Saturday, May 31, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Washington Post began the walk back on Ann Hornaday's May 25th column/rant that blamed in part the recent Isla Vista massacre on the films like those made by Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow.  Hornaday responded to the controversy of her original column.

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Actor Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) will apparently play Thanos in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (due August 1, 2014).

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Apparently, Quentin Tarantino left enough of Django Unchained on the cutting room floor that he wants to re-edit the film:

“My idea, frankly, is to cut together a four-hour version of 'Django Unchained,'” he said on Friday. “But I wouldn’t show it like a four-hour movie. I would cut it up into hour chapters. Like a four-part miniseries. And show it on cable television. Show it like an hour at a time, each chapter.”

Tarantino won a best original screenplay Oscar for the film.  More at Variety.

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Monsters and Godzilla director Gareth Edwards has apparently signed on to direct one of Walt Disney's Star Wars spinoff films.  Garry Whitta (Book of Eli) is writing the script for the spinoff.  Which spinoff: no one knows.

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Edgar Wright has apparently left Marvel's Ant-Man movie.

The directors interviewing to replace Wright are Rawson Marshall Thurber (We're the Millers), Adam McKay (the Anchorman movies), and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland)

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Bunny Yeager, the pin-up model turned photographer, died Sunday, May 25, 2014.  She was 85.  This New York Times obituary gives an overview of her life and work.  Yeager famously photographed pin-up queen, Bettie Page, in a leopard-print swimsuit.  I recently reviewed the documentary, Bettie Page Reveals All, which has a segment on the Page-Yeager combination.

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Herb Jeffries was a pioneering actor in Westerns that were targeted at African-America.  Best known as the "Bronze Buckaroo," Jeffries died Sunday, May 25, 2014,  He was 100-years-old.


Happy B'day, Clint Eastwood: "Letters from Iwo Jima"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 99 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:  USA; Languages:  Japanese/English
Running time:  140 minutes (2 hours, 20 minutes)
MPAA – R for graphic war violence
DIRECTOR:  Clint Eastwood
WRITERS:  Iris Yamashita; story by Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis (based upon the book Picture Letters from Commander in Chief by Tadamichi Kuribayashi and Tsuyoko Yoshido)
PRODUCERS:  Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Lorenz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Tom Stern
EDITORS:  Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
COMPOSERS: Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens
2007 Academy Award winner

WAR/DRAMA

Starring:  Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase, Shido Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando, Yuki Matsuzaki, and Luke Eberl

The subject of this movie review is Letters from Iwo Jima, a 2006 war film from director Clint Eastwood.  Set during World War II, the film is almost entirely in the Japanese language and tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers.  Eastwood also makes contributions to the film’s score which was created by his son, Kyle Eastwood, and Michael Stevens.

Letters from Iwo Jima is director Clint Eastwood’s companion piece to his film, Flags of our Fathers.  The films form a two-part examination of the ordinary men who fought on both sides of World War II during the crucial battle for a small island.

As tens of thousands of Allied troops storm Iwo Jima, Japanese General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows his men are outnumbered, running low on supplies, and have no hope of troop support or even rescue.  The Japanese troops prepare to meet their fate – to die in battle or to die by their own hands.  Gen. Kuribayashi and a soldier named Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya) often pass the time writing letters to their wives, although they realize that the letters may never reach mainland Japan.

Eastwood directs Letters from Iwo Jima with stark simplicity that makes even its bloodiness seem eloquent and the drama never heavy-handed.  For a war picture, Letters from Iwo Jima is surprisingly both quiet and thoughtful.  Even the battle scenes come across as a time for reflection.  If there are still any doubts about Clint Eastwood as a talented director who has the ability to weave intimate character dramas, then, Letters from Iwo Jima should put that hogwash to rest.

Eastwood is also quite good at directing actors and getting strong dramatic turns from both his leads and his supporting cast.  Letters’ cast is strong, but Kazunari Ninomiya and Ken Watanabe stand out, in particularly the latter.  Watanabe has a regal air about him, but there is substance in all his performances.  He’s old Hollywood – a “face,” but he also has the dramatic chops to bury himself in characters and bring them to life.

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
2007 Academy Awards:  1 win for “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman); 3 nominations for “Best Picture of the Year” (Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Lorenz), “Best Achievement in Directing” (Clint Eastwood), and “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Iris Yamashita-screenplay/story and Paul Haggis-story)

2007 Golden Globes:  1 win for “Best Foreign Language Film” and 1 nomination: “Best Director-Motion Picture” (Clint Eastwood)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Updated: Saturday, May 31, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Angelina Jolie Talks "Maleficent"

This Angelina Jolie Q&A (provided by PRNewswire) features questions and answers about the new Walt Disney Picture's film, Maleficent.

 Q: What attracted you to the role?

 A: I loved Maleficent when I was a little girl; she was my favorite Disney character. I was afraid of her and I loved her. So, when I'd heard rumors that there might be a Maleficent movie, I asked around to find out what was going on. Then I got a call asking if I was interested and I said absolutely. I said I loved the idea of it but I didn't know how one could turn that idea into a film because how could you make a film about somebody who curses a baby and what kind of film is that going to be? I said yes, but I didn't really think they'd be able to figure it out. And then they did.

 Q: When you first read the script, what did you think?

A: I was really moved by the script from first reading. It was like uncovering a great mystery. We all know the story of "Sleeping Beauty" and we all know Maleficent and what happened at the christening because we've all grown up with that. But what we've never known is, what happened before?

