Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: "Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 65 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright (2013) – Video
Running time:  78 minutes (1 hour, 18 minutes)
WRITERS:  Douglas Langdale (teleplay); from a story by Candie Langdale and Douglas Langdale
EDITOR:  Bruce A. King
COMPOSER:  Robert J. Kral
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Digital eMation, Inc.


Starring:  (voices) Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey DeLisle, Mindy Cohn, Wayne Brady, Vivica A. Fox, Isabella Acres, Troy Baker, Eric Bauza, Jeff Bennett, Kate Higgins, Peter MacNicol, Candi Milo, John O’Hurley, Cristina Pucelli, Kevin Michael Richardson, Paul Rugg, Tara Sands, Tara Strong, Travis Willingham, and Ariel Winter

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright is the 20th animated movie in the Scooby-Doo straight-to-video series from Warner Bros. Animation.  This series began in 1998 with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.  In Stage Fright, the Mystery Inc. gang tries to solve the mystery of a talent show plagued by a belligerent phantom.

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright finds Mystery Inc.:  Shaggy Rogers (Matthew Lillard), Fred Jones (Frank Welker), Daphne Blake (Grey DeLisle), Velma Dinkley (Mindy Cohn), and, of course, Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) heading to Chicago for a talent show.  The Windy City is the home of a hot competition reality show called, “Talent Star.”  Fred and Daphne are Talent Star finalists as a singer-songwriter duo.  Shaggy and Scooby do not want to be left out and have a secret act in the works, which they hope will help them storm their way into the finals.  Velma just wants to visit the city’s museums, one of which is exhibiting the legendary “Soap Diamond.”

However, Talent Star is being broadcast from an old opera house with a haunted history.  Now, The Phantom, the horror that plagued the opera house decades ago, is back to curse Talent Star.  Who or what is The Phantom?  The Mystery Inc. gang has a lot of suspects.  Among the many suspects are Talent Star’s publicity-obsessed host, Brick Pimiento (Wayne Brady); the fussy germ-a-phobic stage manager, Dewey Ottoman (Peter MacNicol); stage parents, Barb and Lance Damon (Candi Milo and Troy Baker), whose bratty daughter, Chrissy (Ariel Winter), is a finalist; and the scary and abrasive diva, singer Lotte Lavoie (Vivica A. Fox).

After twenty movies, one would think that this franchise could not offer any more surprises, but Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright does.  For one thing, there are several characters that could be the villain, and a few of them are actually villainous or could be described as an adversary, antagonist, or a general bad actor in the affair.  The story nicely mixes the classic story, The Phantom of the Opera (which originated in the novel by French writer, Gaston Leroux), and elements of the popular television series, “American Idol.”

Those are the things that kept me interested in this movie.  This is how I generally judge Scooby-Doo straight-to-video movies; if by the end of the film I actually wish it wouldn’t end, I consider that one to be a winner.

Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright is a winner.  In addition to the usual good voice acting by the main cast, Wayne Brady, Vivica A. Fox, and Peter MacNicol, in supporting roles, bring their characters to life in a way that makes them and the film a little more interesting to adults.  In fact, as a sidebar, this film does lampoon self-absorbed child stars and the stage parents who make the little monsters.  I think that fans of this film series and fans of Scooby-Doo will like Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright.

7 of 10

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

VIZ Media Celebrates "My Neighbor Totoro" the 25th Anniversary


Commemorate The 25th Anniversary Of Hayao Miyazaki’s Landmark Film With MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL And An Updated Edition Of The Official Film Picture Book Featuring A Special New Cover Design

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, marks the 25th Anniversary of famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s whimsical animated family fantasy, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, with the release on October 1st of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and a brand new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book.

Published under VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library imprint, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL carries an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN, and the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book features an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

In Hayao Miyazaki’s charming animated classic, eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds – and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

MSRP: $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN • Available October 1st
The superbly animated classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is now retold in a novel written by Tsugiko Kubo. This prestigious hardcover edition also features original watercolor illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children's book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers!

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK New Edition • Rated “A” for All Ages • MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN • Available October 1st
This companion, full-color book to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO features artwork taken directly from the movie. The updated edition also features new cover design and allows parents and children to relive Totoro's magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue.

“MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is Hayao Miyazki’s timeless fairy tale for all ages and one of the most internationally acclaimed films to ever come out of Japan,” says Masumi Washington, Sr. Editorial Director. “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and the new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK capture the poignancy and emotion of the story of Satsuki, Mei and their loveable fuzzy forest friends and will be wonderful additions to any Miyazaki fan’s personal library.”

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was released in 1988 by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, which also produced SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and PONYO. TOTORO is an internationally popular property that has spawned a colorful array of adorable plush characters, toys, collectables and other memorabilia. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the DVD/Blu-ray Edition of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO earlier this year.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's most celebrated anime directors. His newest film, The Wind Rises (2013), recounts the early days of aviation and the formative years of Japan's famed World War II Zero fighter plane designer, Jiro Horikoshi. In 2005 Hayao Miyazaki was awarded the Venice International Film Festival's Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement. Miyazaki’s other notable films include Spirited Away, which won the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo, all of which have received great international acclaim. Miyazaki's other achievements include creating the highly regarded manga series Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Starting Point: 1979-1996, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that chronicle his early career and the development of his theories of animation. Both are published in English by VIZ Media.

More information on VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli titles is available at

Get "Ass Backwards" On Demand September 30, 2013

Gravitas Ventures Presents


Available On Demand: September 30th
In Theaters Nationwide: November 7th


Synopsis: Kate (June Diane Raphael) and Chloe (Casey Wilson) are two childhood best friends who met when they placed dead last in their hometown beauty pageant. Now they are all grown up and living in New York City, where Chloe works as a “girl in a box” at a nightclub and Kate is a CEO….of her own one-woman egg donor “corporation”. Lost in delusion, they believe they are living large until an invitation to their hometown pageant arrives and their past comes back to haunt them. Join these two loveable losers as they take an ass backwards journey home to reclaim their crown, stopping off at a women’s separatist commune, an amateur strip club competition, and meeting their favorite reality TV star along the way.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: Winning Cast Carries "Casa de los Babys"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 80 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Casa de los Babys (2003)
Running time:  95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – R for some language and brief drug use
PRODUCERS:  Alejandro Springall and Lemore Syvan
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Mauricio Rubinstein (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  John Sayles
COMPOSER:  Mason Daring


Starring:  Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden, Susan Lynch, Mary Steenburgen, Lili Taylor, and Rita Moreno

The subject of this movie review is Casa de los Babys, a 2003 drama from writer-director John Sayles.  The film focuses on a group of American women in South America where they hope to adopt babies.  Casa de los Babys was screened at various film festivals before receiving a limited theatrical release in September 2003.

In John Sayles’ film Casa de los Babys, six white American women from varying backgrounds have traveled to an unnamed Latin American country to (hopefully) pick up newly adopted babies.  However, they end up stuck in the country because of laws that require they live there while a months-long process of paperwork slowly winds itself through the red tape maze.

