURER: SEASON ONE

Featuring Over Five Hours of Content in a 2-DVD Set

IN STORES NATIONWIDE FROM SHOUT! FACTORY ON JULY 26, 2011

By Crom! Let the acolytes of Conan rejoice as the fiercest Barbarian to ever roam the Earth arrives in this complete Season One DVD release! Join in the fray as Conan and his fellow adventurers — Jezmine, Snagg, Needle, Greywolf and Zula — quest to rescue Conan’s family from an evil spell cast by the Serpent Man wizard Wrath-Amon. Armed with a powerful sword forged from Star Metal and faith in his god Crom, Conan will not stop until his family is safe and the evil wizard is reimprisoned in the mystical Abyss!

On July 26, 2011, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro, Inc., will unleash Conan The Adventurer: Season One in a 2-DVD set, featuring all 13 action-packed episodes. Featuring the legendary warrior well-known from books, comics and movies, Conan The Adventurer: Season One is a must-have. This DVD set promises to keep you on the edge of your seat with exciting exploits and is priced to own at $19.93 SRP.

Produced by Sunbow, the 1980s animation giant behind Hasbro’s Transformers and G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero, Conan The Adventurer originally aired in Saturday morning syndication beginning in 1992 transitioning to a daily airing throughout 1993 in the second season.

Season One Episode List:

Disc 1
The Night Of Fiery Tears
Blood Brother
Star Of Shadizar
Conan The Gladiator
The Heart Of Rakkir
Men Of Stone
The Terrible Torrinon

Disc 2
Greywolf Of Xanthus
Shadow Walkers
The Claw Of Heaven
The Serpent Riders Of Set
Windfang’s Eyrie
Seven Against Stygia


About HASBRO
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company providing children and families around the world with a wide-range of immersive entertainment offerings based on the Company’s world class brand portfolio. From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, video games and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its customers through the strategic leveraging of well-known and beloved brands such as TRANSFORMERS, LITTLEST PET SHOP, NERF, PLAYSKOOL, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, MAGIC: THE GATHERING and MONOPOLY. The Hub, Hasbro’s multi-platform joint venture with Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) launched on October 10, 2010. The online home of The Hub is www.hubworld.com. The Hub logo and name are trademarks of Hub Television Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com. © 2011 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated box sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Captain America: The First Avenger" a Fun Adventure Film

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 62 of 2011 by Leroy Douresseaux


Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Running time: 125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston
WRITERS: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based upon the comic books by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCERS: Kevin Feige and Amir Madani
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Shelly Johnson
EDITORS: Robert Dalva and Jeffrey Ford with Michael McCusker
COMPOSER: Alan Silvestri

SUPERHERO/SCI-FI/ACTION/WAR

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Kenneth Choi, JJ Field, Bruno Ricci, Lex Shrapnel, Michael Brandon, and Martin T. Sherman

Captain America is a superhero character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (cover dated March 1941), which was published by Timely Comics (the predecessor of Marvel Comics). Over the seven decades of his existence, Captain America has appeared in comic books, a 1944 movie serial, a 1990 film, and live action and animated television series.

Captain America returns to the big screen in Captain America: The First Avenger, the fifth film produced by Marvel Studios (a sister company of Marvel Comics). The film follows the adventures of a young man deemed unfit for military service during World War II who becomes a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.

The story begins in March 1942, a time of momentous events, obviously with World War II being the main event. In Europe, Nazi officer, Johann Schmidt AKA the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), has stolen a mysterious cube-like tesseract, which he believes will provide the power to make him and his terrorist organization, HYDRA, more powerful that Hitler and the Third Reich. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in New York City, Brooklyn native, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a short, scrawny, sickly young man, is rejected for military service as 4F for the fifth time. Rogers’ best friend, Sgt. James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), tries to comfort him, but Rogers won’t be consoled and is desperate to serve his country.

Rogers’ convictions capture the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), an immigrant scientist working for the U.S. government’s Strategic Science Reserve. Erskine’s secret project is a serum that he hopes will create super soldiers, and Erskine wants to test it on Rogers. With the help of military inventor, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Erskine finds success and the serum turns Rogers into a tall, muscular marvel.

After a very public battle with enemy agents, Rogers dons a colorful costume and begins selling War Bonds, but he wants to do more for the good old U.S. of A. While touring Europe, fate gives Rogers a chance to be a hero again and Captain America (Chris Evan) is born. Now, only Captain America and a small band of soldiers can save the world from the Red Skull and HYDRA.