Q: What are some of the things that we can expect?

A: People will see that she's the same wicked Maleficent. What I loved about the original Maleficent when I was little was that she had a wicked sense of fun. She enjoyed being evil and she reveled in it. She still gets to do that and she will satisfy, hopefully, the people that, like myself, are fans of the original. But you get to learn more about her and how she became evil.

I think that audiences will approach the christening scene differently. When you know what you know about her, by the time you get to the christening, if we've done it right, you may be on her side, which, if we can pull it off, would be extraordinary. Maleficent has a strong sense of justice; she has a strong heart and a strong sense of what she thinks is right and wrong and then she loses her way.

Q: What were some of the ideas you brought to this character?

A: I wanted to make sure we didn't lose her sense of wicked fun because I think it's a very beautiful story. It's kind of a different but classic fairy tale and it has a lot of heart. We want to revel in that and that was very important for me as well as that she was somebody that was relatable.

When I first read the script, I was very moved by it, so I sat my girls down and told them the real story of Maleficent. Then the next day, my little boy got into a fight with one of my daughters because he was saying, "Maleficent's evil. She's scary and she's evil." And my daughter was saying, "You don't understand. You don't know everything." I thought that was very interesting. Don't we all wish we could say, "But you don't know everything. You don't know me completely; you don't see the full picture." So when I heard my little girls defending her, I thought that this would be a character that I would hope that young girls and boys would see and would relate to. I hope the girls, especially, will see the importance of having a sense of justice and a sense of what's fair and what's worth fighting for. They'll see that they can be warriors and at the same time soft and feminine and deeply feeling, with all the complexities women have.

Q: Has your understanding of the character changed since playing her?

A: It changed all the way through the filming because she's taught me a lot. Maleficent is certainly one of the most difficult characters I've ever played because she represents all sides of what it is to be human, even though she is not. She was a very innocent youth with those kinds of qualities that you see in a lot of young people today where they're very passionate about environmental causes or the world or politics. Then she gets beaten down by betrayal and becomes quite dark and loses her humanity completely and then has to find it again.

For me, the journey of playing her has been much heavier, much more emotional, and much more difficult an experience than I expected. There's a part of me that plays big fun roles, but never this big. She's slightly crazy, extremely vibrant, a little wicked and has a big sense of humor, so she's quite full on. It's one of those characters that, for me, you couldn't do halfway.

 Q: Tell us who Stefan is in the story and how your relationship changes.

A: Stefan is a human boy who Maleficent meets in the moors when she's young. They become best friends but as they grow up, the way they view the world changes and they have very different opinions. They both, at different times in the story, go very dark. They end up becoming enemies. Maleficent ultimately finds her humanity again and Stefan doesn't.

Q: Tell us who Diaval is.

A: Diaval is the most complicated character to explain. Diaval is a bird that Maleficent turns into a man because she needs someone to fly for her at a certain point. She then uses her powers to turn him into many other things, depending on what she needs. So this character, played by Sam Riley, is, on occasion, a bird, a wolf, a horse, or whatever animal she needs.

I think, especially for children, it's amazing to have this character that transforms into all these different personalities and all these different things. But they have a very bizarre relationship. At first Maleficent's quite controlling over him and then he tries to stand up to her and they bicker a lot. They're like a weird married couple that watches Aurora as she grows up. Maleficent has a disdain for Aurora and everything that she represents and Diaval's a little more nurturing.

Q: What do you hope the film will bring audiences?

A: Everybody involved is hoping to bring audiences the feeling that we've respected the classic film and if they loved the classic, we've tried to bring them what they've remembered and loved about this story. But we've tried to enhance it and also make it beautiful and touching. We hope that audiences care about the characters, Aurora and Maleficent and Stefan and everybody involved; whether they love them or hate them at moments, that somehow they deeply know them and they're deep, good characters.

But we also hope to bring a real world that they've never seen before and also action sequences and everything audiences want in a film. You have to have romance and you have to have action and you have to have stunning sets and you have to have a story you care about and a great script and you have to have surprises and you have to have all of it for it to work.

Q: Tell me about your daughter in the film and how she got the role.

A: There are a lot of different Auroras in the movie. There's a baby Aurora, whom I've shot scenes with. I tried to be as nice as I possibly could, but the way I look as Maleficent just scares babies, so this little, teeny, sweet baby is traumatized by me every time she sees me. She gives this very furrowed brow and then within a matter of minutes she's crying. When crewmembers brought their young kids almost always they would cry and run away from me, so we realized that the only four year old that would probably not run away from me was my own daughter. We had to put Vivienne in the movie because no other little kid would allow me to pick them up because I look so scary.

Q: Has it been fun working with her?

A: It has been fun but it's hard work. Kids want to do a scene once and they want to be done with it. They don't want to wear something that they don't want to wear and they don't want to smile when they don't feel like it. But Vivienne did, in the end, have a good time because we made it fun.

Q: Who are the pixies in the movie?

A: The pixies are three wonderful actresses, extraordinary actresses, who are playing the already famous pixies. You know them by color: the green, pink, and blue. Maleficent has a funny relationship with them because she hates them. I get to banter with them and especially Imelda Staunton, who is Knotgrass. So to actually be dressed in the horns and having my own crazy character moment and having her as a little fairy yelling at me in her crazy moment is one of the best crazy moments I've ever had on film. The three pixies are so funny together and certainly the comedic relief and the joy of the film.

Q: Who is Aurora in this film and what has it been like working with Elle Fanning?

