Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Rise of the Guardians" Character Poster: Jack Frost



This character is "Jack Frost" from the upcoming DreamWorks Animation feature, Rise of the Guardians (November 21, 2012).  He is apparently the protagonist and is voiced by Chris Pine of Star Trek and Unstoppable.

Friday, June 29, 2012

VIZ Media Announces New 24-Hour Anime Channel Called "Neon Alley"

VIZ MEDIA UNVEILS NEON ALLEY

24-Hour Anime Channel Launches On Game Consoles This Fall

VIZ Media, the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, unveiled plans for Neon Alley, a 24-hour anime channel featuring the world’s best titles set to debut on game consoles this fall. The service will be available in the United States and Canada.

Neon Alley’s schedule will include a mix of action, adventure, science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, and horror anime, all uncut and dubbed in English, and presented in HD (when available). Programming will include blockbuster anime titles like NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, INUYASHA: THE FINAL ACT, and DEATH NOTE, and will allow fans to discover new titles such as TIGER & BUNNY, BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC, ZETMAN, and NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, along with original content that provides news and behind-the-scenes access for fans of anime and manga.

“We created Neon Alley for fans to watch the best anime titles in the world right on their TV,” said Ken Sasaki, President and Chief Executive Officer for VIZ Media. “Neon Alley will have weekly exclusive premieres of the hit titles they love, along with a mix of new, cutting-edge titles they didn’t know they were missing.”

Neon Alley will be a subscription-based service, subsidized with limited commercial advertising, to keep the launch price to consumers at a low $6.99 per month. Anime fans can register online at NeonAlley.com for news, updates on the service’s launch, and to find out how to get a sneak preview of the series debuting during the first season. Neon Alley is the first platform designed to be studio agnostic, featuring titles from other anime producers and distributors, and will unveil its programming lineup, special introductory offers, new acquisitions and other partnerships throughout the next several months.

For more information on Neon Alley, please visit http://www.neonalley.com/.

For more information on VIZ Media, please visit http://www.viz.com/.

Happy B'day, Gary Busey: Point Break

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 146 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux


Point Break (1991)
Running time: 122 minutes (2 hours, 2 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence and adult language
DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow
WRITERS: W. Peter Iliff; from a story by Rick King and W. Peter Iliff
PRODUCERS: Peter Abrams and Robert L. Levy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald Peterman (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Bert Lovitt and Howard E. Smith

ACTION/CRIME/DRAMA

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty, John C. McGinley, James LeGros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher, Julian Reyes, Daniel Beer, Chris Pedersen, Vincent Klyn, and Anthony Kiedis

The subject of this movie review is Point Break, a 1991 action film and crime drama from director Kathryn Bigelow and starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. The title, “Point Break,” refers to a surfing term, and the film follows an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a band of bank robbers who are also surfers.

Keanu Reeves wasn’t a good actor early in his career, but it was obvious from the moment he started appearing in films in the mid to late 1980’s, that he had star quality – that something, that essence that makes the camera love him. A skillful director can manage a real movie star’s deficiencies and make a credible film, which is what director Kathryn Bigelow did in the 1991 summer action flick, Point Break.

Young FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) goes undercover and joins a group of surfers while searching for a gang of bank robbers. Calling themselves the “Ex-Presidents,” each member of a bank-robbing quartet wears a Halloween rubber mask of one of four former presidents, and they’ve successfully pulled off 30 robberies in the Los Angeles area in three years without being caught. The FBI is puzzled, but Utah and his veteran partner, Angelo Poppas (Gary Busey, being a ham and generally acting nuts), believe they have an angle on catching the robbers. Angelo is sure that the thieves are surfers, and he convinces Utah to take up the sport.

Johnny meets girl surfer, Tyler Ann Endicott (Lori Petty), and convinces her to teach him to surf. Johnny eventually meets Tyler’s former boyfriend, Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), the leader of a small circle of local surfers. Bodhi takes a liking to Utah and quickly draws him into the surfing subculture. Entangled in this new lifestyle, Utah earns the ire of his boss, FBI Agent Ben Harp (John C. McGinley), and when Utah later discovers the identity of the Ex-Presidents, he finds himself ensnared in a trap of his own making.

Point Break was the movie that established Keanu Reeves as a convincing action star, when up to the time of this film, he’d mostly played naïve and/or goofy boys in a series of comedies and dramas (including Dangerous Liaisons, believe it or not). Overall, the acting here is mostly mediocre to bad, and the dialogue is a combination of hokey surf philosophy and the kind of phony law enforcement dialogue frequently found in cop movies. All of it sounds the worst coming from Reeves. However, the film features striking aerial photography and beautiful cinematography. Bigelow skillfully stages all the actions scenes to get the most out of them – including a thrilling scene when Utah chases Bodhi on foot. Point Break isn’t great, but the surfing and masked bank robbers angles make it memorable and definitely worth a view.

6 of 10
B

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Red Tails" Has Wings

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 52 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Red Tails (2012)
Running time: 125 minutes (2 hours, 5 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some sequences of war violence
DIRECTOR: Anthony Hemingway
WRITERS: John Ridley and Aaron McGruder; from a story by John Ridley
PRODUCERS: Rick McCallum and Charles F. Johnson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John B. Aronson
EDITORS: Ben Burtt and Michael O'Halloran
COMPOSER: Terence Blanchard

WAR/DRAMA/HISTORICAL

Starring: Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, Kevin Phillips, Bryan Cranston, Lee Tergensen, Gerald McRaney, Daniela Ruah, Marcus T. Paulk, Leslie Odom, Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Andre Royo, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, and Lars van Riesen

The subject of this movie review is Red Tails, a 2012 war film and historical drama produced by Lucasfilm and released by 20th Century Fox. Starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr., Red Tails is a fictionalized portrayal of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American servicemen who served in the United States Air Force (USAAF) during World War II. George Lucas financed Red Tails (both production and distributions costs) and also directed re-shoots for the film.

Red Tails is set in Italy, 1944. The 332d Fighter Group of young African-American (called “Negroes”) USAAF pilots have already made it through recruitment and training in the Tuskegee training program. They have endured racism, and, now that they are in Europe, are still facing segregation from their white counterparts. In fact, they have not flown a single combat mission, but instead conduct strafing runs against German targets and also fly coastal patrols. Even their planes are secondhand, worn out Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft.

Back in Washington, Colonel A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) is fighting the white bureaucracy to get his black flyers treated as equals. Meanwhile, in Italy, Major Emanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is keeping his bored men in fighting shape. Opportunity comes when Bullard is asked to have his fighter pilots act as bomber escorts for the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. There is an unacceptably high casualty rate among bomber crews mainly because of the actions of their current escorts. Bullard accepts and also manages to get new planes, North American P-51 Mustangs, for the 332d. With the tails of their aircraft painted bright red, these African-American flyers become known as the “Red Tails.” Now, can they prove themselves to the doubters?

Apparently, the critical consensus on Red Tails is that the film has “one-dimensional characters, corny dialogue, and heaps of clichés.” With the exception of Platoon and a few others, war movies are inherently clichéd. As for the corny dialogue, which is another staple of war films (old and new), that is true, but it is so infrequent that it stands out when someone does utter something trite or contrived.

As for the characters, they are anything but one-dimensional. They are fairly complicated, especially in terms of their motivations, external and internal conflicts, hopes, dreams, and fears. The screenplay is a bit light on the characters’ past, but the most important thing that the audience needs to know about the characters’ past is known. What is that? Well, that is the fact that they are black and that bigots and racists have been trying to hold them back and hurt them all their lives. “Nuff said.

Red Tails isn’t as heavy and dramatic as a war movie like Saving Private Ryan; in fact, sometimes, Red Tails’ drama is a little soft, like a sentimental television movie. Red Tails’ most potent drama comes from the aviation sequences, especially the aerial battles. When the Tuskegee airmen are in the air, the film soars. The scenes of aerial combat are exciting and skillfully executed, but what else would we expect from Lucasfilm, the people who gave us the soaring spacecraft in the Star Wars films.