At times, Captain America: The First Avenger is intensely violent, thus its PG-13 rating. Besides that, the film is really a family action adventure that blends the superhero and war movie genres. It cleverly mixes light-hearted, golden nostalgia for Depression and World War II era America with good old two-fisted tales of American fighting men. For the most part, director Joe Johnston seamlessly blends the period film elements with the action set pieces featuring red-bloodied American men kicking evil, Euro-trash ass. In fact, Captain America: The First Avenger reminds me of Johnston’s underrated 1991 Depression-era flick, The Rocketeer (which was also adapted from a comic book).

Although the acting is mostly good, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers and Captain America is the clear standout. Evans is so good that you soon forget the special effects that transform this strapping young actor into the small, frail kid that Steve Rogers is before the super soldier serum turns him into beefcake.

The last third of the film lacks the punch and humor of the first two-thirds. By the end, Captain America’s square-jawed optimism and the film’s gentle humorous tone are replaced by a Captain America that is a fighting machine and by standard action stuff. Still, Captain America: The First Avenger is not really like most superhero movies. It’s a different-looking fantasy action adventure and a fun one, at that.

6 of 10
B

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Friday, July 22, 2011

Harry Potter Film Series Passes $7 Billion in Worldwide Box Office

Harry Potter Film Franchise Surpasses $7 Billion Milestone

The finale continues to break global box office records, as it further solidifies the series’ standing as the top-grossing franchise of all time.

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” still in the first week of its record-breaking run, the Harry Potter film franchise has now crossed the $7 billion mark worldwide, and counting. The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” has earned an astounding $640.2 million worldwide in its initial week, encompassing $214.9 million domestically and $425.3 million at the international box office.

In addition, the success of the movie has propelled Warner Bros. Pictures’ combined 2011 domestic box office past $1 billion for an eleventh consecutive year, which is an industry record.

Robinov stated, “It is an extraordinary privilege for everyone at Warner Bros. to share in this piece of cinema history. We are extremely grateful to the Harry Potter fans, who have remained loyal to the movies for more than a decade. We also want to congratulate the amazing roster of actors and filmmakers, whose artistry and talent is evident in every frame of every film. But special thanks must go to the woman whose incomparable imagination literally changed the world, Jo Rowling.”

Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. Pictures President of Worldwide Marketing, noted, “Each film has inspired us creatively and it has been exciting to watch the evolution through eight remarkable movies. It has truly been the movie event of a generation, as Harry Potter fans who were there from the beginning have been joined by new fans over the years, and their enthusiasm—as well as our own—has never waned.”

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, said, “Becoming a $7 billion-plus franchise is a stunning achievement, which is shared by everybody involved in any or all of the Harry Potter films. On the domestic side, the studio is also thrilled to have reached the billion-dollar benchmark for an unprecedented eleventh year in a row. We thank everyone at Warner Bros. whose hard work and dedication have contributed so much to our success.”

Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, Warner Bros. Pictures President of International Distribution, added, “It is a rare pleasure to have an opportunity to be a part of a global event of this magnitude. For ten years, the Harry Potter films have delighted audiences, bridging across countries and continents. We applaud all the actors and filmmakers who have given us the true definition of movie magic.”

The collective Harry Potter films are the highest-grossing franchise of all time, a global record it has held since the success of the sixth film, 2009’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Individually, the worldwide grosses for the previous films stand as: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at $974,755,371; “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” at $878,979,634; “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” at $796,688,549; “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” at $896,911,078; “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” at $939,885,929; “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” at $934,416,487; and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” at $955,417,476.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

The film was directed by David Yates, and produced by David Heyman, David Barron and J.K. Rowling. Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” is the first Harry Potter film to be released in both 3D and 2D. Concurrently with its nationwide theatrical distribution, the film is being released in select IMAX® theatres. The film has been digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology.