A: Elle is Aurora. From the moment I met her, she is just sunshine. She's a wonderful, sweet, intelligent young woman. Elle's such a capable actress and a very strong person, which is nice because this Aurora is not just in love with the flowers; she is elegant and beautiful and delicate and loving, but she's centered and she's quite an impressive young woman. Elle is bringing all of that and a great deal of emotional depth and her talent, as an actress, has really surprised me. She's great.

ABOUT THE MOVIE:
"Maleficent" explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic "Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds herlegacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and isforced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

"Maleficent" is produced by Joe Roth and directed by Robert Stromberg, with Angelina Jolie, Michael Vieira, Don Hahn, Palak Patel, Matt Smith and Sarah Bradshaw serving as executive producers. Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay. "Maleficent" opens in U.S. theaters on May 30, 2014.

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"Maleficent" with Angelina Jolie Now in Theatres

Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Cinemas May 29th in 3D

DUBAI, UAE, May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --When Academy Award(R)-winning actress Angelina Jolie got wind that a movie about Maleficent, her favorite Disney character, was going to be made, her interest was piqued.

"I loved Maleficent when I was a little girl," says Jolie. "I was afraid of her and I loved her. So, when I'd heard rumors that there might be a Maleficent movie, I asked around to find out what was going on. Then I got a call asking if I was interested and I said absolutely."

When Jolie read the script, she was moved by it and felt it was like uncovering a great mystery. "We all know the story of 'Sleeping Beauty' and we all know Maleficent and what happened at the christening because we've all grown up with that," comments Jolie. "But what we've never known is, what happened before?"

As to what audiences can expect from Disney's most iconic villain this time around, Jolie says, "People will see that she's the same wicked Maleficent. What I loved about the original Maleficent when I was little was that she had a wicked sense of fun. She enjoyed being evil and she reveled in it. She still gets to do that and she will satisfy, hopefully, the people that, like myself, are fans of the original. But you get to learn more about her and how she became evil."

Explaining how she approached playing Maleficent, Jolie relates, "I wanted to make sure we didn't lose her sense of wicked fun because I think it's a very beautiful story. It's kind of a different but classic fairy tale and it has a lot of heart. We want to revel in that and that was very important for me as well as that she was somebody that was relatable."

Jolie admits that Maleficent is one of the most difficult characters that she has ever played because "she represents all sides of what it is to be human, even though she is not." "For me, the journey of playing her has been much heavier, much more emotional, and much more difficult an experience than I expected," informs Jolie. "There's a part of me that plays big fun roles, but never this big. She's slightly crazy, extremely vibrant, a little wicked and has a big sense of humor, so she's quite full on. It's one of those characters that, for me, you couldn't do halfway."

Describing Maleficent's relationship with Stefan, played by Sharlto Copley, and how that relationship pushes the story forward, Jolie says, "Stefan is a human boy who Maleficent meets in the moors when she's young. They become best friends but as they grow up, the way they view the world changes and they have very different opinions. They both, at different times in the story, go very dark. They end up becoming enemies."

Maleficent can turn her raven Diaval, played by Sam Riley, into a man or any animal that suits her particular purpose. When Diaval is a man, he is Maleficent's confidant and conscience. Explaining their relationship, Jolie says, "They have a very bizarre relationship. At first Maleficent's quite controlling over him and then he tries to stand up to her and they bicker a lot. They're like a weird married couple that watches Aurora as she grows up. Maleficent has a disdain for Aurora and everything that she represents and Diaval's a little more nurturing."

Jolie was quite impressed by her young co-star Elle Fanning, who plays Aurora. "Elle is Aurora. From the moment I met her, she is just sunshine," says Jolie. "She's a wonderful, sweet, intelligent young woman. Elle's such a capable actress and a very strong person, which is nice because this Aurora is not just in love with the flowers; she is elegant and beautiful and delicate and loving, but she's centered and she's quite an impressive young woman. Elle is bringing all of that and a great deal of emotional depth and her talent, as an actress, has really surprised me."

Maleficent has a fun relationship with the pixies, played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple, who are afraid of her and for good reason. "Maleficent hates them," sates Jolie. "I get to banter with them and especially Imelda Staunton, who is Knotgrass. So to actually be dressed in the horns and having my own crazy character moment and having her as a little fairy yelling at me in her crazy moment is one of the best crazy moments I've ever had on film." She adds, "The three pixies are so funny together and certainly the comedic relief and the joy of the film."

When moviegoers sit in their seats to watch "Maleficent," Jolie expects that they will have a great experience. "Everybody involved is hoping to bring audiences the feeling that we've respected the classic film and if they loved the classic, we've tried to bring them what they've remembered and loved about this story," says Jolie. "But we've tried to enhance it and also make it beautiful and touching. We hope that audiences care about the characters, Aurora and Maleficent and Stefan and everybody involved; whether they love them or hate them at moments, that somehow they deeply know them and they're deep, good characters. But we also hope to bring a real world that they've never seen before and also action sequences and everything audiences want in a film."

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Academy Celebrates 25th Anniversary of "Do The Right Thing"


The Academy to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of "Do The Right Thing" with Spike Lee

Screenings and Live Discussion in Los Angeles and New York

LOS ANGELES, CA –The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the seminal film “Do the Right Thing” with writer-director Spike Lee and members of the film’s cast and crew at two special screening events: on June 27 in Los Angeles at the Bing Theater, and on June 29 in Brooklyn at the BAM Harvey Theater.