The women come to reside at the “casa de los babys,” a hotel run by a woman who is involved in the adoption process.  Oh, the women may very well get babies, but they find themselves going through hoops; mostly it’s about waiting – waiting and getting to know the other mothers – some with sad or scary personal stories.

It’s always hard to figure out what Sayles is trying to say in his films; that’s assuming he has a message.  His movies are always about the characters, and while story and setting aren’t necessarily secondary, the joy of watching one of his movies is in watching how characters live in their environments.

The structure and proportions of Sayles’ films suggest realism, but it’s really the best drama – rooted in reality with the conflict idealized to make it more intriguing.  There are few easy answers, and Sayles films usually leave me with so many unanswered questions.  As usual with a Sayles movie, I’ll heartily recommend this heartfelt and heart-wrenching film and also tell you you’re dumb if you don’t like Casa de los Babys.

8 of 10

Updated:  Friday, September 27, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Former Disney Execs Announce New Animation Project

The DreamVision Company Announces Development of CGI Animated Musical Motion Picture Version of the Classic Chinese Legend “The Monkey King”

BEIJING--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a special global press announcement held earlier today, DreamVision Company studio executives confirmed the development of a spectacular CGI animated musical version of the beloved and legendary story of “The Monkey King”. Monkey King, or known to the Chinese old and young as Xi You Ji (Journey to the West), is one of the renowned truly classic Chinese novels dating back some four hundred years ago. Monkey King is based on an incredible true story of a famous monk, Xuan Zang of the Chinese Tang Dynasty (602-664).

In today’s announcement, The DreamVision Company CEO and Chairman, Rick Silanskas, said, “It is a true honor and privilege to bring this amazing and emotional story that has touched millions to the screen in a magnificent and culturally significant production that we hope will reach the entire globe with our emotionally driven CGI animation and music.”

The highly valued and award winning DreamVision Company encompasses one of the most powerful assembled teams in family entertainment including, The DreamVision Company Chief Creative Officer, Mr. Ron Logan, Disney Legend, Former Executive Vice-President of Disney Worldwide and Founder and First President of Disney Theatrical (Beauty and The Beast) along with a classic creative and management team currently developing motion pictures, ground breaking theme park and resort development globally, television, music and Broadway productions with studio offices in Orlando, Florida, Fort Worth, Texas and Cape Town, South Africa.

Happy Birthday, Jay

My! how time has passed. You were just eight when I first met you.  Have a Happy Birthday and many, many more.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Theatrical Pickpocket Consults on New Will Smith Movie

Apollo Robbins Brings His Expertise into “Focus”

Star Will Smith is Learning Tricks of the Trade From the Famed Sleight-of-Hand Artist

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apollo Robbins, nicknamed “The Gentleman Thief,” is serving as a consultant, conceiving and choreographing original sleight-of-hand maneuvers, for the production of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Focus,” starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Gerald McRaney and Rodrigo Santoro.

Performing since 1998 in Las Vegas as a theatrical pickpocket, Apollo is renowned as the person who lifted the keys off a Secret Service agent who was driving former President Jimmy Carter, as well as Jennifer Garner’s engagement ring from Ben Affleck. In all instances, he always returns what he has lifted from his skeptical audience.

In “Focus,” Will Smith plays a con man who becomes romantically involved with a novice con artist (Margot Robbie), only to break up when she gets too close. Three years later, he is thrown off his game when his former flame shows up in Buenos Aires. Complicating matters even more, each of them is working separate—but equally elaborate—cons, both targeting the same billionaire international race car team owner (Rodrigo Santoro).

The film is being directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”), from their own screenplay. Denise Di Novi (“The Lucky One,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”) is producing the film, with Stan Wlodkowski and Charlie Gogolak serving as executive producers.

Directors Ficarra and Requa stated, “Apollo is the foremost expert in his field and is an inspiration to us.”

Producer Di Novi added, “Apollo has been a tremendous resource both technically and creatively during this process. For ‘Focus,’ he has designed and choreographed sleight-of-hand moves that have never been seen before on film.”

Bringing his unique expertise to “Focus,” Robbins will help to enhance the authenticity of scenes involving legerdemain.

Review: Being Strange Not is Enough for "Bubba Ho-tep"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 122 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bubba Ho-tep (2002)
Running time:  92 minutes (1 hour, 32 minutes)
MPAA – R for language, some sexual content and brief violent images
DIRECTOR:  Don Coscarelli
WRITER:  Don Coscarelli (based upon a short story by Joe R. Lansdale)
PRODUCERS:  Don Coscarelli and Jason R. Savage
EDITOR:  Scott J. Gill and Donald Milne
COMPOSER:  Brian Tyler

HORROR with elements of comedy and drama

Starring:  Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, Reggie Bannister, Daniel Roebuck, Daniel Schweiger, and Bob Ivy

The subject of this movie review is Bubba Ho-tep, a 2002 American comic horror film from writer-director Don Coscarelli.  The film is based on the novella of the same title by author Joe R. Lansdale.  Bubba Ho-tep appeared in many film festivals, beginning in 2002, and received a limited theatrical release in 2003.

In Bubba Ho-tep the movie, Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) is alive and lives in the Mud Creek Shady Rest Convalescence Home.  He has a broken hip and a pus-filled boil on his penis.  How did the King of Rock n’ Roll end up in such a state and living in an old folks home?  It’s a long story.  Besides, President John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis) is an old black man who also lives at the rest home.  Conspiracy theorists rejoice.

There is, however, no time for reminiscing about their fame, their circumstances, and how they cheated death.  These two legendary figures of American history and culture join forces when they discover that an ancient Egyptian mummy in cowboy boots and hat, to whom Elvis jokingly refers as Bubba Ho-tep, has invaded their rest home and is sucking the souls out of the residents.  So Elvis and JFK spring to action before any of the other residents lose their souls.

Film fanatics know director Don Coscarelli for his film Phantasm and its sequels, and Coscarelli’s ready-made cult film, Bubba Ho-tep, is a unique addition to his weirdo filmography.  Bubba Ho-tep is a low wattage fright flick with nice flourishes of comedy (but not the camp kind) and drama.  Lacking super special effects, the film relies on some detailed and heartfelt performances by B-movie actor Bruce Campbell and veteran Ossie Davis, a fine actor who has spent most of his career under-utilized because of he is black.  Campbell is especially good because he deftly skirts a line between being campy and seriously dramatic in his portrayal of Elvis.  It’s as if he wants us to take him seriously as an actor and as if he were mocking the entire thing at the same time.

The film however is too soft; the production values are just enough to put it on the level of real low-budget television show.  In terms of SFX pyrotechnics, Bubba Ho-tep is not even on the level of “The X-Files.”  Still, the film is pleasantly entertaining, and the characters and concept would indeed make a nice episodic TV show.