Opened nationwide on July 15, the film is being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.

http://www.harrypotter.com/


Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Deathly Hallows - Part 2" a Dark, Epic Harry Potter Finale

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 61 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
DIRECTOR: David Yates
WRITER: Steve Kloves (based upon the novel by J.K. Rowling)
PRODUCERS: David Barron and David Heyman and J.K. Rowling
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eduardo Serra
EDITOR: Mark Day
COMPOSER: Alexandre Desplat

FANTASY/DRAMA/ACTION

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, George Harris, and Bonnie Wright

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the seventh (and final) novel in the Harry Potter book series. Warner Bros. Pictures is releasing the film adaptation of the book as two films. The first film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, arrived in theatres in November 2010. Now, the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, has hit theatres with a bang. It’s an excellent film, fun as usual, but sad because this is an ending.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his closest friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), embarked on a quest to find and destroy the Horcruxes, which hold the secret of the immortality of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). They’re down to the last few Horcruxes, and one of them is hidden at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The trio must return to Hogwarts, where they are no longer welcomed and will need the help of friends to enter. Meanwhile, Voldemort and his army of followers march on the school, and a pitched battle between the defenders of the school and Voldemort’s forces ensues. Now, the Dark Lord and boy wizard prepare for their final showdown.

By turning Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the novel into two movies, Warner Bros. Pictures is able to make a more faithful adaptation of the book or, at least, an adaptation that has more of the book in it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2 can be viewed as one larger movie, but with each movie having its own distinctive tone and style. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is contemplative, tense, and suspenseful like an espionage or psychological thriller. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is darker in tone, but has the look and scope of a grand epic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is an action movie, one filled with gritty conflict, soaring flights, hair-raising missions, and desperate bids for escape. Occasionally, the film does stumble; the pace becomes awkward, it’s rhythm out of step. At those times, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 seems more about tying up loose ends than about being the grand finale it should be, but those moments don’t dominate the film.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is as thrilling and as visually dazzling as the previous films, but this one has a dragon flight that, for me at least, surpasses any other scene of magically-powered flight in this film franchise. This scene looks natural, more plausible, seeming to capture how a dragon, if such a thing existed, would move. It’s a sequence that should earn Deathly Hallows: Part 2 a best visual effects Oscar nomination, at least.

The final Harry Potter film may also surpass the others in the actors’ performances because Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is powerfully acted. As the series went along, the characters’ became more complex, moving from familiar archetypes to complicated people with shifting motivations and personalities and also becoming darker. In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the characters, from Harry and Voldemort on down, are either made vulnerable or become more vulnerable than they ever were. Ralph Fiennes’s turn as Voldemort is layered and textured; suddenly, the Dark Lord is made tragic… even sympathetic. Fiennes will make you love as well as love-to-hate this great villain.

In the end, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, our beloved star trio, don’t disappoint. Their ability to perform together and their screen chemistry affirm that this story was never just about Harry Potter alone. I don’t need to spend too many more words on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. That last scene of Harry, Ron, and Hermione together embodies the magic that this series offered and why we are sad that the story is ending, for now…

8 of 10
A

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Captain Planet Now in the Hands of Transformers Movie Producer



Cartoon Network Signs with Angry Filmworks to Develop CAPTAIN PLANET Live-Action Feature Film

Producer of Transformers Film Trilogy Tapped to Create Movie Based on World’s First Eco-Hero

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cartoon Network has signed a development agreement with action-adventure producer Don Murphy and partner Susan Montford and their company Angry Filmworks to develop a live-action motion picture based on the groundbreaking, environment-saving animated hero, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, it was announced today by Stuart Snyder, president and COO of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media division (AYAKM). The agreement gives Murphy and his company the exclusive rights to develop and package the property and advance it towards production.

Murphy and Angry Filmworks are most notably credited for the highly successful action-adventure franchise, Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). Murphy and Montford together produced the upcoming Hugh Jackman blockbuster Real Steel with Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. The company also is responsible for such action-oriented films as Shoot ‘Em Up (2007), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Apt Pupil (1998) and Natural Born Killers (1994). Angry Filmworks formed in 1998.

“The messages of Captain Planet are even more relevant today,” said Snyder. “We feel this team can bring the world’s first eco-hero to life in a powerful motion picture that is not only pertinent but entertaining.”

“We are extremely excited about bringing the good Captain back to life,” said Murphy. “His adventures are known worldwide and he is recognized across generations. We expect to make a spectacular series of films with the amazing team at Cartoon Network.”

“With the earthquakes, tornadoes, melting icebergs and all the other problems threatening the world right now, Earth really needs her greatest defender,” said Montford.

In an effort to inform younger viewers about serious environmental issues, legendary cable entrepreneur Ted Turner partnered with DIC Enterprises in 1990 to create the world’s first animated environmental series, Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The series was about a group of young people who combine their special powers (The Planeteers) to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero, to battle the world’s worst eco-villains.