Some viewers may be put off that Red Tails is a dramatic retelling of a real group of men and their exploits during World War II. Red Tails is more historical fiction than history, but it is still a truly exceptional film. I am just happy that someone made a film to acknowledge the contribution black servicemen made during World War II, because African-American are generally absent when Hollywood visits World War II. I bet many of those same people complaining about Red Tails’ historical inaccuracies never previously gave a thought to the absence of Black men in WWII films.

George Lucas’ 93 million dollar investment in this project is not at all wasted. It is a lovely gift to African-American history and film, and it is a damn good film, also. By the time Red Tails’ end credits faded away, I still could have watched another two hours just like it.

8 of 10
A

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"A Guy Named Joe" is Sweet and Sentimental

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 8 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux


A Guy Named Joe (1943) – Black & White
Running time: 120 minutes (2 hours)
DIRECTOR: Victor Fleming
WRITERS: Dalton Trumbo, adapted by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan; from a story by David Boehm and Chandler Sprague
PRODUCER: Everett Riskin
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: George Folsey and Karl Freund
EDITOR: Frank Sullivan
Academy Award nominee

FANTASY/DRAMA/ROMANCE/WAR

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, Van Johnson, Ward Bond, Barry Nelson, James Gleason, Lionel Barrymore, and Don DeFore

In Victor Fleming’s sentimental and patriotic film, A Guy Named Joe, the spirit of a World War II bomber pilot who died in combat plays guardian angel to a younger pilot who also romances his old girlfriend. The film is hokey and even corny at times, but it’s a wonderful, gentle, and poignant film that plays romantic with the tragedy of World War II as the backdrop.

Major Peter Sandidge (Spencer Tracy) is a daredevil bomber pilot who has a knack for getting under his superiors’ skin with his reckless flying, and, while some may see his attitude and aggressiveness in combat as courageous, others see it as crazy. The latter might include Pete’s girlfriend, Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne), who is also a pilot and his wife-to be. However, Major Sandidge’s plane is shot down and crashes into the ocean during a reconnaissance mission. After death, he finds himself in heaven and under the command of The General in Heaven (Lionel Barrymore). The General directs the spirits of pilots killed in the air, to return to earth where they act as guardian angels and quasi-guidance counselors to young pilots-in-training.

Accompanied to earth by Captain Dick Rumney (Barry Nelson), another angel and the spirit of a pilot he knew that died before him, Pete begins to train new pilots. He becomes an angel to Ted Randall (Van Johnson), a young college grad and recent heir to an enormous fortune. Pete likes Ted enough, and follows him around giving him advice that Ted, who of course doesn’t know his guardian angel is near, receives the advice sort of like a gentle and prodding thought. However, Pete begins to dislike Ted when he falls madly in love with Pete’s old gal, Dorinda, who is still carrying a torch for Pete. When Pete asks Dorinda to marry him and she accepts, Pete becomes jealous and decides to give the newly commissioned Captain Ted Randall nothing but bad advice. Still, Pete has to reconsider his actions when Ted accepts a dangerous bombing mission from which is highly unlikely to return, and Dorinda risks own her life to protect Ted.

Although this film features several superbly staged battle scenes and air attacks, A Guy Named Joe is nevertheless sweet and sentimental. While the cast is mostly good, it is Spencer Tracy who keeps this movie from being sappy. He is far and away the star of the picture and everyone else, including Ms. Dunne and Van Johnson’s characters, is a supporting player. Tracy was a fine actor, even in a time when film personality was more important than acting prowess, and Tracy gave films (as he does so in this one) an artistic and weighty center. Ms. Dunne’s performance is good, but not outstanding, although it’s not her fault. Dorinda is conceptually a good and (for that time) groundbreaking female part, but the script mostly regulates her to being a stereotype. Barry Nelson and Lionel Barrymore give exemplary supporting performances as Pete’s heavenly colleagues, while Don DeFore and Ward Bond are excellent earthly supporting players.

Victor Fleming’s directorial effort is exceptional. He makes A Guy Named Joe a credible fantasy film, while holding onto the film’s war story elements without using a heavy hand. Though saddled with a punch-drunk script, Fleming clearly got the spirit of David Boehm and Chandler Sprague’s original story (for which they received an Oscar nomination in the category of “Best Writing, Original Story”), and that’s what makes A Guy Named Joe a swell romantic fable about a guy, his girl, and the rival who becomes “his boy.”

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
1945 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Writing, Original Story” (David Boehm and Chandler Sprague)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Rise of the Guardians" Character Poster: The Easter Bunny



Rise of the Guardians (which has had at least three name changes) is a 3D computer animated film from DreamWorks Animation and is scheduled to be released November 21, 2012.  The film is based on the book, The Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce, who is the film's co-director (and a recent Oscar winner).

Hugh Jackman is providing the voice for this character who is named E. Aster Bunnymund AKA the Easter Bunny.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pixar's Marty Baumann is a Guest at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con Welcomes Pixar's Marty Baumann in 2012

The Baltimore Comic-Con is proud to announce the addition of Pixar's Marty Baumann as a guest at this year's show, taking place September 8-9, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center in downtown Baltimore.

Marty Baumann is an artist at Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures, an illustrator, graphic artist and production designer on such films as Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Mater's Tall Tales, Planes, and many others. He also helped develop theme park installations, toy packaging, and Pixar corporate branding.

Beyond Pixar, Marty has rendered illustrations and developed characters for toy manufacturers, magazines and newspapers, illustrated children's books, created logos, info-graphics, Web sites, broadcast promotions, and presentation art for Hasbro, McDonald's, HarperCollins, Chronicle Books, National Geographic, Scholastic Books, Universal Studios, Weekly Reader, Nickelodeon, and many others.

Recent Marty has worked on projects including the Carsland pavilion at Disneyland, a redesign of the classic game Monopoly, and a redesign of the Cheetos mascot, Chester the Cheetah.

Marty has created "Robot Rodeo," a portfolio of recent work, especially for the Baltimore Comic-Con.

"Marty is such a great guest, and brings a great pedigree to the show," said Marc Nathan, show promoter for the Baltimore Comic-Con. "I'm so pleased to be able to provide access to such a talent to our guests. Marty was also a guest at the first Baltimore Comic-Con so it's great to have him back!"

Tickets
Tickets are now on sale at baltimorecomiccon.com/tickets. Please see the website for information about General Admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday, as well as Single-Day admission for both days; Stan Lee VIP Experience Tickets for Saturday only; and tickets for photo and autograph sessions with Stan Lee for Saturday only.

With Stan Lee returning as Guest of Honor this year, tickets are sure to sell fast, so please visit baltimorecomiccon.com/tickets for more information about our VIP packages and to purchase your tickets online!

In the coming weeks, look for more announcements from the Baltimore Comic-Con. We are looking forward to highlighting our guests, the Harvey Awards, industry exclusives, and programming. The latest developments can always be found on our website, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

This year's Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 8-9, 2012. Convention hours are Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. The ceremony and banquet for the Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, September 8th.

Contact Information
Please use the following e-mail addresses to contact the Baltimore Comic-Con:
press@baltimorecomiccon.com - for any general press inquiries or to be added to our PR distribution
promoter@baltimorecomiccon.com - for requesting exhibitor, publisher, and Artist Alley applications
registrar@baltimorecomiccon.com - for inquiries about submitted registrations
harveys@baltimorecomiccon.com - for the Harvey Awards ceremony and banquet
general@baltimorecomiccon.com - for general Baltimore Comic-Con inquiries


About The Baltimore Comic-Con
The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 13th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 8-9, 2012. For more information, please visit http://www.baltimorecomiccon.com/.