5 of 10

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Production Begins on Ron Howard's "Heart of the Sea"

Director Ron Howard Takes the Helm of Maritime Action Adventure “Heart of the Sea”

Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland and Brendan Gleeson Star

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Production is now underway in the UK on the action adventure “Heart of the Sea.” Oscar® winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) directs from a script by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”), based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling novel about the dramatic true journey of the whaling ship Essex. The film is a co-production between COTT Productions and Enelmar Productions, A.I.E. for Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures.

“Heart of the Sea” stars Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s “The Avengers,” upcoming “Rush”) as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen Chase; Benjamin Walker (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard; Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) as second mate Matthew Joy; and Ben Whishaw (“Skyfall”) as novelist Herman Melville, whose inquiries into the event 30 years later helped bring the story to light.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

The film also stars Tom Holland (“The Impossible”) as young seaman Tom Nickerson, and Brendan Gleeson (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”) as the same man, 30 years later. Spanish actor Jordi Mollà (“Riddick”) is the captain of another ship, the Archimedes, who tries to warn the Essex of what may lie ahead.

“Heart of the Sea” is produced by Paula Weinstein (“Blood Diamond”), Joe Roth (“Oz the Great and Powerful”), William Ward, Brian Grazer (“J. Edgar”) and Ron Howard. Serving as executive producers are Sarah Bradshaw, Palak Patel and Bruce Berman. William M. Connor is co-producer. The film is based on the novel In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick.

Production, which began September 10th, will shoot at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in Herfordshire, UK, and on location in the Canary Islands.

“Heart of the Sea” is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a COTT Productions-Enelmar Productions, A.I.E. co-production, a Roth Films/Spring Creek/Imagine Entertainment Production. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Review: "But I'm a Cheerleader" is Weird and Wonderful (Happy B'day, Clea DuVall)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 70 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Running time:  85 minutes (1 hour, 25 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong language and sexual content involving teens
DIRECTOR:  Jamie Babbit
WRITERS:  Brian Wayne Peterson; from a story by James Babbit
PRODUCERS:  Leanna Creel and Andrea Sperling
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Jules Labarthe (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Cecily Rhett
COMPOSER:  Pat Irwin


Starring:  Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarity, RuPaul, Eddie Cibrian, Melanie Lynskey, Katharine Towne, Dante Basco, Ione Skye, and Katrina Phillips

The subject of this movie review is But I’m a Cheerleader, a satirical film and romantic comedy from director Jamie Babbit.  The film focuses on a naive teenager who ends up in a conversion therapy camp after her straitlaced parents and friends come to suspect her of being a lesbian.

You are who you are.  The only trick is not getting caught, sez Clea DuVall’s character in the uproarious satire about modern America’s desire to “get rid” of homosexuals, But I’m a Cheerleader.

Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne, American Pie) has a picture of a cheerleader in her locker, a poster of Melissa Etheridge on her bedroom wall, and likes tofu, so her parents (Mink Stole, Bud Cort) are sure she’s a lesbian.  They enroll her in True Directions, a “dehomosexualing” program that purports to make gay kids straight.  Megan, already confused, is then caught between two extremes:  the cruel, hateful, and spiteful headmaster Mary J. Brown (Cathy Moriarity) and an unrepentant rebel lesbian Graham Eaton (Clea DuVall, The Faculty) who is attracted to Megan.

But I’m a Cheerleader is probably the best satire I’ve ever seen on the subject of the American bigoted mindset about homosexuality.  It is a hilarious comedy, and the romance between Megan and Graham is heartfelt and touching in the portrayal of the girls’ awkwardly advancing towards each other.  However, the film’s sharpest barbs are simply aimed at the crass behavior and sheer ignorance of bigotry and hate directed at homosexuals.  It’s one thing to disagree with a “lifestyle;” it’s an entirely different thing to try to destroy that with which you disagree.  I won’t resort to boring speeches and politics, but But I'm a Cheerleader hilariously makes its points.

Director Jamie Babbit and screenwriter Brian Wayne Peterson are sneaky in the way they communicate the messages under cover of outrageous characters and outlandish humor.  I laughed a lot, but I have to admit that you’d have to be really dense not to get the obvious points.  Homophobes that can get the message may hate this film; after all, the creators don’t go out of the way to camouflage their satire.  It’s blunt, but not annoying.  The film is funny, even when it’s being sad.  The film does drag heavily at some moments, and sometimes I was ready for the joke to end; still, the film always picked itself up with something delightful and surprising.

It’s in the power of the film’s sarcasm and irony that we can laugh at human folly, but a part of us sees the folly in ourselves when we watch Cheerleader.  Will we ever live in a free country where people don’t have to be discriminated against because of sexual orientation?  Hell no!  People will discriminate and hate, and then go to church on Sunday and proclaim their love for GOD in vigorous screams, because GOD is all about hating faggots, right?

And that’s fine in way because human folly will keep us knee deep in really good satire like But I’m a Cheerleader for the foreseeable future.  The soundtrack’s cool, too.

7 of 10

Updated:  Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cinedigm Acquires "Night Moves" Starring Jessie Eisenberg

(The above image is a scene from the film, "Night Moves," copyright Tipping Point Productions and courtesy of Business Wire)

Cinedigm Acquires Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves,” Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard

Cinedigm takes all North American rights to eco-terrorism thriller, with U.S. theatrical release planned for 2014 

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM) has acquired all North American rights to NIGHT MOVES, directed by acclaimed American independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt. The film, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this month followed by a North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival and was recently awarded the Grand Prize at the Deauville Film Festival. Cinedigm will release the film in Spring of 2014.

“Kelly is one of the most original and distinctive voices in American cinema today. An expansion on her previous work, NIGHT MOVES maintains that unique Kelly stamp that long ago made us huge fans,” said Vincent Scordino, Senior Vice President of Theatrical Releasing, for Cinedigm.

"We couldn't be happier to be working with Cinedigm," said the filmmakers. "Their enthusiasm for the film was amazing, and we're thrilled to be collaborating with them on its release."

Reichardt’s award-winning films include RIVER OF GRASS, OLD JOY, WENDY AND LUCY and the acclaimed Michelle Williams-starring Western MEEK’S CUTOFF. NIGHT MOVES is her fifth feature film and tells the story of three radical environmentalists plotting the explosion of a hydroelectric dam—the symbol of the energy-sucking, resource-devouring industrial culture they despise. The suspense-filled film adds a “noir-thriller” to Reichardt’s already impressive and diverse body of work.

The film is a production of Maybach Film Productions, RT Features and filmscience. It was produced by Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani, Chris Maybach, Saemi Kim and Rodrigo Teixeira. The deal was negotiated by Cinedigm’s Director of Acquisitions Emily Rothschild with UTA representing the filmmakers.

TWITTER: @NightMovesFilm

Over the past decade, Cinedigm has led the digital distribution revolution that continues to transform the media landscape. In addition to its pioneering role in transitioning movie theatres from traditional film prints to digital distribution, Cinedigm continues to advance worldwide cinema modernization with its suite of software products allowing exhibitors and distributors to manage their newly digital businesses with efficiency, insight and certainty. And, as the leading distributor of independent content in the world, Cinedigm collaborates with producers and the exhibition community with unequalled transparency to market, source, curate and distribute quality content across all digital platforms to targeted and profitable audiences. The company’s library of over 5,000 titles includes award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, next-gen indies from Flatiron Film Company® and acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film. Cinedigm is proud to distribute many Oscar®-nominated films including THE INVISIBLE WAR, HELL AND BACK AGAIN, GASLAND, WASTE LAND and PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY.