Lee’s groundbreaking third feature, set on a single block in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on summer’s hottest day, features a large ensemble cast including Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and then-newcomers John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson and Rosie Perez.  It earned Oscar® nominations for Original Screenplay (Lee) and Best Supporting Actor (Aiello).

Los Angeles (Friday, June 27) 
“Do the Right Thing” 25th Anniversary Screening and Conversation 
8:30 p.m. at the Bing Theater on LACMA campus

Moderated by John Singleton

Panel discussion includes Spike Lee, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, casting director Robi Reed, production supervisor Preston Holmes and former Universal executive Tom Pollock.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

New York (Sunday, June 29)
“Do the Right Thing” 25th Anniversary Screening and Conversation for Closing Night of BAMcinemaFest
Co-presentation with BAMcinématek
5 p.m. on the Steinberg Screen at the BAM Harvey Theater

Moderated by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Panel discussion includes Spike Lee; actors Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn and Rick Aiello; film editor Barry Brown; and production designer Wynn Thomas.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Academy will also host the screening series “By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective,” beginning with a screening of “25th Hour” (2002) on Thursday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.  The evening also marks the opening of the photography exhibit “WAKE UP! David C. Lee Photographs the Films of Spike Lee,” in the theater foyer through September. 

“By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective” continues July 11–27 at the Linwood Dunn Theater and the Bing Theater in Los Angeles, and June 29–July 10 at BAMcinématek in New York.  Please visit oscars.org and BAM.org for more information.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou Has Died at 86

Maya Angelou, the American author and poet, has died today (Wednesday, May 28, 2014).  She was 86-years-old.  The African-American author was also a civil rights activist.  A witness to the Jim Crow South, her most famous work may be I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Angelou was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for her first book of poetry (Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie).  She won three Grammy Awards for her spoken word performances.

This New York Times obituary has details of her life, photographs, and video.  Negromancer sends condolences to her family and friends.  Rest in Peace, Ms. Angelou.

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Review: "Justice League: War"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Justice League: War (2014) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 79 minutes (1 hour, 29 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some language
DIRECTOR:  Jay Oliva
WRITER:  Heath Corson (based on the graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee)
PRODUCER:  James Tucker
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinski
COMPOSER:  Kevin Kliesch
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Moi Animation Studios

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/ACTION

Starring:  (voices) Sean Astin, Alan Tudyk, Michelle Monaghan, Shemar Moore, Jason O’Mara, Ioan Gruffudd, Justin Kirk, Christopher Gorham, Zach Callison, Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker, Melique Berger, Kimberly Brooks, Rocky Carroll, Georgie Kidder, Richard McGonagle, Bruce Thomas, and Andrea Romano

Justice League: War is a 2014 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation.  Starring DC Comics’ ultimate superhero team, the Justice League, this is also the 18th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.  This animated film is based on the 2011 comic book story arc and graphic novel, Justice League: Origins, by Geoff John and Jim Lee.

Justice League: War takes place on an Earth where superheroes are new and largely unknown to people.  In fact, one of these new superheroes, Batman (Jason O’Mara), is believed to be behind a series of strange abductions of people occurring in Gotham City.  The superhero, Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), arrives to investigate the case, but discovers that the abductor is really a monstrous alien, known as a Parademon.

With the help of another new superhero, Superman (Alan Tudyk), Batman discovers that this Parademon is part of a vanguard of an alien invasion of Earth.  Soon, the trio is joined by more new powerful heroes:  Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Flash (Christopher Gorham), and Shazam (Sean Astin).  Meanwhile, high school football star, Victor Stone (Shemar Moore), is about to have his life changed forever because of the Parademon invasion.  Darkseid (Steve Blum) is coming, and maybe, only a new hero called Cyborg knows why.

Back in August 2011, DC Comics essentially rebooted its line of superhero comic books, known as the DC Universe.  Familiar characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were basically the same, but their origin stories and the events of their (fictional) lives were altered.  Some characters, like Cyborg and Shazam, underwent big changes.  DC Comics called this re-launch, “The New 52.”

Now, “The New 52” comes to Warner Bros. Animations’ line of original movies based on DC Comics’ characters and universe.  2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox initiated the change and this year’s Justice League: War is the first movie since the change and the first in a new series of shared DC Universe animated movies.

The New 52 was highly controversial among many serious (or hardcore) DC Comics fan.  I liked it; the freshness made me feel like I was a kid again, discovering comic books for the first time.  But I must also admit that I no longer take comic book continuities and mythologies as seriously as I once did.

Honestly, Justice League: War did not feel new so much as it simply felt like something different, maybe a little strange and unfamiliar.  It’s entertaining, but nothing special.  Writer Heath Corson makes the character conflicts, interactions, and relationships interesting.  Director Jay Oliva delivers some slam-bang sci-fi violence and battle action.  This movie certainly looks like a comic book, especially the kind with big fight between superheroes and super-villains.

Beyond that, I think Justice League: War is for fans of the comics and other DC Universe animated movies.  There isn’t much here to attract anyone who is not already enamored with these comic book animated movies.