About The Harvey Awards
The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry's oldest and most respected awards. With a history of over 20 years, the last 7 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories. They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. For more information, please visit http://www.harveyawards.org/.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fine Actors Kick "Coriolanus" Up a Notch

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 51 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Coriolanus (2011)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.K.
Running time: 123 minutes (2 hours, 3 minutes)
MPAA – R for some bloody violence
DIRECTOR: Ralph Fiennes
WRITER: John Logan (based on the play Coriolanus by William Shakespeare)
PRODUCERS: Ralph Fiennes, John Logan, Gabrielle Tana, Julia Taylor-Stanley, and Colin Vaines
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Ackroyd
EDITOR: Nicolas Gaster
COMPOSER: Ilan Eshkeri
BAFTA nominee

DRAMA/WAR

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain, John Cani, Paul Jesson, James Nesbitt, Dragan Micanovic, and Harry Fenn

The subject of this movie review is Coriolanus, a 2011 military drama starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler. The film is based on William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Coriolanus, which was based on the story of a legendary Roman general. The film is Fiennes’ directorial debut and is the story of a banished Roman hero who joins Rome’s enemy to take his revenge on the city.

Coriolanus is set in “a place calling itself Rome” (but the movie was filmed in Serbia). General Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) leads the forces of Rome to victory against Volsces and the leader of its forces, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler). Martius should be the hero of Rome, beloved by all, but the citizens of Rome are hungry. He may be a great soldier, but Martius despises the people for whom he supposedly fights. Martius is elected as a consul to the Roman Senate, but his inflexible self-belief and extreme views present an opportunity for his enemies. Before long, Martius finds that some of his friends have turned to enemies, but some of his enemies may become his friends.

Throughout my schooling, teachers told me that Shakespeare’s work was timeless, and Coriolanus certainly has contemporary parallels. Caius Martius’ story is a familiar one. He is the proud warrior who saves the state, but who is despised by the citizenry and politicians. The politicians wish to exploit him and have little or no use for him otherwise. Those politicians also loath that he fought when they did not – either because they could not or chose not to.

As a director, Fiennes makes smart choices, including having the accomplished John Logan as his screenwriter. He also surrounds himself with a strong supporting cast; Brian Cox as Menenius and Venessa Redgrave as Volumnia (Martius’ mother) are just plain great. Fiennes’ inexperience as a director, however, shows in some scenes, especially those that make up the first hour of the film. This first half of Coriolanus drifts and the use of Shakespeare’s dialogue seems out of place in the film’s modern Eastern European setting.

The second half of the film is strong and passionate, and that’s where Fiennes’ talents show. He knows great performances and first-rate acting, and he gets that from his cast. Fiennes lets Gerard Butler do what he does best – smolder. Coriolanus is not the best film adaptation of Shakespeare, but the good acting and the subject matter make it one worth watching in these times.

6 of 10
B

NOTES:
2012 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer” (Ralph Fiennes-director)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Tiger & Bunny" English Voice Cast at Anime Expo 2012

VIZ MEDIA WELCOMES TIGER & BUNNY JAPANESE PRODUCER AND ENGLISH VOICE CAST FOR ANIME EXPO 2012

Producer Masayuki Ozaki and Top English Voice Actors Including Yuri Lowenthal, Patrick Seitz and Others Join

VIZ Media for Panel Discussion on the Hit Anime Action Series

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, marks its highly anticipated return to Anime Expo® 2012 with the announcement that it will welcome special show personal appearances by the Japanese Producer along with several top American voice actors from the hit anime action series, TIGER & BUNNY.

Anime Expo is the nation’s largest anime convention and will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA from June 29th to July 2nd. VIZ Media will be located in Booth 1401. Information on Anime Expo is available at: http://www.anime-expo.org/.

VIZ Media will welcome TIGER & BUNNY Producer Masayuki Ozaki as its exclusive guest for a very special panel discussion to be held on Saturday, June 30th, 12PM to 1:30PM in Room LP1. Masayuki Ozaki began his anime career in 2004 at Sunrise, Inc., where he was a planning manager for Mobile Suit Z Gundam. He went on to play an important role in producing anime features including Dinosaur King, INUYASHA: THE FINAL ACT (distributed by VIZ Media), and Gintama: The Movie. In addition to producing anime, Mr. Ozaki produces a variety of live music events, musicals and other areas of show business.

VIZ Media will augment the TIGER & BUNNY fun at the Saturday panel discussion by also welcoming the talented voice actors that brought the characters to life for North American fans. VIZ Media plans to release the TIGER & BUNNY series on Blu-ray and DVD in 2013. Anime Expo attendees won’t want to miss the opportunity to meet and question the English cast members in attendance, including:

•Laura Bailey (Dragon Kid)
•John Eric Bentley (Fire Emblem)
•Yuri Lowenthal (Barnaby Brooks Jr. / Bunny)
•Tara Platt (Agnes)
•Patrick Seitz (Sky High)
•Travis Willingham (Rock Bison)

Also on Saturday, catch Mr. Ozaki and the TIGER & BUNNY voice actors at the South Hall Autograph Area at 3:30pm, where fans will have the opportunity to meet everyone at an in-booth signing session.

TIGER & BUNNY (rated TV-14) is set in Stern Bild, a metropolitan city where superheroes called NEXT help to maintain peace. Sporting sponsor logos on their suits, these heroes work to solve cases and save people’s lives in order to earn Hero Points, while also helping to improve the public image of their corporate sponsors. Their activities are documented and broadcast by the popular show “HERO TV,” in which each superhero strives to become the “King of Heroes” of the year.

One such hero is Wild Tiger (real name Kotetsu T. Kaburagi), a veteran superhero who relies on his years of experience and instincts to fight crime. Though obligated to work for his boss’s best interest, Kotetsu follows his own code of honor and is even willing to cause destruction to public property for the sake of protecting the lives of his fellow citizens. Over time, he has grudgingly earned the nickname “Crusher for Justice.” Now, Kotetsu suddenly finds himself forced to team up with rookie hero Barnaby Brooks Jr.

For more information on TIGER & BUNNY and other animated titles from VIZ Media please visit http://www.vizanime.com/.

The Artist Fafi Creates Limited Edition "Katy Perry: Part of Me" Poster


Katy Perry and the artist known as "Fafi" have teamed up to produce the poster you see above this text for her new documentary and concert movie Katy Perry: Part of Me.  Apparently, fans who sign up for early screenings of the movie will receive this limited edition poster when they attend. The movie will reportedly screen in 100 locations around the United States and Canada before its full release date, July 5, 2012.

For more information, visit www.katyperrypartofme.com/Sneak.  On his website, Perez Hilton posted that by putting the hash tag, #KP3D Movie Sneak, in your tweets, you will get an alert about signing up for screenings of the Katy Perry movie.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Cloud Atlas" Set for October 2012 with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry

Warner Bros. Pictures Sets October 26, 2012 for Domestic Release of “Cloud Atlas”

Studio Also Acquires Distribution Rights for Major International Markets

Oscar® Winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry Lead an International All-Star Cast

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Pictures has officially slated the epic “Cloud Atlas,” from acclaimed filmmakers Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski, for domestic release on October 26, 2012. In addition, the Studio has acquired rights for the film in the major markets of the UK, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan, with plans to release it in those territories in early 2013. The joint announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Fellman stated, “Audiences who have seen an early screening of ‘Cloud Atlas’ have been elated by its powerful and inspiring story, as well as its breathtaking visuals. An October release in North America is the perfect window to showcase this epic film.”

Kwan Vandenberg said, “We are proud to be distributing this remarkable motion picture in a number of key markets. We look forward to working with these visionary filmmakers and the other international distribution partners to bring ‘Cloud Atlas’ to moviegoers around the world.”

Academy Award® winners Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) and Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”) lead a stellar international cast that includes Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent (“Iris”), Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun and Keith David, with Oscar® winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”) and Hugh Grant. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the stories move through time.