Current and upcoming Cinedigm releases include Destin Daniel Cretton’s SHORT TERM 12, Godfrey Reggio’s VISITORS, Penny Lane’s OUR NIXON and Shaul Schwarz’s NARCO CULTURA.

Cinedigm™ and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp™ are trademarks of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp [CIDM-G] 

Review: "Anything Else" is Familiar Woody Allen

TRASH N MY EYE No. 119 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Anything Else (2003)
Running time:  108 minutes 91 hour, 48 minutes)
MPAA – R for a scene of drug use and some sexual references
PRODUCER:  Letty Aronson
EDITOR:  Alisa Lepselter


Starring:  Woody Allen, Jason Biggs, Fisher Stevens, Anthony Arkin, Danny DeVito, Christina Ricci, Kadee Strickland, Jimmy Fallon, Diana Krall, William Hill, Stockard Channing, Maurice Sonnenberg, Kenneth Edelson, David Conrad, and Joseph Lyle Taylor

The subject of this movie review is Anything Else, a 2003 romantic comedy from writer-director Woody Allen.  The film is a contemporary romantic comedy set in New York City and follows an older guy as he guides his younger protégé through a messy and hilarious love story.

Woody Allen’s Anything Else is a movie about two relationships.  First, there is the friendship between an aged, aspiring comedy writer, David Dobel (Woody Allen), and a young, struggling comedy writer, Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs, American Pie).  Dobel is apparently severely paranoid, but he dispenses much wisdom and advice to Falk, who is in the middle of a messy situation.  That situation is the second relationship upon which the film focuses.  Falk is deeply in love with Amanda (Christina Ricci), a young actress who is insecure about her weight, among others things.  Amanda also claims to be uptight and insecure about her relationship with Jerry, but she may only be using that as a cover for having one or several affairs.

Anything Else isn’t among Allen’s best work, but it’s better than his least work – sort of in the middle.  It’s intermittently funny, sometimes outrageous, but too often dull and dry.  Allen’s dialogue, is as usual, crackling, but it takes almost half the film before the witty repartee begins to flow.  When Allen is not the lead in his film or if he’s not in his film, he usually has another character stand in for him.  While Allen is in Anything Else as David Dobel, Jason Biggs’ Jerry Falk is the Woody character or character type we’ve seen in films like Annie Hall or Manhattan.  Biggs does a passable job in this role, but that’s all; thankfully Woody is so good at writing himself, even for other actors to play, that the film doesn’t fall apart.  But nor does it ever really come together as anything more than several scenes that would make good exercises for an acting class.

Christina Ricci steals the show, although her performance takes a bit of time to get going.  Despite its obvious flaws, Anything Else is worth seeing, not only for Allen fans, but also for fans of Ms. Ricci.

6 of 10

Updated:  Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 Primetime Emmy Award Winners List

by Amos Semien

The Emmy Award is a television production award that is considered the television equivalent of the Academy Awards in film and the Grammy Awards in music.  Negromancer’s focus is usually on the Primetime Emmy Awards.  It is presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best in television programming (at least as the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences see it) from June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013.  The awards ceremony was held on Sunday, September 22, 2013 and televised by CBS (in the United States) and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who is a multiple-Emmy winner.

The majority of 2013 Primetime Emmys were actually handed out at the 2013 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony, which was held on Sunday, September 15, 2013.  Go here to read the list.

65th Annual / 2013 Primetime Emmys winners:


Best Comedy Series:
"Modern Family"

Best Comedy Actor:
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"

Best Comedy Actress
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

Best Comedy Supporting Actor:
Tony Hale, "Veep"

Best Comedy Supporting Actress:
Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie"

Best Comedy Writing
"30 Rock" -- "Last Lunch" (Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield)

Best Comedy Directing
"Modern Family" -- "Arrested" (Gail Mancuso)


Best Drama Series
"Breaking Bad"

Best Drama Actor
Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"

Best Drama Actress
Claire Danes, "Homeland"

Best Drama Supporting Actor
Bobby Cannavale, "Boardwalk Empire"

Best Drama Supporting Actress
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"

Best Drama Writing
"Homeland" -- "Q&A" (Henry Bromell)

Best Drama Directing
"House of Cards" -- "Chapter 1" (David Fincher)


Best Movie/Miniseries
"Behind the Candelabra"

Best Movie/Mini Actor
Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra"

Best Movie/Mini Actress
Laura Linney, "The Big C: Hereafter"

Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor
James Cromwell, "American Horror Story: Asylum"

Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress
Ellen Burstyn, "Political Animals"

Best Movie/Mini Writing
"The Hour" (Abi Morgan)

Best Movie/Mini Directing
"Behind the Candelabra" (Steven Soderbergh)


Best Variety Series
"The Colbert Report"

Best Variety Series Writing
"The Colbert Report"

Best Variety Series Directing
"Saturday Night Live"


Best Reality Competition Series
"The Voice"


Best Choreography
"Dancing with the Stars" -- "Hey Pachuco/Para Los Rumberos/Walking on Air" (Derek Hough)

Thanks to Gold Derby for the list.

2013 Primetime Emmy Awards: Creative Arts Emmy Winners List

by Amos Semien

The Creative Arts Emmys are the Emmy Awards presented in recognition of technical and similar achievements in American television programming.  These Emmys are commonly awarded to behind-the-scenes personnel such as art directors, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, and sound editors.  The Creative Arts category also includes awards for outstanding animated programs and guest acting in comedy and drama television series.

The Creative Arts portion of the 2013 Primetime Emmys handed out 77 awards on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

65th Annual / 2013 Primetime Emmys winners:

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Bob Newhart, "The Big Bang Theory"
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Melissa Leo, "Louie"
Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Dan Bucatinsky, "Scandal"
Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Carrie Preston, "The Good Wife"

Variety Special: "Kennedy Center Honors"
Directing: "Kennedy Center Honors"
Writing: "Louis C.K.: Oh, My God"

Reality Host: Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn
Reality Program: "Undercover Boss"

Animated Program: "South Park"
Short-Format Animated Program: "Disney Mickey Mouse Croissant de Triomphe"
Achievement in Animation: (6 honorees announced earlier) "Adventure Time," "Disney Mickey Mouse Croissant deTriomphe," "Disney Mickey Mouse Croissant deTriomphe," "Disney TRON: Uprising," "Dragons: Riders of Berk," "The Simpsons"
Children’s Program: "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee"

Multi-Camera Series: "Master Chef"
Variety or Nonfiction Programming (Tie): Olymphic Games, "Saturday Night Live"
Mini or Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"
Single-Camera Series: "Boardwalk Empire"