6 of 10
B

Monday, May 26, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Review: "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 81 minutes (1 hour, 21 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout
DIRECTOR:  Jay Oliva with Yoshiharu Ashino (animation director)
WRITER:  James Krieg (from a comic book by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert)
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinski
COMPOSER:  Frederik Wiedmann
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Studio 4ºC

ANIMATION/SUPERHERO/ACTION/SCI-FI

Starring:  (voices) Justin Chambers, C. Thomas Howell, Michael B. Jordan, Kevin McKidd, Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Cary Elwes, Vanessa Marshall, Dee Bradley Baker, Grey DeLisle, Danny Huston, Danny Jacobs, Ron Perlman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Andrea Romano, and Nathan Fillion

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is a 2013 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation.  Starring DC Comics’ ultimate superhero team, the Justice League, this is also the 17th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.  The Flashpoint Paradox is based on the 2011 DC Comics’ crossover publishing event, “Flashpoint.”

Barry Allen (Justin Chambers), who is also known as the superhero the Flash, visits the grave of his mother, Nora Allen (Grey DeLisle).  A day after an adventure with his Justice League teammates, Barry awakens to discover that his mother is alive, but that is not the only thing that has changed.  The entire world is different.  Some superheroes no longer exist.  Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and the military forces of Atlantis are engaged in a terrible war against Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall) and the Amazons.

Flash believes that his archenemy, Eobard Thawne a/k/a Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell), has done something to change time.  Now, he finds himself teaming up with an even darker version of Batman (Kevin McKidd) and a young superhero named Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan) to stop a war that will destroy the world.

In 2011, DC Comics used their Flashpoint publishing event to relaunch practically its entire line of superhero comic books.  As an adaptation of that event, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is going to be a fresh start for the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.  I imagine, however, that might not mean much to many viewers of these animated superhero movies.  Is Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox any good?

Well, the first 20 minutes or so are a disaster.  At 81 minutes, it’s one of the longer DC Comics animated films, and I initially thought that there was no way I could make it through the entire thing.  Once I settled into the concept and understood the players, central plot, and various conflicts and rivalries, I started to enjoy The Flashpoint Paradox.

After all, it is pure superhero fun, and the filmmakers really play up the idea of what it means to be a superhero.  Themes of sacrifice and redemption run throughout the movie.  The belief that selflessness and togetherness can get mankind through the worst of the worst situations proudly permeates this film.  At a time when so many politicians and public figures smugly and shamelessly preach nihilistic individualism and naked self-interest, it is good to see classic superheroes giving life and limb to right wrongs and even to correct themselves.

I don’t like this film’s character design, because much of it is unimaginative.  The Flashpoint Paradox also offers some of the stiffest character animation I’ve seen in some time.  But watching these superheroes being genuinely heroic makes me like Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox in spite of many reservations.

7 of 10
B+

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Ninjago" Announced as Next LEGO Movie

“Ninjago” Coming to Theatres on September 23, 2016

The Ninja-inspired LEGO® minifigures will be featured in an all-new adventure

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Expanding the LEGO® brand’s cinema universe, Warner Bros. Pictures has slated the animated 3D action adventure “Ninjago” for release on September 23, 2016, it was announced today by Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President, International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

    “As proven by the worldwide popularity of ‘The LEGO Movie,’ we know that the LEGO characters have a global fan base. ‘Ninjago’ is sure to delight international audiences of all ages with its own blend of action, adventure and humor.”

“Ninjago” is The LEGO Group’s hugely popular ninja-inspired line of building sets and minifigures that have gained their own legion of fans.

The film will be directed by Charlie Bean (TV’s “Tron: Uprising”), marking his feature directorial debut. It is being produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Lord and Miller wrote and directed the smash hit “The LEGO Movie,” which was produced by Lin and Lee. Jill Wilfert, Seth Grahame-Smith, John Powers Middleton, James Packer and Steve Mnuchin are serving as executive producers. The screenplay is written by Bryan Shukoff and Kevin Chesley.

In making the announcement, Fellman stated, “Following the huge success of ‘The LEGO Movie,’ we are very excited to build on the LEGO franchise. We know there are already ‘Ninjago’ collectors who can’t wait to see their favorite characters on the big screen. This promises to be a terrifically fun and thrilling entry into our Fall 2016 slate, with broad audience appeal.”

Kwan Vandenberg said, “As proven by the worldwide popularity of ‘The LEGO Movie,’ we know that the LEGO characters have a global fan base. ‘Ninjago’ is sure to delight international audiences of all ages with its own blend of action, adventure and humor.”

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the minifigure and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2014 The LEGO Group. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

-------------

Congratulations, Tevin!


My cousin Tevin recently graduated from high school and was blessed with scholarship offers from multiple universities.  Congratulations, cuz.


Monday, May 26, 2014

"Godzilla" Surpasses $300 Million in Worldwide Box Office

“Godzilla” is Still Roaring at the Box Office, Surpassing $300 Million Worldwide in Only 10 Days

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Riding on the tail of its enormous opening weekend, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla” will stomp across the $300 million mark at the worldwide box office today, Sunday, May 25th, only its tenth day in release. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, Dan Fellman, and President of International Distribution, Veronika Kwan Vandenberg.

    “There was tremendous anticipation for ‘Godzilla,’ and the film delivered in a huge way. We congratulate the cast, filmmakers and our partners at Legendary on reaching this benchmark, and, as word of mouth continues to build, we anticipate big returns to continue well into the summer.”

Internationally, the film opened at number one in every major market in which it has been released, including the UK, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Germany, France and Italy, to name only a few. It also has much-anticipated openings in key markets, including China on June 13th.

“Legendary Pictures wishes to thank our filmmaking partners, our strategic partners worldwide and Warner Bros. for helping to bring this film to theaters around the globe,” said Jon Jashni, Legendary’s President and Chief Creative Officer. “It is very validating for Gareth, for us and for Toho to have been able to reach this early milestone in only a matter of days.”