“Cloud Atlas” explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

The film is written for the screen and directed by Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer & Andy Wachowski. The Wachowskis previously teamed as writers/directors of the groundbreaking “Matrix” trilogy, which earned more than $1.6 billion, combined, at the worldwide box office. Tom Tykwer won an Independent Spirit Award and earned a BAFTA Award nomination as the director/writer of “Run Lola Run,” and more recently directed the award-winning thriller “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.”

Based on the celebrated best-selling novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” is produced by two-time Oscar® nominee Grant Hill (“The Thin Red Line,” “The Tree of Life”), three-time BAFTA Award nominee Stefan Arndt (“The White Ribbon,” “Goodbye Lenin!,” “Run Lola Run”), Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski. Philip Lee, Uwe Schott and Wilson Qiu serve as executive producers, with Peter Lam, Tony Teo and Alexander van Duelmen co-producing, and Gigi Oeri as associate producer.

“Cloud Atlas” will be released in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland by X-Filme-Verleih; in China by Dreams of the Dragon Pictures; in Hong Kong by Media Asia Group; in Singapore and Malaysia by Ascension Pictures; in Korea by Bloomage Company; in Taiwan by Long Shong Group; in Russia and Eastern Europe by A Company; and in other territories through Focus Features International.

cloudatlasmovie.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2nd Annual Critics' Choice Television Award Winners - Complete List

Broadcast Television Journalists Association Announces Winners of the 2nd Annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), an offshoot of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, today announced the winners of the 2nd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards. The star-studded gala awards dinner to acknowledge and honor the best in television was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel earlier this evening.

Homeland took home the prize for Best Drama Series while Community won in the Best Comedy Series category. Best Reality Series went to Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, while Best Reality Show-Competition went to The Voice. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was honored as Best Talk Show, Archer was honored as Best Animated Series, and Sherlock was honored as Best Movie/Miniseries. NBC was the most awarded network with five wins followed by ABC and AMC, which tied with three wins each.

Actors Bryan Cranston and Louis C.K. won Best Actor in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad and Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Louie, respectively. Claire Danes was honored as Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Homeland while Zooey Deschanel and Amy Poehler tied for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for their roles in New Girl and Parks and Recreation, respectively. Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series went to Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks for the second year in a row. Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito was named Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Julie Bowen took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy and Ty Burrell won Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for their roles in Modern Family. Lucy Liu won Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series for Southland, and Paul Rudd won Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series for his role on Parks and Recreation.

Dancing with the Star’s Tom Bergeron and So You Think You Can Dance’s Cat Deeley tied for Best Reality Host. Benedict Cumberbatch was recognized as Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries for his work in Sherlock, while Julianne Moore was named Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries for her role in Game Change. In addition, The Following, The Mindy Project, Nashville, The Newsroom and Political Animals were honored as Most Exciting New Series.

Acting category nominees in attendance included: Gillian Anderson (Great Expectations), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Alison Brie (Community), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Kevin Costner (Hatfields & McCoys), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Gillian Jacobs (Community), Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), Regina King (Southland), Lucy Liu (Southland/Elementary), Justin Long (New Girl), Joel McHale (Community), Julianne Moore (Game Change), John Noble (Fringe), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Carrie Preston (The Good Wife), Danny Pudi (Community), Ashley Rickards (Awkward), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Eden Sher (The Middle), Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), RuPaul (RuPaul’s Drag U), Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings), Chloe Webb (Shameless) and Casey Wilson (Happy Endings).

Presenters included: Beth Behrs (Two Broke Girls), Chris Colfer (Glee), Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), Emily Deschanel (Bones), Patrick Duffy (Dallas), Donald Faison (The Exes), Sharon Gless (Burn Notice), Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time), Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town), Stana Katic (Castle), Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope), Robert Patrick (True Blood), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Busy Philipps (Cougar Town), Hannah Simone (New Girl), Kate Walsh (Private Practice) and Shane West (Nikita).

Stars of the five shows acclaimed as Most Exciting New Series were also in attendance including: Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Chris Messina (The Mindy Project), Olivia Munn (The Newsroom), Hayden Panettiere (Nashville), Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom) and Natalie Zea (The Following).

The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) also partnered with thalo Magazine to recognize Smash with the thalo’s Critics’ Choice Inspiration Award, which honors a television show for illuminating the fine arts in its subject matter and production methods, along with the individuals who infuse those productions with their artistic passions.

The Critics’ Choice Television Awards honored programs and performances that aired between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012, except for the Most Exciting New Series, which are shows premiering after June 1, 2012. Six new categories debuted this year including Best Movie or Mini-series, Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series, Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series, Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series, Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series and Best Animated Series. The full winners tally is included below.

The 2nd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards were executive produced by Bob Bain for Bob Bain Productions.

About BTJA
The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) is a partner organization to the Broadcast Film Critics Association. BTJA includes TV, radio and Internet journalists who cover television on a regular basis. For more information, visit: http://www.criticschoice.com/

WINNERS OF THE 2nd ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE TELEVISION AWARDS

Best Drama Series
Homeland – Showtime

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad – AMC

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes – Homeland – Showtime

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad – AMC

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men – AMC

Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
Lucy Liu – Southland – TNT

Best Reality Series
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Travel Channel

Best Reality Series – Competition
The Voice – NBC

Best Reality Show Host - TIE
Tom Bergeron – Dancing with the Stars – ABC
Cat Deeley – So You Think You Can Dance – FOX

Best Talk Show
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – NBC

Best Comedy Series
Community – NBC

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis C.K. – Louie – FX

Best Actress in a Comedy Series - TIE
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl – FOX
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation – NBC

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell – Modern Family – ABC

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Julie Bowen – Modern Family – ABC

Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
Paul Rudd – Parks and Recreation – NBC

Best Animated Series
Archer – FX

Best Movie/Miniseries
Sherlock – Masterpiece on PBS

Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock – Masterpiece on PBS

Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries
Julianne Moore – Game Change – HBO

Most Exciting New Series
The Following (Fox/Warner Bros.)
The Mindy Project (Fox/Universal)
Nashville (ABC/Lionsgate)
The Newsroom (HBO)
Political Animals (USA/Warner Bros.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" is Friendly to the Viewer

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 50 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 67 minutes (1 hour, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence
DIRECTOR: Sam Liu
WRITER: Stan Berkowitz (based upon the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness)
PRODUCER: Michael Goguen and Bobbie Page
EDITOR: Margaret Hou
COMPOSER: Christopher Drake
ANIMATION STUDIO: Lotto Animation

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/SCI-FI/ACTION with elements of drama

Starring: (voices) Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Xander Berkeley, Corey Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Allison Mack, John C. McGinley, CCH Pounder, Calvin Tran, Mark Jonathan Davis, and LeVar Burton

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is a 2009 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. Starring DC Comics characters, Superman and Batman, this is also the sixth feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.

The film is adapted from the opening story arc of the Superman/Batman comic book series. The storyline was entitled “The World’s Finest” (Superman/Batman #1-6, October 2003 to March 2004) and was produced by writer Jeph Loeb and pencil artist Ed McGuinness. Bruce Timm acted as the film’s executive producer.

At the beginning of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown), Superman’s nemesis, uses a severe, nation-wide economic crisis to get himself elected President of the United States. Then, he uses the threat of a kryptonite meteor on course to strike Earth as a rationale to frame Superman (Tim Daly) as a mad criminal. Luthor hires cyborg villain, Metallo (John C. McGinley), to kill Superman, but Batman (Kevin Conroy) rescues the Man of Steel. Luthor uses the video footage of that battle to frame Superman, and he also places a one billion dollar bounty on his head.

An army of supervillains look to collect the bounty on Superman, and Luthor also sends a small group of government-employed superheroes, led by Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley), to arrest Superman. Can Superman and Batman escape their hunters, save Earth from Luthor’s plot, and stop a killer meteor?