Drama Series: "House of Cards"
Mini/Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"
Comedy Series: "30 Rock"

Reality Programming: "The Deadliest Catch"
Single-Camera Series: "House of Cards"
Miniseries or Movie: "Top of the Lake"
Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series: "How I Met Your Mother"
Nonfiction Programming: "Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown"

Outstanding Commercial: "Inspired," Canon

Miniseries, Movie or a Special: "Behind the Candelabra"
Series: "The Borgias"
Variety Program or a Special: Grammy Awards, "Portlandia," "Men Who Built America" (juried award)

Mini or Movie: "Behind the Candelabra:
Multi-Camera Series or Special: "Saturday Night Live"
Single-Camera Series: "Boardwalk Empire"

Interactive Program: "Night of Too Many Stars"
Creative Achievement in Interactive Media: Original Interactive Program: "Lizzie Bennet Diaries"

Variety Series: "The Voice"
Variety Special: Super Bowl Halftime Show

Prosthetic - Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special: "Behind the Candelabra"
Non-Prosthetic - Miniseries or a Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"
Non-Prosthetic - Single-Camera Series: "Game of Thrones"
Non-Prosthetic - Multi-Camera Series or Special: "Saturday Night Live"

Music Direction: Tony Awards
Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score): "Downton Abbey"
Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special (Original Dramatic Score): "World Without End"
Original Music and Lyrics: Tony Awards
Original Main Title Theme Music: "Da Vinci's Demons"
Main Title Design: "Da Vinci's Demons"

Direction for Nonfiction Programming: "American Masters"
Writing for Nonfiction Programming: "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God"
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking: "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God"
Documentary or Nonfiction Special: "Manhunt: Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden"
Documentary or Nonfiction Series (Tie): "American Masters," "Inside the Actor's Studio"
Informational Series or Special: "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown"

Picture Editing for Reality Programming: "Deadliest Catch"
Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming: "Mea Maxima Calpa: Silence in the House of God"
Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series: "Breaking Bad" ("Gliding Over All")
Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: "The Office" finale
Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: "How I Met Your Mother"
Single Camera Picture Editing for a Mini or Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"
Picture editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials: "Daily Show"

Miniseries, Movie or a Special: "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera): "Men Who Built America"
Series: "Boardwalk Empire"

Variety Series or Special: Grammy Awards
Nonfiction Programming: "History of the Eagles"
Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour): "Boardwalk Empire"
Miniseries or Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"
Comedy or Drama Series (Half Hour) and Animation: "Nurse Jackie"

Special Class Programs: Tony Awards
Special Class Programs - Short Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs: "Children's Hospital"
Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: "Remembering 9/11"

Comedy Series or a Variety Program: "Supah Ninjas"
Drama series, Movie or Mini: "Revolution"

Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series: "The Big Bang Theory"
Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special: Tony Awards

Special Visual Effects: "Game of Thrones"
Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role: "Banshee"

Voice-Over Performance: Lily Tomlin, "An Apology to Elephants"

Thanks to Gold Derby.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Amazon Studios Adds New Cast Members to "Alpha House"

Amazon Studios Casts Cynthia Nixon, Amy Sedaris, Wanda Sykes and Julie White in Alpha House

Critically-acclaimed actresses to guest star in one of Amazon’s first original series

Customer favorite Alpha House to debut exclusively on Prime Instant Video this fall

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon Studios, the original movie and series production arm of, today announced that Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy), Wanda Sykes (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Julie White (Go On) will appear in the Amazon Original Series Alpha House, written by Doonesbury creator, Garry Trudeau. Alpha House, currently filming in New York, will air exclusively on Prime Instant Video later this year. This all-star female cast joins Alpha House alums John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy, and Mark Consuelos.

“We're lucky enough to have four of the most talented performers around joining the show”
Alpha House follows four Republican senators-turned-housemates, Gil John Biggs (John Goodman), Robert Bettencourt (Clark Johnson), Louis Laffer (Matt Malloy) and, Andy Guzman (Mark Consuelos) through re-election battles, looming indictments, parties and housemate drama. Nixon will play Senator Carly Armiston, the formidable, confident, Democratic senator from New York. She is joined by Sedaris, who will play Louise Laffer, the sweet, concerned wife of Senator Louis Laffer. Sykes will play Senator Rosalyn DuPeche, a strong-willed, funny Democrat who just happens to be a neighbor of the male senators, while White will play the tough, determined, yet charming southern wife to Goodman’s character Gil John Biggs.

“We're lucky enough to have four of the most talented performers around joining the show,” said Alpha House creator Garry Trudeau, who worked with Nixon on his celebrated show, Tanner '88 and has long admired the work of Sykes, Sedaris and White.

Following a positive response from Amazon customers, Alpha House was one of five pilots selected from Amazon Studios’ first set of 14 pilots, which debuted in April. Of the 14 pilots, Alpha House, Betas, Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumble Leaf were chosen, with the help of customer feedback, to become full series. The shows will stream on Prime Instant Video later this year and in early 2014.

About Amazon Studios
Amazon Studios launched in 2010 as a new way to develop feature films and episodic series — one that's open to great ideas from creators and audiences around the world. Anyone can upload a script and will then be notified within 45 days if that script is optioned. Amazon Studios will read and review all submissions and those who choose to make their projects public will also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community. Recently, Amazon Studios announced six new kids pilots including Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Grid Smasher, Hard-Boiled Eggheads, The Jo B. & G. Raff Show, The Maker Shack Agency and Wishenpoof! The pilots will be available on Amazon Instant Video in early next year for all customers to watch and provide feedback. Since launch, more than 18,000 movie scripts and 4,000 series projects have been submitted to Amazon Studios.

Comprehensive cast and crew information, including bios and filmographies, is available on Amazon's IMDb (, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content.

About, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle Paperwhite is the most advanced e-reader ever constructed with 62% more pixels and 25% increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions, extra-long battery life, and a thin and light design. The new latest generation Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, now features new, improved fonts and faster page turns. Kindle Fire HD features a stunning custom high-definition display, exclusive Dolby audio with dual stereo speakers, high-end, laptop-grade Wi-Fi with dual-band support, dual-antennas and MIMO for faster streaming and downloads, enough storage for HD content, and the latest generation processor and graphics engine -- and it is available in two display sizes -- 7” and 8.9”. The large-screen Kindle Fire HD is also available with 4G wireless. The all-new Kindle Fire features a 20% faster processor, 40% faster performance, twice the memory, and longer battery life.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including,,,,,,,,, and As used herein, “,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements 
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

Review: "Star Trek Into Darkness" a Spectacular Trip

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 64 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Running time:  127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence and brief sexual content
DIRECTOR:  J.J. Abrams
WRITERS:  Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof (based upon the television “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry)
PRODUCERS:  J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof
EDITORS:  Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
COMPOSER:  Michael Giacchino

SCI-FI/ACTION/THRILLER with elements of drama and comedy

Starring:  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller, Alice Eve, Noel Clarke, Nazneen Contractor, and Bruce Greenwood with Leonard Nimoy

Star Trek Into Darkness is a 2013 science fiction and action film from director J.J. Abrams.  This movie is the 12th film in the Star Trek film franchise, which is a continuation of “Star Trek,” the beloved 1960s television series.  Star Trek Into Darkness (also known as “STID”) is the follow up to the 2009 film, Star Trek, which was a reboot of the franchise by J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.  STID pits the crew of the Enterprise against an unstoppable and mysterious force of terror from within their own organization.