Captain Planet and the Planeteers premiered in fall 1990, airing domestically and internationally in syndication and on cable networks TBS and TNT. Six full seasons of the series were produced in the original run of the series, featuring the voice talents of multiple guest celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg (Gaia), Meg Ryan (Dr. Blight), Martin Sheen (Sly Sludge), Edward Asner (Hoggish Greedly), James Coburn (Looten Plunder), Dean Stockwell (Duke Nukem) and Sting (Zarm). Winning multiple Environmental Media Awards across its production, Captain Planet and the Planeteers also scored several Daytime Emmy nominations.

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in more than 99 million U.S. homes and 166 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for youth and families. Nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animated and live-action comedy programming for young adults 18-34.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises: Conspiracies and Tidbits

Over at the Comic Book Bin, the website where I also post goodies, writer Dan Horn is digging into The Dark Knight Rises, Chris Nolan's third Batman flick, which is due next year.  Horn is hunting conspiracies and mysteries and here are the links:

Teaser poster: http://www.comicbookbin.com/The_Dark_Knight_Rises_Teaser_Poster_is_Here_095.html

Trailer: http://www.comicbookbin.com/Official_The_Dark_Knight_Rises_Trailer_Released_001.html

The Trailer: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2054374751994

Trailer conspiracy: http://www.comicbookbin.com/The_Dark_Knight_Rises_Trailer_Conspiracy_001.html

Plot thickens: http://www.comicbookbin.com/The_Dark_Knight_Rises_Trailer_The_Plot_Thickens_001.html

First Lady Michelle Obama Screens "Deathly Hallows - Part 2" U.S. Navy Families

Warner Bros. Pictures “Joining Forces” With First Lady Michelle Obama for a Special Screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In appreciation of their service, members of the United States Navy and their families will be treated to a special exclusive screening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” the finale of the blockbuster film franchise, which opened nationwide on July 15, 2011.

As part of the Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance to thank the members of the military and their families. While there, she will also introduce the film.

Location: Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA
Date: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Time: 12:00 p.m. Screening

The screening is only open to members of the military and their families. Media representatives will have the opportunity to interview, photograph and film those attending the film.


About Joining Forces:
Joining Forces is a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have met with military families, learned about their successes and challenges, and made it their priority to support them. Joining Forces provides ways for all Americans to step up and show their gratitude to our service members and their families. Through this effort, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden ask Americans to do more for those who have done so much for us. They are highlighting outstanding American citizens, communities, and businesses that are supporting our troops and making commitments to serve our nation’s military families. They are asking Americans to get involved in any way they can.

About the Film:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, reprising their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

The film was directed by David Yates, who also helmed the blockbusters “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.” David Heyman, the producer of all of the Harry Potter films, produced the final film, together with David Barron and J.K. Rowling. Screenwriter Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the book by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films Production, a David Yates Film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” which marks the last installment in the most successful film franchise of all time. The film is being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images. http://www.harrypotter.com/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Takashi Miike Does Epic in "13 Assassins"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 60 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


13 Assassins (2010)
Jûsan-nin no shikaku (original title)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Japan
Running time: 125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of bloody violence, some disturbing images and brief nudity
DIRECTOR: Takashi Miike
WRITER: Daisuke Tengan (based upon a screenplay by Kaneo Ikegami)
PRODUCER: Minami Ichikawa, Tôichirô Shiraishi, and Michihiko Yanagisawa
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nobuyasu Kita (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Kenji Yamashita
COMPOSER: Kôji Endô

DRAMA/HISTORICAL/MARTIAL ARTS/ACTION

Starring: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Gorô Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijiro Hira, Hiroki Matsukata, Ikki Sawamura, Arata Furuta, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Masataka Kubota, Sôsuke Takaoka, Seiji Rokkaku, Yûma Ishigaki, Kôen Kondô, and Ikki Namioka

13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku) is a 2010 Japanese period drama (a jidaigeki) from prolific director, Takashi Miike. This samurai epic is based on a true story and is also a remake of the 1963 Japanese film, Jûsan-nin no shikaku. The story is about a band of samurai warriors out to kill a tyrannical young lord. 13 Assassins is also one of the best films of 2010.

The film is set in the last decades of Feudal Japan, when the era of the samurai is waning. The sadistic young Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu (Gorô Inagaki) rapes and kills at will. He is seemingly untouchable because he is the former Shogun’s son and the current Shogun’s younger brother. After Naritsugu’s actions lead to the destruction of a prominent family, a senior political figure, Sir Doi (Mikijiro Hira), decides that Naritsugu must be killed. Doi hires Shinzaemon Shimada (Kôji Yakusho), an older samurai whom he can trust, to assassinate Naritsugu.