When I first started watching Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, I didn’t like it. For one thing, the filmmakers had copied the cartoony drawing style of Ed McGuinness, who drew the comic book upon which this film is based, in their character designs for this film. I didn’t think that worked. However, McGuinness’ drawing style is a traditional one closer to the comic books published in the 1950s and 60s, and this clean style is also friendlier to adaptation as animation than other more detailed or photo-realistic comic book art styles.

So that is my way of saying that visually, the design style and graphic aspects look right for this film. They capture the physicality of the characters and the colorful and quirky costumes and armor. As for the story, it’s very fun with lots of big fights and plenty of sci-fi, save-the-world action.

I have to also say that this DC Universe Animated Original Movie has excellent voice performances from top to bottom. Clancy Brown is ominous and also melodramatic in the vein of an old movie serial villain as Lex Luthor. Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy are a magnificent team as Superman and Batman, respectively. They sound as if they belong together. I am pleased to be pleasantly surprised by Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. As this movie ended, I still wanted more.

7 of 10
B+

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Monday, June 18, 2012

"The Dark Knight Rises" Joins Chrysler for a Contest

“The Dark Knight Rises” and Chrysler Present: Imported from Gotham City

-- Rise to the Challenge --

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Pictures and the Chrysler brand have teamed up to bring fans the opportunity of a lifetime surrounding the July 20th release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the much-anticipated conclusion to the blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy. Friday, June 15, 2012 marked the launch of the “Imported from Gotham City” Contest, allowing fans to create an original co-branded TV spot featuring these two iconic brands. Director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan will select the winning spot, which will debut on television around the release of the film.

Contestants will have two weeks to create their “Imported from Gotham City” original commercial utilizing a suite of assets, including: Chrysler 300 car footage, film footage, and music stems from the trailer that contestants can remix for their spot. At the conclusion of the contest, a gallery of submissions will go live on Saturday, June 30, kicking off a four-day public voting period when fans can weigh-in on their favorite Gotham City collaboration.

The top three finalists will be announced online and Christopher Nolan will personally choose the winner. "We're excited for the opportunity to tap into the creative community online and allow those who participate to showcase their talent and passion. We look forward to seeing what unique spots people produce," says Nolan.

The winning spot will be determined by a number of judging criteria, including public vote, originality, creativity, memorability and brand effectiveness. Warner Bros. and Chrysler will debut the winning commercial on national television the week of the film’s release - watch for specific date and airing details to be announced shortly. The winner will receive a trip to Hollywood to finish their spot alongside a professional editor before traveling to New York City to attend the red carpet premiere screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” on Monday, July 16.

Playing off Chrysler brand’s “Imported from Detroit” advertising campaign, the contest pushes the realm of the user generated contest to a new level, allowing fans to take to the driver’s seat and test their creative skills within the world of Gotham City.

Apart from the winning Contest spot, Chrysler will unveil another 30-second, co-branded television spot titled “Imported from Gotham City” in celebration of the partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures. Directed by Stacy Wall, the spot was designed and shot to look and feel similar to the world of the “The Dark Knight Rises.” Featuring a 2012 Chrysler 300, the spot will make its broadcast debut on Tuesday, June 19, on the NBC network. A 60-second spot will also run online. Once live, both spots will be available on the Chrysler brand YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/Chrysler.

“The 2012 Chrysler 300 featured in this marketing and advertising campaign was created intentionally to look as if it could be driven on the streets and fit in to the nightlife of Gotham City; it’s clearly a vehicle that stands out and makes one take notice,” said Saad Chehab, President and CEO – Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.

For fans of the film, “Imported from Gotham City” merchandise including t-shirts and hats will be available for purchase at Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” site at http://www.ifdstore.com/.

For more information and the official rules regarding the “Imported from Gotham City” contest, visit http://www.importedfromgothamcity.com/.


About “The Dark Knight Rises”
Opening in theatres and IMAX on July 20, 2012, “The Dark Knight Rises” stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. Christopher Nolan directed the film from a screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven are the producers, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull serving as executive producers, and Jordan Goldberg co-producing. “The Dark Knight Rises” is based upon Batman characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Film by Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight Rises,” to be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/

About Chrysler Brand
The spirit of hard work and the belief that luxury shouldn’t be a luxury. Earning your place without forgetting where you’re from. Luxury and quality conceived and developed domestically. That’s what the Chrysler brand and its vehicles are all about. Integrating the first eight-speed automatic transmission in a domestic luxury sedan, the 2012 Chrysler 300 sedans offer world-class innovation and quality while delivering stylistic distinction and premium features with legendary value. The 2012 Chrysler 200 sedan delivers exceptional value without compromise with sophisticated design, high-quality craftsmanship, and technology. The Chrysler 200 Convertible — with a power soft or hardtop — offers an open-air experience featuring elegant craftsmanship. The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country minivan is beautifully crafted with high-quality, soft-touch materials and tech-savvy entertainment features and smart storage. Standard leather Stow ‘n Go® seating, overhead DVD, and more than 40 safety and security features are some of the Town & Country’s innovative offerings.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Boys Gone Wild in Furious "Chronicle"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 49 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Chronicle (2012)
Running time: 84 minutes (1 hour, 24 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking
DIRECTOR: Josh Trank
WRITERS: Max Landis; from a story by Max Landis and Josh Trank
PRODUCERS: John Davis and Adam Schroeder
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew Jensen
EDITORS: Elliot Greenberg

SCI-FI/THRILLER with elements of horror

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw, and Bo Petersen

Chronicle is a 2012 science fiction thriller and teen drama. The film follows three high school friends who gain superpowers and how those powers change them.

Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a loner who starts videotaping his life. His mother, Karen (Bo Petersen), is dying of cancer, and his father, Richard (Michael Kelly), is an abusive alcoholic. Although Andrew is unpopular at school, he does have one friend, his cousin, Matt Garetty (Alex Russell).

Matt invites Andrew to a rave in a bid to help him meet people. However, Andrew ends up taking a trip into the nearby woods with Matt and popular student, Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan). There, they make an incredible discovery that gives them superpowers. At first, they have fun with the new powers, but when they begin to embrace the darker aspects of those powers, their lives begin to spin out of control.

Chronicle reminds me of Carrie, the 1976 Brian De Palma film based upon Stephen King’s 1974 novel of the same name (King’s debut novel). Carrie freaked me out when I first saw it as a child, and I have not been able to watch it since then. Chronicle doesn’t freak me out; it is much slicker than the edgy, odd, and dark Carrie. Chronicle is a shiny bauble structured to make its self-absorbed characters seem thoughtful and self-analytical to its self-absorbed target audience.

Director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis are good at capturing the fun and hijinks of the teenaged boys as they experiment with their powers. I do believe that it is realistic to depict these youngsters as careless enough to test their powers out in public and also to think nothing of filming themselves using those powers. I think that Trank and Landis’ best idea is that when things start to get out of control, they really get out of control. As these young men become more reckless, the story turns wild and unbound. The movie embraces the dark side that is these young fools acting like demigods.

I didn’t know what to expect of Chronicle, but I did want to see it. Now, that I’ve seen it, I want more. It ia great science fiction thriller, but it is also something of a horror movie. When the young men start to embrace the darker aspects of what their powers can do, it is mesmerizing. It is also very scary, because for all that is cool about Chronicle, the film is also about the predatory side in each person.

7 of 10
A-

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New "Katy Perry: Part of Me" Poster - June 14 2012

Happy Father's Day 2012 from Negromancer

I know so many fathers.  But unlike what I did for this recent Mother's Day (in which I tried to list all the mothers I knew personally or knew the people in their lives personally), I won't rattle off a list of papas.  Beside, uncles and grandfathers have been put into the Father's Day roll of honor.