The 2009 film was stunningly clever and wildly imaginative, and a jittery, sexy, and fresh take on a venerable science fiction classic.  STID is not necessarily fresh (or not as fresh its predecessor), but it is a crazy, sexy blast.

Star Trek Into Darkness opens in the year 2259.  Captain James T. “Jim” Kirk (Chris Pine) still commands the starship, the USS Enterprise.  Kirk’s top officers and the most trusted members of his crew are Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Lt. Commander Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), Lt. Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Simon Pegg), Lt. Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), and Ensign Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin).  Together, they are in the midst of another wild adventure.

Early in the film, Capt. Kirk pulls a stunt that gets him into trouble with Starfleet.  He gets a chance at redemption after Commander John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) launches a series of terrorist attacks against the Federation (United Federation of Planets).  At the behest of Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller), commander-in-chief of Starfleet, Kirk leads the Enterprise on a mission against Harrison.  To capture this fugitive, however, the Enterprise must travel to Kronos, the home world of the Klingons, an alien race that is practically in a state of war with the Federation.

Star Trek Into Darkness is epic; it’s like three or four mini-movies put together to form one big, massive, sci-fi extravaganza.  It is a rousing adventure, a riveting action-adventure in space, and a swashbuckling, seafaring adventure set on the tumultuous oceans of the starry space-ways.

The film largely focuses on Kirk and Spock, and thematically, the story revolves around their personality traits, quirks, and flaws.  Revenge is also a theme, best personified by the “John Harrison” character, although I am conflicted about Benedict Cumberbatch’s casting and performance as Harrison.  Physically, Cumberbatch is miscast because he is too pasty-faced and looks more like a sneering kid than a monster/terrorist.  His athletic build looks pudgy even in a sleek bodysuit.  Cumberbatch vacillates between being too posh or too pissed off; it makes the character occasionally comical.  Cumberbatch is STID’s big misstep that luckily does not become a fatal flaw.

On the other hand, Simon Pegg is superb as Scotty.  He provides spot-on, dead-on humor in the film, and Pegg maximizes his impact upon each scene in which Scotty participates.  Pegg is STID’s best foot forward.

I understand that some hardcore Star Trek fans (Trekkies or Trekkers) were upset about at least not exited by STID.  I am not a hardcore fan, but I love me some Star Trek – the original television series, especially.  Star Trek Into Darkness feels like Star Trek to me.  J.J. Abrams’ two Star Trek films are the breathtaking, mind-blowing adventures that earlier Star Trek television series and films could not be – mainly for budgetary and technical reasons.

Thus, the Star Trek movies of J.J. Abrams and writer Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, in some ways, do not look like their Star Trek predecessors.  But the spirit of Star Trek is there, even behind all that shiny computer-generated, special visual effects.  I unreservedly endorse that you, dear readers, follow Star Trek Into Darkness into a grand time at the movies.  This film is not without its flaws, but somehow, STID’s imperfections make it seem all the more beautiful to me.

9 of 10

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Official Poster for Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" is Released


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.

DECEMBER 25, 2013 (Limited release)

Official site:



Review: "Lost in Translation" is Superb (Happy B'day, Bill Murray)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 22 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Lost in Translation (2003)
Running time:  101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – R for some sexual content
PRODUCERS:  Sofia Coppola and Ross Katz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Lance Acord (D.o.P.)
COMPOSER:  Kevin Shields
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/ROMANCE with some elements of comedy

Starring:  Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Nancy Steiner (uncredited voice), Fumihiro Hayashi, Hiroko Kawasaki, and Akiko Takeshita

The subject of this movie review is Lost in Translation, a 2003 drama and romantic film from writer-director Sofia Coppola.  Sofia’s legendary filmmaker father, Francis Ford Coppola, is also this film’s executive producer.

In 1990, film critics howled in derision when director Francis Ford Coppola cast his daughter, Sofia, in The Godfather: Part III, when another actress had to drop out early in filming schedule.  Over a decade later, Sofia Coppola has firmly established herself as a directorial talent to watch thanks to her excellent film, Lost In Translation, the story of two displaced Americans in Tokyo who form a unique friendship of platonic love.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a fading TV star who goes to Tokyo after he’s paid $2 million to appear in an ad for Suntory whiskey.  Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is in Tokyo with her husband, John (Giovanni Ribisi), who is photographing a rock band for a major magazine.  Bob and Charlotte spend most of their time stuck in a hotel.  Charlotte is frozen in her life, unsure of where her marriage is going and of what’s she going to do in life.  Bob’s marriage is kind of shaky as he goes through a midlife crisis.

Bob and Charlotte meet in a hotel bar and bond.  It’s that bond that helps them to deal with their feelings of confusion and loneliness, and in that special friendship, they share  the hilarity caused by the cultural and language differences they encounter in Tokyo.  They turn their time in a strange land into a wonderful and special week in Japan.

Lost in Translation was one of 2003’s best films.  It’s smartly written, beautifully photographed, and splendidly directed.  If there’s an adjective that suggests good, it belongs in descriptions of LiT.  There is a patience in the filmmaking that suggests the filmmakers allowed the film to come together in an organic fashion, each adding their talents in the correct measure.

Ms. Coppola is brilliant in the way she lets her stars carry the film.  She does her part to give LiT a unique visual look, something that suggests a documentary and an atmosphere of futurism.  If you’ve heard that Bill Murray is just doing himself in this movie, you’re hearing ignorant people.  Yes, Murray brings a lot of his personality to the role, but Bob Harris is mostly a stranger to us.  Bill builds the character before our eyes, showing us a character new and rich in possibilities, someone with whom we can sympathize.  Bill shows us just enough to know him and keeps enough hidden to make Bob mysterious and intriguing.

Ms. Johansson carries herself like a veteran actress of many films.  She’s beautiful, but she’s puts those good looks to more use than just being eye candy.  She’s subtle and crafty, and a lot of her character is revealed in her eyes, in the careful nuances of facial expressions, and in the understated movements of her slender, sexy frame.  She’s a movie star.

For people who are always looking for something different in film, this is it.  Lost in Translation is like sex, lies, and videotape or Reservoir Dogs, an early film in a director’s career that is more foreign than American, and announces the coming of a director who might just be a visionary.  Plus, it’s a great romantic movie, as good as any classic love story.