Shinzaemon, who was once a Shogun’s samurai, gathers 11 other samurai, including his nephew, Shinroukuro (Takayuki Yamada), and the 12 plan the assassination. Lord Naritsugu is traveling to his family’s territory, so Shinzaemon plots to steer him to the small village of Ochiai, in the province of Mino, where they will ambush him. Along the way, Shinzaemon adds a thirteenth member to his group, a mysterious woodsman who says his name is Koyata Kiga (Yûsuke Iseya). Meanwhile, the assassins learn that Naritsugu’s security detail is much larger than it was supposed to be.

13 Assassins is the first Takashi Miike film I’ve seen. Before this movie, I’d heard of him via the controversy around his work, such as Ichi the Killer (2001) and his episode, “Imprint,” of the “Masters of Horror” television anthology series. In 13 Assassins, Miike certainly doesn’t spare the audience of blood, dismemberment, and assorted wanton murder. Lord Naritsugu is one of the vilest characters I’ve ever seen depicted on screen, and he is the instigator of some of the most vicious murders portrayed in the 13 Assassins. Kudos to Gorô Inagaki for his brilliant performance as Naritsugu.

However, the depictions of violent death both in battle and in character drama shouldn’t be the only thing people take away from 13 Assassins. What audiences should recognize is Miike’s supreme skills as a helmsman, particularly as a director of this grand, historical epic. In 13 Assassins’ climatic battle, there are a little more than 200 combatants, but you might think there were 10 times more.

Miike and his collaborators and crew, in particularly director of photography, Nobuyasu Kita, and film editor, Kenji Yamashita, stage a fight that makes battles in films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, Cold Mountain, etc. look small. Such films use computers and digital technology to make their battles look super-sized, while Miike goes intimate – up close and personal – with the mayhem, desperation, and frantic pace of battle. That makes this battle look grand and glorious, but also sad, wasteful, and pathetic.

I find that with only a few exceptions, notably Shinzaemon Shimada and his nephew Shinroukuro, Miike misses the chance to really delve into the many wonderful characters fashioned by screenwriter Daisuke Tengan. That’s a shame because some of them have gripping back stories and engaging personalities. Still, that really isn’t much of a blemish, if it’s a blemish at all, on this superb film. 13 Assassins is one of the best samurai dramas I’ve ever seen, and it is one of the best historical films of the new century. Film lovers should not miss 13 Assassins.

9 of 10
A+

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"Captain America: The First Avenger" to Open Thursday at Comic-Con International

BEFORE IT OPENS ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD, MARVEL’S “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER” TO OPEN FIRST IN COMIC-CON

Exclusive Comic-Con Keepsakes to be Given Away Throughout the Day

HOLLYWOOD, CA (July 18, 2011) – Before it opens anywhere else in the world, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER will open first in Comic-Con. Convention goers in San Diego will be the first audience to see one of the summer’s hottest super heroes beginning at noon PST on Thursday, July 21st, 1-day ahead of its US opening. The movie will play exclusively at the UA Horton Plaza with Captain America-themed festivities happening throughout the day. To help kick-off the day, Paramount and Marvel will host an exclusive free fan screening at 10 A.M. with the movie’s star Chris Evans on-hand to introduce the screening.

In addition to being among the first to see the movie, all CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER ticketholders will receive RealD® 3D Collector's Custom red, white and blue Captain America: The First Avenger glasses and a limited edition poster designed exclusively for the fans. A grand prize package of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER merchandise and other Marvel items will be given away to a select audience member at each screening. USO-costumed women will be standing at the American Flag Pole in the Horton Plaza passing out free tickets every hour beginning at 11:00 A.M. to the first 10 people who come dressed as Captain America.

Show times for Captain America: The First Avenger are 12:00 P.M., 12:45 P.M., 2:45 P.M., 3:30 P.M., 5:30 P.M., 6:15 P.M., 8:15 P.M., 9:00 P.M., 11:00 P.M. and 11:45 P.M. Tickets for Thursday’s shows are available for purchase at www.fandango.com/uahortonplaza14_aabfx/theaterpage.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, directed by Joe Johnston, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). One of a continuing slate of films being produced by Marvel Studios based on the Marvel characters, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER joins Thor which was released on May 6, 2011 and Marvel’s The Avengers which is coming to theaters on May 4, 2012.” Paramount Pictures will distribute CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER nationwide on July 22, 2011.