Fellman stated, “There was tremendous anticipation for ‘Godzilla,’ and the film delivered in a huge way. We congratulate the cast, filmmakers and our partners at Legendary on reaching this benchmark, and, as word of mouth continues to build, we anticipate big returns to continue well into the summer.”

Kwan Vandenberg added, “Godzilla is a global icon and we couldn’t be more excited to work with Legendary, Gareth Edwards and his remarkable cast and crew in bringing a film worthy of that legacy to moviegoers the world over. With outstanding buzz, ‘Godzilla’ rose to the top of even the most crowded international markets, with numbers that have now pushed Warner Bros.’ international grosses past the $1 billion mark for the 14th year in a row.”

The film attracted a huge 3D viewership globally, accounting for more than half of 3D sales in both the U.S. and abroad.

Many moviegoers have opted to see the massive creature on the biggest screen possible, generating record numbers for IMAX®, which saw the highest-grossing opening weekend of the year, for “Godzilla.”

The world’s most revered creature is reborn as Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures unleash the epic action adventure “Godzilla,” from visionary director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”).

The film stars an international ensemble cast led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”), Oscar® nominee Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai,” “Inception”), Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), Oscar® winner Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient,” “Cosmopolis”), and Oscar® nominee Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”), with Oscar® nominee David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Bourne Legacy”) and Emmy® and Golden Globe Award winner Bryan Cranston (“Argo,” TV’s “Breaking Bad”).

Edwards directed “Godzilla” from a screenplay by Max Borenstein, story by David Callaham, based on the character “Godzilla” owned and created by TOHO CO., LTD. Thomas Tull produced the film, along with Jon Jashni, Mary Parent and Brian Rogers. Patricia Whitcher and Alex Garcia served as executive producers, alongside Yoshimitsu Banno and Kenji Okuhira.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures present a Legendary Pictures production, a Gareth Edwards film, “Godzilla.” The film is presented in 3D, 2D and IMAX® in select theatres and is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, except in Japan, where it is distributed by Toho Co., Ltd. Legendary Pictures is a division of Legendary Entertainment. “Godzilla” has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

www.godzillamovie.com

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cannes 2014 Winners - Complete List; Palme d'Or Goes to "Winter Sleep"

The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival was held in Cannes, France from May 14 to May 25, 2014.  The closing ceremony and the 2014 awards ceremony were held on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

I’ve included a list of winners from the “In Competition” categories; this is the main competition in which films compete for the festival’s top prize, the “Palme d’Or” (Golden Palm).  I’ve included the winners from other Cannes award competitions, including “Un Certain Regard” and the “Golden Camera.”

The “Grand Prix” is the second most prestigious prize given at Cannes, after the Palme d’Or.  The competition known as “Un Certain Regard” is a part of Cannes that runs parallel to the competition for the Palme d’Or.

The winner of the Palme d’Or at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival is Winter Sleep.  This is a film from Turkisk director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  Winter Sleep focuses on a self-absorbed Anatolian hotelier and his uneasy relationships with those around him.  Ceylan is a previous Cannes winner.  He received the Grand Prix in 2002 (Distant) and 2011 (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) and best director in 2008 (Three Monkeys).  Winter Sleep is only the second film by a Turkish director to win the Palme d’Or, after Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren’s The Way won in 1982.

American Bennett Miller won the best director award for his film, Foxcatcher, which is based on a true story.

2014/67th Cannes Film Festival winners:

IN COMPETITION

FEATURE FILMS:

Palme d’Or: “Winter Sleep” (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey-Germany-France)

Grand Prix: “The Wonders” (Alice Rohrwacher, Italy-Switzerland-Germany)

Director: Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher” (U.S.)

Actor: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner” (Mike Leigh, U.K.-France-Germany)

Actress: Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars” (David Cronenberg, Canada-Germany)

Jury Prize (tie): “Mommy” (Xavier Dolan, Canada) and “Goodbye to Language” (Jean-Luc Godard, France)

Screenplay: Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, “Leviathan” (Russia)

OTHER PRIZES

Camera d’Or: “Party Girl” (Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis)

SHORT FILMS:

Short Films Palme d’Or: “Leidi” (Simon Mesa Soto)

Short Films Special Mention: “Aissa” (Clement Trehin-Lalanne)

Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Timbuktu” (Abderrahmane Sissako, Mauritania-France)

UN CERTAIN REGARD

Un Certain Regard Prize: “White God” (Kornel Mundruczo, Hungary-Germany-Sweden)

Jury prize: “Force Majeure” (Ruben Ostlund, Sweden-France-Denmark-Norway)

Special Prize: “The Salt of the Earth” (Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, France-Italy)

Ensemble: “Party Girl” (Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis, France)

Actor: David Gulpilil, “Charlie’s Country” (Rolf de Heer, Australia)

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT

Art Cinema Award: “Les Combattants” (Thomas Cailley, France)

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “Les Combattants”

Europa Cinemas Label: “Les Combattants”

CRITICS’ WEEK

Grand Prize: “The Tribe” (Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine)

Visionary Prize: “The Tribe”

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “Hope” (Boris Lojkine, France)

FIPRESCI

Competition: “Winter Sleep”

Un Certain Regard: “Jauja” (Lisandro Alonso, Denmark-U.S.-Argentina)

Directors’ Fortnight: “Les Combattants”


Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Godzilla" Director Signs to Direct December 2016 Star Wars Spinoff Film


Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta Onboard for Star Wars Stand-Alone Film

May 22, 2014--In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016.