9 of 10

2004 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Sofia Coppola); 3 nominations “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Bill Murray), “Best Director” (Sofia Coppola), “Best Picture” (Ross Katz and Sofia Coppola)

2004 BAFTA Awards:  3 wins: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Bill Murray), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Scarlett Johansson), and “Best Editing” (Sarah Flack); 5 nominations: “Best Film” (Sofia Coppola and Ross Katz), “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music” (Kevin Shields and Brian Reitzell), “Best Cinematography” (Lance Acord), “Best Screenplay – Original” (Sofia Coppola), “David Lean Award for Direction” (Sofia Coppola)

2004 Golden Globes, USA:  3 wins: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical,” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Bill Murray), “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Sofia Coppola); 2 nominations: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Sofia Coppola) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Scarlett Johansson)

Updated:  Saturday, September 21, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"We're the Millers" Crosses $200 Million Mark in Worldwide Box Office

New Line Cinema’s “We’re the Millers” Drives Past $200 Million at the Worldwide Box Office

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continuing its successful run at the box office, New Line Cinema’s smash hit comedy “We’re the Millers” has surpassed $200 million at the worldwide box office. The announcement was made by Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has grossed an estimated $206 million globally, and still climbing.

“We’re the Millers” has taken in an estimated $132.6 million domestically and is still going strong. Internationally, the film has grossed $73.4 million, opening at #1 in key European markets such as Germany and breaking records in Russia, where it has become the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. Major markets set to release in the coming weeks include Spain, France and Brazil.

Fellman stated, “‘We’re the Millers’ has demonstrated terrific playability from coast to coast, and the phenomenal word of mouth has kept the weekly drops notably low and the attendance consistently high. We congratulate our partners at New Line, as well as director Rawson Marshall Thurber and the terrific cast, led by the tremendously talented Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston.”

Kwan Vandenberg noted, “The international rollout has been fantastic, with number one openings and powerful holds. International audiences have responded in a big way to the film’s outrageous humor, and the chemistry of Jennifer and Jason and the entire cast. We join New Line in congratulating Rawson and his cast and crew on crossing this exciting benchmark.”

From New Line Cinema comes the action comedy “We’re the Millers,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis under the direction of Rawson Marshall Thurber.

David Clark (Sudeikis) is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids—after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms).

In order to wipe the slate clean—and maintain a clean bill of health—David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad’s latest shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose (Aniston) and wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), as well as streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the “Millers” are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.

The film also stars Emma Roberts, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Will Poulter and Ed Helms.

Thurber directed “We’re the Millers” from a screenplay by Bob Fisher & Steve Faber and Sean Anders & John Morris, story by Fisher & Faber. Vincent Newman, Tucker Tooley, Happy Walters and Chris Bender produced, with David Heyman, J.C. Spink, Marcus Viscidi, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener and David Neustadter serving as executive producers.

Thurber’s behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Barry Peterson; production designer Clayton Hartley; editor Mike Sale; and costume designer Shay Cunliffe. The music is by Theodore Shapiro and Ludwig Goransson.

New Line Cinema presents a Newman/Tooley Films, Slap Happy Productions/Heyday Films and Benderspink production, “We’re the Millers.” The film is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

“We’re the Millers” is rated R for “crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity.”

Review: "Office Space" is Still a Classic (Happy B'day, Gary Cole)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 183 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Office Space (1999)
Running time:  89 minutes (1 hour, 29 minutes)
MPAA – R for language and brief sexuality
DIRECTOR:  Mike Judge
WRITER:  Mike Judge (based upon his animated short films, Milton)
PRODUCERS:  Daniel Rappaport and Michael Rotenberg with Mike Judge
EDITOR:  David Rennie
COMPOSER:  John Frizzell


Starring:  Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Ajay Naidu, David Herman, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, Richard Riehle, Joe Bays, John C. McGinley, Paul Wilson, Diedrich Bader, Kinna McInroe, Todd Duffey, Greg Pitts, Orlando Jones, and Kyle Scott Jackson

The subject of this movie review is Office Space, a 1999 workplace comedy from writer-producer-director, Mike Judge.  The film follows a group of workers at a software company who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.

In 1999, 20th Century Fox released a comedy by “Beavis and Butt-head” creator Mike Judge that quickly disappeared from theatres.  This is, however, one of the instances since the advent of widespread home video entertainment that videocassettes and DVD’s have saved a great film from obscurity, and thankfully so.  Anyone who has ever worked as a drone in a thankless job will thrill at the outrageous and dead-on comedy of Judge’s film, Office Space.

Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is a software engineer at the company Initech.  Peter is a cog at the company, writing code in an ultimately thankless job, but the job is only one portion of a seemingly meaningless life.  His difficult girlfriend takes him one Friday evening to a hypno-therapist who promptly dies after putting Peter in a state of total bliss.  From then on, Peter takes a new look at his life, and his new dismissive attitude about his job catches the attention of efficiency experts hired by Initech to fire extraneous employees.

The efficiency dudes get Peter a promotion, but get his co-workers, Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu), fired.  The trio then hatches a plan to steal money from an Initech corporate account using a computer virus.  But a coding error may get the guys caught and in a federal “pound me in the ass” prison, and Peter may not be able to win back his new girlfriend, Joanna (Jennifer Aniston).

All props to Judge for getting the most traction out of many of the film elements.  The script has an uncanny sense of verisimilitude about the workplace, especially the corporate cubicle world of white-collar labor, but the humor and themes capture the dead spirit of most workaday jobs.  Judge’s direction is light, breezy, and quick, and he still manages to capture the right moods in which to communicate particular messages, ideas, and themes to the audience.  Also, his use of music, he particularly 80’s, old school, gangsta and hardcore rap somehow really works for this film.

What especially makes Office Space memorable is its cast.  Ron Livingston sells himself as both the everyday working man and the frustrated white-collar worker.  Gary Cole is slimy, smooth, and cool as Peter Gibbons' do-nothing, pencil-pushing boss, Bill Lumbergh.  However, the star-making turn in the film is Stephen Root’s nerd, percolating psychopath, Milton Waddams.  I don’t know if viewers recognize Milton in themselves or their co-workers, but maybe we all just find him so funny.

If it has one major flaw, it is that Office Space is a riot of laughs almost to the halfway point until it slips on a subplot.  When the script takes the film deeply into the genre plot about the money scam, the film seems to lose focus of the fact that it’s the workers versus their workplace annoyances that really make Office Space a gem, not some half-assed sub-plot.  Thankfully, the film returns to the workers’ trials and tribulations before it closes.

8 of 10

Updated:  Friday, September 20, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: "Sky High" is Not That High (Happy B'day, Danielle Panabaker)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 131 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Sky High (2005)
Running time:  102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – PG for action violence and some mild language
DIRECTOR:  Mike Mitchell
WRITERS:  Paul Hernandez and Bob Schooley & Mark McCorkle
PRODUCER:  Andrew Gunn
EDITOR:  Peter Amundson
COMPOSER:  Michael Giacchino


Starring:  Michael Angarano, Kelly Preston, Lynda Carter, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bruce Campbell, Dave Foley, Steven Strait, Kevin McDonald, Cloris Leachman, and Kurt Russell, Khadijah (Haqq) and Malika (Haqq), Patrick Warburton (voice), Dee-Jay Daniels, and Kevin Heffernan

The subject of this movie review is Sky High, a 2005 superhero family film from Walt Disney Pictures.  Set in a world where superheroes are a common thing, Sky High follows a young superhero who struggles with being a normal teenager and with following in the footsteps of his parents, the world’s greatest superhero duo.