So I'll just send out a wide signal to all the fathers I know and to the ones who visit this blog: Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Rock of Ages" Soundtrack is #1 on Multiple Billboard Charts

ROCK OF AGES: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK Debuts at #1 on the Billboard Soundtrack Chart

Features Hits of Iconic Rockers Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison and Others Performed By Rock of Ages Cast Members Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, and More

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The ROCK OF AGES: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK, released June 5th by WaterTower Music, debuted today at #1 on multiple Billboard charts - locking in the #1 Soundtrack, #1 Indie and #1 Hard Music chart positions according to SoundScan. Additionally, the soundtrack took the #15 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

"We're thrilled with these #1 chart positions before Rock of Ages has even hit theatres," said WaterTower Music head Jason Linn. "And with the film’s opening this Friday, we expect interest in our record to remain high for some time."

This hit album features 20 rousing anthems that defined a generation—reinvigorated for the film by a stellar cast including Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise. The soundtrack for the film, which the Los Angeles Times calls “a love letter to spandex-clad guitar gods,” has earned rave reviews in advance of the film’s theatrical debut, June 15th.

Directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray), New Line Cinema’s Rock of Ages is the film adaptation of the smash hit, five-time Tony®-nominated Broadway musical which tells the story of small town girl Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Executive Music Producer Adam Anders (Glee) helps tell the rock ‘n’ roll romance through cast versions of the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Poison, Journey, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Joan Jett, Foreigner, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, and more.

As the larger-than-life, arena-rocking champ “Stacee Jaxx,” the Rock of Ages Soundtrack features Tom Cruise belting out Bon Jovi’s classic “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Def Leppard’s hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and Guns ‘N Roses anthem “Paradise City.” Cruise also duets with Malin Akerman on Foreigner’s power ballad, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” and shares the mic with Julianne Hough on The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”

The album also features an extraordinary medley of Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian,” David Lee Roth’s “Just Like Paradise,” and Poison’s “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” which features Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.

Also echoing through the soundtrack are mash-ups of songs that ruled the airwaves in the `80s, including Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero” / Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll”; Extreme’s “More Than Words” / Warrant’s “Heaven”; Pat Benatar’s “Shadows Of The Night” / Quarterflash’s “Harden My Heart”; and Starship’s “We Built This City” woven into Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” all performed by the film’s cast.

The full track list for the album is as follows:

1. “Paradise City” - Tom Cruise

2. “Sister Christian” / “Just Like Paradise” / “Nothin’ But A Good Time” - Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin

3. “Juke Box Hero” / “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” - Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Julianne Hough

4. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” - Catherine Zeta-Jones

5. “Waiting For A Girl Like You” - Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough

6. “More Than Words” / “Heaven” - Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta

7. “Wanted Dead Or Alive” - Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough

8. “I Want To Know What Love Is” - Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman

9. “I Wanna Rock” - Diego Boneta

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” - Tom Cruise

11. “Harden My Heart” - Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige

12. “Shadows of the Night” / “Harden My Heart” - Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough

13. “Here I Go Again” - Diego Boneta, Paul Giamatti, Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige, Tom Cruise,

14. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” - Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin

15. “Any Way You Want It” - Mary J. Blige, Constantine Maroulis, Julianne Hough

16. “Undercover Love” - Diego Boneta

17. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” - Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige

18. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” - Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise

19. “We Built This City” / “We’re Not Gonna Take It” - Russell Brand / Catherine Zeta-Jones

20. “Don’t Stop Believin’”- Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige

To learn more about the film and soundtrack visit http://www.rockofagesmovie.com/


From a Ray Bradbury Story: A Sound of Thunder

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 95 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux


A Sound of Thunder (2005)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi violence, partial nudity, and language
CINEMATOGRAPHER/DIRECTOR: Peter Hyams
WRITERS: Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Gregory Poirier; screen story by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (based upon the short story by Ray Bradbury)
PRODUCERS: Moshe Diamant and Karen Baldwin
EDITORS: Sylvia Landra
COMPOSER: Nick Glennie-Smith

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/THRILLER with elements of horror

Starring: Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley, Jemima Rooper, David Oyelowo, William Armstrong, and Corey Johnson

The subject of this movie review is A Sound of Thunder, a 2005 science fiction and time travel movie from director Peter Hyams. The film is based upon a Ray Bradbury short story of the same title that was first published in 1952 (in Collier’s magazine). The film follows the efforts of a scientist who tries to save his world after a group of “time tourists” accidentally change the present by interfering with the past.

In the year 2055, a company based in downtown, Chicago, Time Safari, Inc., is an elite time travel agency. The corporation’s owner, Charles Hatton (Ben Kingsley), has cornered the lucrative time-travel market with something called a “prehistoric hunting package.” For a very high price, rich adventurers can travel back to the Prehistoric age and hunt a real life dinosaur. The trip has only three essential rules: (1) Don’t change anything in the past; (2) Don’t leave anything behind; and most of all (3) Don’t bring anything back – because the slightest alteration of anything that existed in the past could alter the existing course of evolution in unimaginable ways. But someone breaks the rules…

Before long, a series of time waves is rippling across the world. The change is slow at first – just the climate and weather. Within 24 hours, the major changes begin. Plant life grows to monstrous proportions, busting through concrete and pavement, overturning cars, engulfing entire building inside and out, and covering the city. Soon voracious insects are running amok in the city, and then come the hostile new creatures – primates in reptilian form that can move with blazing speed and that feed on humans.

The two people who have an idea of what is happening are Dr. Travis Ryer (Edward Burns), a scientist who leads the Time Safari expeditions so that he can further his genetic research, and Dr. Sonia Rand (Catherine McCormack), the brilliant physicist who developed much of the technology that Time Safari, Inc. uses to make its expeditions into the past possible. Now, Ryer needs Rand’s help if he is going to figure out exactly what went wrong on one of his expeditions that is causing the time waves. With the world collapsing into pandemonium around them, as deadly plants and monstrous new animal life forms attack humans, Ryer and Rand have to figure out a way to go back into the past and correct the error that will save themselves and the human race from extinction.

Once A Sound of Thunder missed its release date of March 2005, it was clear to fans that the distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures, probably thought the film was a bust. Without much advertising and little fanfare, the film finally appeared in early September of 2005, and failed at the box office (grossing less than $2 million domestically). The film was beset by production delays (the great floods of Prague in 2002 damaged the set), causing the film to miss its original release date of 2003. The original director, Renny Harlin, left in 2004 to helm another film (Mindhunters), and the production company went bankrupt, and there was no money to finish the film.

Still, what finally emerges is a rather entertaining, above average, B-movie; in fact, this is a glorified B-movie, a big budget version of the sci-fi monster movies that show up on the Sci-Fi Channel on Saturday nights. Some of the special effects are poor, especially some of the street scenes, which look phony and cheap; the viewer can practically see the “seems” between where the actors and real environment end and the CGI begins. The dinosaur that is the object of Time Safari’s hunts is so poorly animated, especially when compared to the kind of CGI dinos we get in mega productions like Jurassic Park. Part of that is because when the production company went bankrupt, the filmmakers hadn’t begun such post-production work computer animation. When money was finally received to finish A Sound of Thunder, the effects had to be cheaply done.

The script also takes great liberties with its source material, a classic Ray Bradbury science fiction short story, in order to become a full-length film. In the original story, the death of an insect changed an election’s outcome. Here, so much padding had to be added to turn a short story into a feature length film.

Otherwise, I liked the execution of the film’s plot, and its visual choices in terms of set design and art direction. The film’s monsters are also enjoyable even though they look more fake and plastic than the old-time movie monsters that were handmade. And A Sound of Thunder really is a monster movie, except it is set in the milieu of science fiction rather than of horror. In many ways, A Sound of Thunder is the kind of action oriented, sci-fi/horror thriller that director Peter Hyams delivers every blue moon – The Relic being a good example of one of his enjoyable B-movie, sci-fi/horror, action flicks. In Hyams’ films, the genre, be it sci-fi or horror, is just a setting for an action movie starring a solid, macho, can-do male hero. As simple entertainment, they work if you don’t think too much about the flaws and holes.