Gareth Edwards blazed into the filmmaking forefront with his acclaimed work on Monsters, a film he wrote, directed and served on as cinematographer and visual effects artist. The skill and vision readily apparent in Monsters earned him the high-profile spot directing this year's smash hit Godzilla.

"Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life -- join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm," said Edwards.

Gary Whitta's screenwriting credits include 2010's The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He is also well known as a journalist and editor in the video game industry, as well as part of the BAFTA award-winning team on Telltale Games adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Whitta states, "From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I'm still pinching myself."

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.


Johnny Depp is Whitey Bulger in Upcoming Warner Bros. Movie


(L-r) JOHNNY DEPP as Whitey Bulger and director SCOTT COOPER on the set of the as-yet-untitled Whitey Bulger film, which has begun filming on location in Boston. Photo credit: Claire Folger

Shooting Starts on Untitled Whitey Bulger Film, Starring Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton

Scott Cooper is directing the film on location in Boston

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Principal photography is underway on the as-yet-untitled drama based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, about the infamous gangster Whitey Bulger. The film stars Oscar® nominee Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Finding Neverland,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) as Whitey Bulger and Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) as FBI Agent John Connolly. Filming began in Boston under the direction of Scott Cooper (“Out of the Furnace,” “Crazy Heart”).

The film also stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“Twelve Years a Slave”) as Whitey’s brother, Billy Bulger, who is a Massachusetts State Senator; Jesse Plemons (AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) as Whitey’s longtime partner in crime, Kevin Weeks; Sienna Miller (HBO’s “The Girl”) as Whitey’s lover, Catherine Greig; Dakota Johnson (upcoming “Fifty Shades of Grey”) as Lindsey Cyr, Whitey’s former girlfriend and mother of his only child; Rory Cochrane (“Argo”) as Steve Flemmi, another member of the Irish mob; Julianne Nicholson (“August: Osage County”) as John Connolly’s wife, Marianne; and Adam Scott (ABC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick. Rounding out the main cast are David Harbour (“End of Watch”), Jeremy Strong (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Brad Carter (HBO’s “True Detective”), W. Earl Brown (“Draft Day”) and Corey Stoll (“The Bourne Legacy”).

Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, John Lesher, Patrick McCormick and Scott Cooper are producing the film, with Peter Mallouk, Lauren Selig, Brett Granstaff and Gary Granstaff serving as executive producers. The screenplay is adapted from the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.

The creative team collaborating with Cooper behind the scenes includes director of photography Masanobu Takayanagi (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “Out of the Furnace”), production designer Stefania Cella (“The Great Beauty”) and Oscar®-nominated editor David Rosenbloom (“The Insider,” “Out of the Furnace”).

The film is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation in association with Cross Creek Pictures and RatPac Entertainment, a Cross Creek Production in association with Le Grisbi Productions, and Freestate Pictures*. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


Happy B'day, Jim Broadbent: "Topsy-Turvy"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 224 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Topsy-Turvy (1999)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:  UK
Running time:  160 minutes (2 hours, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for a scene of risqué nudity
WRITER/DIRECTOR:  Mike Leigh
PRODUCER:  Simon Channing-Williams
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Dick Pope
EDITOR:  Robin Sales
Academy Award winner

COMEDY/DRAMA/MUSIC

Starring:  Allan Corduner, Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Wendy Nottingham, Dexter Fletcher, Sukie Smith, Roger Heathcott, Timothy Spall, Adam Searle, Martin Savage, Kate Doherty, Kenneth Hadley, Ron Cook, Eleanor David, Sam Kelly, and Andy Serkis

The subject of this movie review is Topsy-Turvy, a 1999 musical drama and comedy film from writer-director, Mike Leigh.  The film is a fictional account of the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan, following a failed opera and leading to the creation of the duo’s masterpiece, The Mikado.

Topsy-Turvy is writer/director Mike Leigh’s fictional account of the comic opera team of Gilbert & Sullivan during a particular period in their partnership.  After the lukewarm critical reception of the comic opera, Princess Ida, in 1884, English composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (Allan Corduner) has grown weary of his 13-year partnership with playwright and comic librettist William Schwenck “Willie” Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) and of Gilbert’s topsy-turvy scenarios.

Sullivan embarks on a tour of Europe and when he returns he begins to work on what he calls serious musical compositions.  However, the musical partners have a contract to fulfill with their producer Richard D’Oyly Carte (Ron Cook) for the Savoy Theatre (which had been built to house Gilbert & Sullivan’s operas).

After much disagreement among Sullivan, Gilbert, and Carte, Gilbert writes the scenario for The Mikado, a story inspired by Gilbert’s experiences from his visits to an exposition of Japanese culture, history, and art held in London in 1885.  Topsy-Turvy (a term used to describe the kind of fictional scenarios that involved ordinary humans encountered magic and sorcery) follows the creation, development, and staging of The Mikado.  Leigh’s fictional account shows Sir Arthur Sullivan working on the music and Willie Gilbert struggling with the actors to get the staging, acting, and singing just right.  His attention to detail also brings him into conflict with actors over costumes and the assignment of roles.