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the teenaged-son of Steve (Kurt Russell) and Josie Stronghold (Kelly Preston), who also happen to be the world’s greatest superhero duo, The Commander (Russell) and Jetstream (Ms. Preston).  Will is about to enter the freshmen class of Sky High, the first and only high school for kids with super powers.  The problem for Will is that puberty has not brought about the onset of any powers, so not only does he have to deal with the typical high school problems:  bullies, cliques, and teachers, but he also has to deal his father Steve, who has very high expectations for his son – a son who has no super powers.

The superhero teaching method at Sky High divides the students into two groups, “Heroes” and “Sidekicks.”  Not having any powers gets Will into the latter group, but he fits right in because his loyal childhood friend, Layla (Danielle Panabaker), is also a Sidekick.  However, Will still has to deal with his intimidating gym teacher, Coach Boomer (Bruce Campbell), and Warren Peace (Steven Strait), the son of a villain his father locked up long ago, and Peace, who can generate fire, plans on taking out his frustration about his father on Will.

Will does eventually find his powers, but it goes to his head.  His ego is much inflated when Gwen Grayson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a popular senior and head of the senior prom committee, chooses him as her prom date.  A dark villain, however, lurks somewhere in the shadows, seeking revenge against The Commander and Sky High, and Will just may be the key to the villain’s success or the savior of Sky High.

Sky High is in the tradition of the Walt Disney family films situated in fantastic settings or featuring characters that unwittingly encounter magic or the fantastic – films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Shaggy Dog, or even Disney’s My Favorite Martian, their mid-90’s film version of the fondly remembered TV show.  In fact, Sky High’s special effects are still on the level of My Favorite Martian.  Both Sky High’s concept and final product are basically the kind of thing we’d get from The Disney Channel, but with a bigger budget and with the cast made of actors best known for their film roles, even if most of them are character actors, cult figures, and B and C-list stars.

That is much of the film’s charm – it’s cast.  Some critics and the Walt Disney Company’s publicity has described this as a cross between the Harry Potter series and the Disney/Pixar animated film, The Incredibles, but Sky High lacks the engaging characters and enthralling storytelling of the former and the spectacularly genuine superhero fantasy of the latter.  Basically, Sky High is a cheapie version of superheroes; it lacks the grandeur of classic superhero comics like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Superman, and Spider-Man (which is something The Incredibles had), all of which have themes similar to Sky High.  The script doesn’t pave any new paths in the sub-genre of high school films, but instead follows the same road as most pedestrian fare set in high schools.  The plot is so predictable that you can see the happy ending and discover who the villains are before the midway point of the film.

However, Sky High (as stated earlier) has a good cast, and it has a good player in its lead character, Will Stronghold, superbly played by Michael Angarano in the teen-angst/awkward teen mode that dominates Disney Channel TV shows and television movies.  Angarano can play it all:  awkward, shy, bold, confident, jerk, hero, loyal son, and friend; he gives Will Stronghold the kind of dimension a lead character needs to sell a film to an audience.  Look for small, but nicely comic roles by “The Kids in the Hall” alums Dave Foley as The Commander’s old sidekick, All American Boy, and Kevin McDonald as Mr. Medulla, the science teacher with the big head that holds a giant and super smart brain.  On the other hand, Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston as Will’s parents are cardboard cutouts with only a few moments where they seem like real parents.

Overall, Sky High is a light, funny fantasy film in the tradition of G and PG-rated family fare that Disney does so well – perfect for the kiddies and grown folks who take this light-hearted fare for what it is.

6 of 10

Updated:  Thursday, September 19, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

First Poster for Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" Released


Director: Alexander Payne

Cast:  Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Stacy Keach, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk

After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune.  Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.

MPAA rated R — Restricted


Official Site:



Winner- Cannes Film Festival 2013- Best Actor Award (Bruce Dern)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: "Phantom Lady" is for Fans of the Genre (Remembering Franchot Tone)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 79 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Phantom Lady (1944) – Black and White
Running time:  87 minutes (1 hour, 27 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Robert Soidmak
WRITER:  Bernard C. Schoenfeld (from a novel by William Irish)
PRODUCER:  Joan Harrison (associate producer)
EDITOR:  Arthur Hilton
COMPOSER:  Hans J. Salter

CRIME/FILM-NOIR/MYSTERY with elements of a drama, romance, and thriller

Starring:  Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Aurora, Thomas Gomez, Fay Helm, and Elisha Cook, Jr.

The subject of this movie review is Phantom Lady, a 1944 film noir and crime and mystery film from director Robert Soidmak.  This film is based on the 1942 crime novel, Phantom Lady, which was written by author Cornell Woolrich and published under his pseudonym, William Irish.  Phantom Lady the film follows a secretary who risks her life trying to find an elusive woman that may be able to prove that her boss did not murder his selfish wife.

Although photographing a film in black and white was not an artistic choice but a matter of being the only choice for many directors during Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930’s and 40’s, some directors took advantage of black and white cinematography to create some of the most compelling and beautiful looking films in movie history.  Case in point:  German-born director Robert Soidmak took a Universal Studios B film, Phantom Lady, and turned it into a work of black and white movie art.

In the film, unhappily married Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) takes a woman wearing a strange hat for a night on the town, but the woman insists that the two remain on a no-name basis for this one-night only date.  However, Scott’s wife is found strangled in their apartment, and Scott takes the rap for it because he has no alibi.  No matter how hard he and the police look, they can’t find the mysterious woman with whom he spent an anonymous date, and everyone whom Scott claims saw him and the woman together only remembers Scott being alone.

When Scott is convicted of the murder and sent to death row, his loyal secretary, Carol Richman (Ella Raines), and Inspector Burgess (Thomas Gomez), the policeman who has a change of heart about Scott, begin another search to find the mystery woman.  Someone, however, doesn’t want them to find the woman and actively interferes in the case with deadly consequences.

Phantom Lady is mostly a curiosity; it has a few good moments, and while it falls far short of being forgettable, it’s not really memorable.  Siodmak and his cinematography Woody Bredell compose countless exquisite black and white shots, staging the first three quarters of the film as if it were a series of artsy photographs.  While the look is classic film noir, the meat of the story is low rent noir.  The story stumbles towards an end, and the hammy killer, replete with pseudo psychological reasons for his killer tendencies, doesn’t help.  The cast is strikingly B movie, being made of character actors – most of them solid, except for Ella Raines’ wildly inconsistent performance.  Look for a nice sequence featuring Elisha Cook, Jr. (the "gunsel" from The Maltese Falcon) and Ms. Raines that is rife with overt and almost raw sexual energy.  Overall, this is mainly for those who love film-noir mysteries and crime dramas, but there’s little else for the average-Joe film fan.

6 of 10

Updated:  Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.