This flick likes the audience rather than take them for stupid, and it wants to give you a good time. The ending is too abrupt, unsatisfying, and doesn’t really resolve the story. However, A Sound of Thunder is fun, meant to be enjoyable even when the mistakes are right in front of your eyes.

5 of 10
B-

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Shooting Begins on Next Jason Reitman Film "Labor Day"

PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND INDIAN PAINTBRUSH ANNOUNCE THE START OF PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY ON REITMAN’S “LABOR DAY”

Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and Indian Paintbrush announced today that principal photography has begun on “LABOR DAY,” from Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Jason Reitman, with Academy Award®-winner Kate Winslet and Academy Award®-nominated Josh Brolin starring. The film is shooting in Massachusetts.

Based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name, the film is written and directed by Reitman (“Young Adult,” “Up in the Air”) who will produce with his partner Helen Estabrook through their Right of Way Films banner, along with the Academy Award®-nominated team of Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith (“Young Adult,” “Juno”) of Mr. Mudd. Steven Rales (“Young Adult,” “Like Crazy”) and Mark Roybal (“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “No Country for Old Men”) of Indian Paintbrush will serve as executive producers.

“LABOR DAY” centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers, a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.

Winslet (“REVOLUTIONARY ROAD,” “THE READER”) stars as Adele Wheeler, the reclusive mother and Josh Brolin (“TRUE GRIT,” “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN”) is Frank Chambers. Gattlin Griffith (“GREEN LANTERN,” “CHANGELING”) plays Adele’s son Henry. Rounding out the cast is Tom Lipinski (“SUITS”) as the young Frank; Clark Gregg (“MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS”) as Henry’s father Gerald; Alexie Gilmore (“DEFINITELY, MAYBE”) plays Marjorie, Gerald’s new wife and Henry’s stepmom; Lucas Hedges (“MOONRISE KINGDOM”) plays her son Richard; Brighid Fleming (“GAMER”) as Henry’s friend Eleanor; James Van Der Beek (“DON’T TRUST THE B---- IN APARTMENT 23”) as Officer Treadwell; Maika Monroe as young Frank’s sweetheart Mandy; Brooke Smith (“GREY’S ANATOMY,”) as Adele’s friend Evelyn and Micah Fowler as Evelyn’s son Barry.


About Paramount Pictures CorporationParamount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gary Oldman the Master of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 48 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.K. with France
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson
WRITERS: Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan (based on the novel by John le Carré)
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Robyn Slovo
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hoyte Van Hoytema (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Dino Jonsäter
COMPOSER: Alberto Iglesias
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/SPY/THRILLER/HISTORICAL

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds, Simon McBurney, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Stephen Graham, Kathy Burke, Jamie Thomas King, Stuart Grahma, Svetlana Khodchenkova, William Haddock, and John Hurt

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 British drama and espionage film. It is a co-production between British film production company, Working Title Films, and the French StudioCanal and is based upon John le Carré’s 1974 novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film is set in London in the early 1970s and focuses on an espionage veteran who returns from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent working within British Intelligence. It is one of the best films of 2011.

In October 1973, Control (John Hurt), the head of the British Intelligence Service (known as “the Circus”), sends agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) on a mission to Hungary, which goes badly wrong. Control and his right-hand man, George Smiley (Gary Oldman), are forced into retirement.

Later, Oliver Lacon (Simon McBurney), a civil servant in charge of intelligence, brings Smiley out of retirement. Lacon tells Smiley that Control, who is now dead, believed that the Soviet Union had managed to place a mole (or spy) in a senior role in British Intelligence and that the mole had been there for a long time. Control had assigned codenames to the senior intelligence officers that he suspected of being the Soviet mole. They are Percy Alleline, “Tinker” (Toby Jones); Bill Haydon, “Tailor” (Colin Firth); Roy Bland, “Soldier” (Ciarán Hinds); and Toby Esterhase, “Poorman” (David Dencik). Smiley takes the assignment only to learn that he is “Beggarman,” Control’s fifth suspect.

I could easily consider Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a slowing moving spy movie, but I choose to view it as a delicious gumbo on simmer that slowly cooks to perfection. In this case, the perfection is the last half-hour of the movie, which is outstanding and begins with a brilliant scene featuring Smiley, Lacon, and a cabinet minister. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the kind of dense and layered story an espionage film should be… at least when it’s not being a James Bond movie.

Of course, a film adaptation of John le Carré loses the depth, the morsels, and the back story of the novels. The film works because it is a character drama that takes the international intrigue that was the Cold War and transforms it into a conflict (a game, or even a war) between rivals, within and without British Intelligence. The story becomes one about personalities and indeed; the conflicts are more personal and more intimate than they are large-scale and extra-national or international. The movie is a story of lonely and desperate men who can never reveal their secrets to others, even to the point that they become a mystery to themselves.

Such a character drama relies on great performances, and there are many. Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are excellent in strong supporting roles. David Dencik gives extra to Esterhase, enlarging a character that could have been not much more than a superficial little prick.

The most important performance is, of course, Gary Oldman’s. I’ve thought of him as a genius since I first started seeking out films in which he appeared some 20 years ago. He plays George Smiley as a tiger ready to pounce, as an intense man of action, and as the consummate spymaster who leads men and manipulates others to achieve his ends. What is amazing is that Oldman pulls this off by playing Smiley as a quiet, detached man, so that in the moments when he does strike, the viewer is both surprised at this sudden turn and also amazed at what Oldman is keeping under wraps as Smiley.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is superbly directed by Tomas Alfredson and expertly written by the husband and wife team of Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O'Connor (to whom this film is dedicated). It is simply a great film. However, the strength of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is Gary Oldman, the master of this spy game and the winner of this chess match of espionage.

9 of 10
A+

NOTES:
2012 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Gary Oldman), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Alberto Iglesias), and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan)

2012 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Best Adapted Screenplay” (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan) and “Outstanding British Film” (Peter Straughan, Robyn Slovo, Tomas Alfredson, Bridget O'Connor, Eric Fellner, and Tim Bevan); 9 nominations: “Best Film” (Tim Bevan, Robyn Slovo, Eric Fellner), “Best Leading Actor” (Gary Oldman), “Best Cinematography” (Hoyte Van Hoytema), “Best Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), “Best Director” (Tomas Alfredson), “Best Editing” (Dino Jonsäter), “Best Original Music” (Alberto Iglesias), “Best Production Design” (Tatiana Macdonald and Maria Djurkovic), “Best Sound” (Doug Cooper, Andy Shelley, Howard Bargroff, John Casali, and Stephen Griffiths)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Disney Changes "Planes" and "Quest for the Queen" Release Dates

Walt Disney Home Entertainment has announced two release date changes to the company's DVD/Blu-ray release schedule:

"Planes" will now release in Fall 2013 (instead of the originally announced release date of Spring 2013) on Blu-ray and DVD

Disney Fairies "Quest For The Queen" will now release in Spring 2014 (instead of the originally announced release date of Fall 2013) on Blu-ray and DVD

Happy B'day, Gene Wilder: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 91 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Mel Stuart
WRITER: Roald Dahl (based upon his book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
PRODUCERS: Stan Margulies and David L. Woper
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Arthur Ibbetson
EDITOR: David Saxon
Academy Award nominee

FANTASY/MUSICAL/FAMILY with elements of comedy

Starring: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone, Denise Nickerson, “Dodo” Nora Denney, Paris Themmen, Ursula Reit, Michael Bollner, Diana Sowle, and Aubrey Woods

The subject of this movie review is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a 1971 musical fantasy film starring Gene Wilder. The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Some of the late-author Roald Dahl’s works have been adapted to screen. Perhaps, the best known of these films is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, taken from Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a nice movie for children, and two things that certainly make the film worth watching are Gene Wilder (who received a “Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical/Comedy Golden Globe nomination for his performance) and the songs, which received an Oscar nomination for “Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score.”