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.

About Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com. Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deathly Hallows Part 2 Box Office: Can't Stop, Won't Stop

The Global Box Office is Spellbound by the Opening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

The finale of the most successful film series of all time rewrites the record books with the biggest worldwide debut ever

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With an astounding estimated worldwide box office total of more than $476 million, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” shattered multiple domestic and international box office records in a history-making opening weekend. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, Dan Fellman, and President of International Distribution, Veronika Kwan-Rubinek.

The finale of the globally beloved film series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” earned a stunning $168.5 million at the domestic box office, which not only is the biggest Harry Potter opening weekend but also obliterated the industry’s opening weekend record, including holiday weekends. Among the other records broken were single-day box office (Friday at $92.1 million), Friday box office, and opening day box office.

With the film opening day-and-date in 59 territories, the international box office take was a staggering $307 million, making it the biggest international weekend of all time. Led by record-breaking grosses in the UK ($36.6 million) and Australia ($26.7 million), all markets have performed exceedingly well, including Germany ($25.7 million), France ($23.9 million) and Japan ($21.5 million).

Globally, it also broke the IMAX opening weekend record with a worldwide gross of $23.5 million, which includes setting a new record in North America with $15.5 million.

The film began breaking records even before its opening, as unprecedented advance ticket sales gave the first indication of just how huge the box office bow would be. Midnight opening screenings not only met but exceeded those expectations, with $43.5 million at the domestic box office alone.

Dan Fellman stated, “These numbers are amazing, but they are only part of the story. It is impossible to quantify how thrilled and grateful we all are that both critics and audiences—especially loyal Harry Potter fans—continue to support the film. This is the culmination of an extraordinary decade, and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of many, many people on both sides of the camera, beginning with the brilliant J.K. Rowling, as well as producer David Heyman. We applaud them all.”

Veronika Kwan-Rubinek remarked, “Harry Potter is truly a cultural phenomenon the world over. Whether in German, French, Japanese, Russian, or any language, international audiences have embraced the Harry Potter films over the years, with the powerful finale punctuating just how special the property is. We congratulate everyone associated with the films on this monumental achievement.”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

The film was directed by David Yates, and produced by David Heyman, David Barron and J.K. Rowling. Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” is the first Harry Potter film to be released in both 3D and 2D. Concurrently with its nationwide theatrical distribution, the film is being released in select IMAX® theatres. The film has been digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology.

Opened nationwide on July 15, the film is being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.

http://www.harrypotter.com/


Happy Birthday, Neil

Hope one of these reaches you!

1990 Captain America Movie Now on DVD

Experience The Original Adventure

CAPTAIN AMERICA Available on DVD for the First Time Ever

The Very First Avenger Makes His Long Awaited Debut On DVD on July 19th

LOS ANGELES (June 16, 2011) – Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s “manufacturing on demand” (“MOD”) program is excited to announce its newest addition, CAPTAIN AMERICA, available on DVD as part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection. Based on the bestselling Marvel Comics series, CAPTAIN AMERICA stars Matt Salinger (What Dreams May Come) as a crime-fighting superhero whose strengths and abilities may save the United States from nuclear destruction.

During World War II, a brave American soldier (Salinger) volunteers to undergo experiments to become a new super-soldier, codenamed “Captain America.” Infiltrating Germany to sabotage Nazi rockets pointed at the U.S., Captain America faces off with Nazi superhuman warrior Red Skull (Scott Paulin, The Right Stuff) who defeats the hero, throwing him into suspended animation. Frozen for 50 years, Captain America is found and revived only to find that Red Skull has changed identities and has targeted the President of the United States (Ronny Cox, RoboCop) for assassination. With America on the verge of utter chaos, it is up to one man to save the day!

CAPTAIN AMERICA also features supporting performances from Ned Beatty (Superman), Darren McGavin (A Christmas Story), Michael Nouri (Flashdance) and Melinda Dillon (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and Kim Gillingham (“One Big Family”). The DVD will be available for sale on online retailers everywhere.


About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
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 http://www.mgm.com/.

About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company. Representing 75 years of innovative and award-winning filmmaking from Twentieth Century Fox, TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Digital Copy, Video On Demand and Digital Download. The company also releases all products globally for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce throughout the world.