In the film, the best candies in the world are the chocolate confections of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, owned by the mysterious and reclusive Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder). One day Wonka announces that five lucky candy buyers who find a golden ticket in their Willy Wonka candy bars will be able, with one guest each, to tour his factory. One of the hopefuls is Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum, in his only film role), a boy from an impoverished family. When he finds the last golden ticket, he takes his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) as his guest on the factory tour. Of the five children who find the golden tickets, Willy Wonka has his eyes on Charlie, most of all.

The songs in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are great, especially “The Candyman” (which became of a staple of Sammy Davis, Jr.’s stage show, although the filmmakers declined to allow Davis to play Bill, the candy store owner who first sings the song in the film) and also the Oompa Loompas theme. The sets look cheap (even for the early 70’s) and are only mildly imaginative in their design. Ultimately, this is a curiosity piece for adults, but a fun and fanciful flick for pre-teen children.

5 of 10
B-

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

NOTES:
1972 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley, and Walter Scharf)

1972 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy” (Gene Wilder)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy B'day, Michael J. Fox: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 38 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux


Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Running time: 95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – PG for action violence
DIRECTORS: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
WRITERS: Tab Murphy, from a story by Bryce Zabel, Jackie Zabel, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, and Tab Murphy; from a treatment by Joss Whedon with additional screenplay material by David Reynolds
PRODUCER: Don Hahn
EDITOR: Ellen Keneshea

ANIMATION/SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/ADVENTURE

Starring: (voices) Michael J. Fox, Corey Burton, Claudia Christian, James Garner, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Leonard Nimoy, Don Novello, Jacqueline Obradors, Florence Stanley, David Ogden Stiers, Natalie Strom, Cree Summer, and Jim Varney

The subject of this movie review is Atlantis: The Lost Empire, a 2001 animated film from Walt Disney Pictures. It was the first science fiction film created by Walt Disney Feature Animation. Set in 1914, the film follows a young man and his crew as they search for the lost city of Atlantis.

Unjustly ignored, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is not only a very good film (probably the best animated feature the year of its release), but it is also another example of why Walt Disney continues to be the gold standard in animated feature films.

Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, co-directors of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is the story of Milo Thatch (voice of Michael J. Fox), a young linguist who specializes in dead languages and who inherits his late grandfather’s obsession with the legendary lost city/state/continent of Atlantis. Milo joins a team of intrepid explorers searching for Atlantis as their guide because he can translate his grandfather’s book of Atlantean lore, which is also some kind of map to the lost empire.

Audiences and critics always expect the art of animation in a Disney film to be excellent even if the story isn’t. Both, in this case, are very good. From its 1914 urban setting to the journey into the ocean, through deep caverns, and to Atlantis itself, the animation is a scenic trip through the ability to not only draw beautifully, but to also tell a story with those drawings. The character designs by the great comic book artist Mike Mignola (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) are wonderful with their angular lines and wonderful curves. The animators took the designs and translated them into vibrant and interesting characters.

Screenwriter Tab Murphy (Disney’s Tarzan) crafted a script that captures the sense of wonder and awe of science fiction and fantasy films. It has the flavor of the 1999 remake of The Mummy and of Stargate. Not only is Atlantis: The Lost Empire a fine animated film, but also it’s a very good sci-fi. The film’s glaring weakness is in its stock characters - stereotypical ethnic characters, and unfunny comic relief, but those elements don’t hurt the film as much as they could.

Another part of the Disney magic is the voice cast, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire is no exception. In addition to Fox, James Garner, Claudia Christian, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Leonard Nimoy, and Cree Summers among others deliver stellar work, a testament to their ability as actors to create characters.

Some of the computer animation seems awkward in the film, but much of computer generated imagery and all of its traditional cel animation is very good. Lost in the shuffle of the current wave of computer-animated films, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a gem, an entertaining film for young and old, and an artistic achievement.

8 of 10
A

Friday, June 8, 2012

First "Madagascar" a Looney Tune

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 86 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux


Madagascar (2005)
Running time: 80 minutes (1 hour, 20 minutes)
MPAA – PG for mild language, crude humor, and some thematic elements
DIRECTORS: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
WRITERS: Mark Burton and Billy Frolick and Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
PRODUCER: Mireille Soria
EDITOR: Mark A. Hester

ANIMATION/COMEDY/ADVENTURE/FAMILY/FANTASY

Starring: (voices) Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter

The subject of this movie review is Madagascar, a 2005 computer-animated film from DreamWorks Animation. The film focuses on a group of zoo animals accidentally shipped to Africa.

Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) is king of the animal attractions at New York City’s Central Park Zoo. He and his friends: Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have lived there their entire lives. However, on the day of his tenth birthday, Marty begins to wonder what life outside the zoo – in particular life in the wild, would be like. With the help of four crafty penguins, Marty escapes the zoo for an overnight excursion. When his friends discover him missing, they also leave the zoo to rescue him.

The quartet attracts so much attention, and the sight of Alex the Lion running loose and free scares many New Yorkers. After the quartet is captured, they along with some other animals who escaped (two monkey’s and those darned penguins, again) are put on a cargo ship to be transferred to a zoo in Kenya. Once again, the penguins cause trouble and sabotage the ship, inadvertently causing Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria to be stranded on the exotic island of Madagascar. Now, the quartet has to learn to survive in this lush jungle paradise, but Marty, Melman, and Gloria discover, much to their chagrin, Alex’s wilder side.

Madagascar is the fifth feature-length computer animated film from DreamWorks through their computer animation studio, PDI (DreamWorks Animation). With each film, the art and craft of PDI’s computer graphics and animation markedly improves. In terms of the “drawing” style, this film is closer to the Warner Bros. cartoon shorts of the 1930’s and 40’s, in particular the work of cartoon directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett. The characters are designed to look 2D (two-dimensional), like the hand drawn cartoon characters featured in the aforementioned trio’s legendary work, although the Madagascar’s characters exist in the 3D (three-dimensional) world of computer animation.

How did PDI successfully create a computer animated film that looks like classic “cartoony” animated cartoons of yesteryear? What makes this work is that they mastered “squash and stretch,” the process which animators use to deform an object and then snap it back into shape to portray motion or impact. The ability to squash and stretch is essential to cartoon slapstick comedy such as the Road Runner cartoons. While squash and stretch are easy for animators to do with a pencil in hand-drawn/2D animation, it is more difficult for computer animators to do. DreamWorks Animation has successfully moved to the next level in terms of the quality of their work by creating characters that stretch and expand. It’s a film that able captures the manic energy of Avery, Jones, and Clampett’s Warner Bros. cartoons.

The animation of human characters and the layout, lighting, and set designs of human environments is shocking in how good it looks, but once the narrative moves to Madagascar the character animation really takes off. The characters bend, twist, elongate, and expand in a constant barrage that has the manic energy of classic cartoons. This also helps to sell a limp concept.

The plot is a basic fish-out-of-water tale without much imagination. The characters, except for the penguins, aren’t exceptional or memorable. They are good for some laughs, but they lack the zip, zest, or tang of cast of the Shrek franchise. The buddies of this buddy film, Alex and Marty, have some chemistry, but aren’t that dynamic a duo. Actually, the animals and the actors that give voice to them (Stiller, Rock, Schwimmer, and Ms. Jada) have the best chemistry as either a trio or a quartet. Put three or four together, and the film sparkles and splashes over with slapstick comedy that works. Cut the quartet in half and the narrative loses its energy.

Overall, Madagascar is a pleasant family comedy with some exceptionally strong humor that should appeal to adults; plus, the film references lots of other movies, and that keeps older viewers interested. DreamWorks Animation hasn’t yet reached Pixar, the gold standard in computer animation, but the quality of entertainment in Madagascar proves that the studio can deliver high-quality, if not classic, animated entertainment.

7 of 10
B+