The film should be a treat to fans of Gilbert & Sullivan, and Topsy-Turvy is an excellent look at both the creative process and all the work that goes into staging an opera, everything from conducting the music and designing the sets to staging the cast and preparing for opening night.  There are a lot of very good performances in this film, but nothing from the leads (Broadbent and Corduner) stand out other than from the fact that they are the leads.  Andy Serkis (Gollum and Smeagol of The Lord of the Rings trilogy) makes a nice turn as the opera’s choreographer.

Leigh gives a look at the behind-the-scenes struggles and politics of raising a staged work that is quite interesting and almost academic in its details.  The film, however, does come off as a bit cool, and Leigh does too much teasing about the private lives of Gilbert & Sullivan, without revealing anything but tidbits.  Still, Leigh manages to make a unique and exceptional film that shines in spite of a few flaws.

7 of 10
A-

NOTES:
2000 Academy Awards, USA:  2 wins: “Best Costume Design” (Lindy Hemming) and “Best Makeup” (Christine Blundell and Trefor Proud); 2 nominees:  “Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen” (Mike Leigh) and “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Eve Stewart-art director and John Bush-set decorator)

2000 BAFTA Awards:  1 win: “Best Make Up/Hair” (Christine Blundell); 4 nominations: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Simon Channing Williams and Mike Leigh), “Best Screenplay – Original” (Mike Leigh), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Jim Broadbent), and “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Timothy Spall)

Updated:  Saturday, May 24, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Friday, May 23, 2014

WWE Studios and Lionsgate Extend Partnership for New WWE Superstar Movies

WWE® Studios and Lionsgate to Repartner on "Action Six-Pack"

SANTA MONICA, Calif. & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the premier next generation global content leader, and WWE Studios (NYSE: WWE) are extending their longstanding partnership to encompass six new action films which will serve as starring vehicles for WWE Superstars as well as incubators for new and emerging talent, the two companies announced today.

    “We’re thrilled to join forces with Michael and his WWE team on a series of modestly-budgeted action films that extend our longstanding and successful partnership”

The popular directing team of Jen and Sylvia Soska (SEE NO EVIL 2, AMERICAN MARY) will return to the WWE Studios and Lionsgate fold to direct VENDETTA, the first installment of the “Action Six-Pack” series, which will commence photography this summer and feature WWE Superstar Big Show®. The second installment of the "Six-Pack" series, which is currently in development, will commence photography this fall. WWE Studios will leverage its extensive multi-platform reach to promote each film.

Written by Justin Shady, VENDETTA centers on a hard-nosed detective who deliberately commits a crime to get thrown in prison, allowing him the chance to seek vengeance upon the criminal serving a life sentence for having brutally murdered the detective's wife.

“This collection of six high octane films will not only excite our fans, but provide a stage for emerging and talented filmmakers like the Soska Sisters,” said Michael Luisi, WWE Studios President. He added, “We couldn’t have a better partner in this enterprise than Steve Beeks and the team at Lionsgate, who have been great teammates and are proven distributors of this genre.”

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Michael and his WWE team on a series of modestly-budgeted action films that extend our longstanding and successful partnership,” said Lionsgate Co-Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks. “We have a strong track record in this genre, and we’re delighted to team with the WWE juggernaut to deliver action-packed event films that will resonate with their global fan base and beyond.”

WWE Studios and Lionsgate previously collaborated on THE CONDEMNED and SEE NO EVIL, as well as the upcoming 2014 releases LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS and SEE NO EVIL 2. Bradley Buchanan, SVP of Business Affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of WWE Studios and Wendy Jaffe negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate.

About WWE Studios
WWE Studios develops and produces feature films, as well as television and digital content. Its diverse slate is released theatrically, direct to home, and/or across digital platforms, and is co-produced & distributed through partnerships with premiere global entertainment companies including Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate. WWE’s film division, led by President Michael Luisi, is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.

Recent films from WWE Studios include The Call with Halle Berry and WWE Superstar David Otunga®, Oculus directed by Mike Flanagan starring Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett®, No One Lives starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay™, and Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, which paired WWE Superstars with Scooby and the gang.

Upcoming films from WWE Studios include Term Life starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Hailee Steinfeld in a Universal Pictures release, Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and featuring WWE Superstar Mark Henry® in a Universal Pictures release of a Blumhouse production, The Flintstones which joins Fred, Barney and the whole Bedrock gang with stone age versions of WWE Superstars and Divas in a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release, Jingle All the Way 2 starring Larry The Cable Guy and WWE Superstar Santino Marella® in a Fox Home Entertainment release, and Leprechaun: Origins directed by Zach Lipovsky and starring WWE Superstar Hornswoggle® in a Lionsgate release.

About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 150 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to entering into, maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television and pay-per-view programming and our new network distribution agreements; risks relating to the launch and maintenance of our new network; the need for continually developing creative and entertaining programming; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent McMahon; the conditions of the markets in which we compete and acceptance of the Company's brands, media and merchandise within those markets; uncertainties relating to regulatory matters; risks resulting from the highly competitive and fragmented nature of our markets; uncertainties associated with international markets; the importance of protecting our intellectual property and complying with the intellectual property rights of others; the risk of accidents or injuries during our physically demanding events; risks associated with producing and travelling to and from our large live events, both domestically and internationally; risks relating to our film business; risks relating to new businesses and strategic investments; risks relating to our computer systems and online operations; risks relating to general economic conditions and our exposure to bad debt risk; risks relating to litigation; risks relating to market expectations for our financial performance; risks relating to our revolving credit facility; risks relating to the large number of shares of common stock controlled by members of the McMahon family and the possibility of the sale of their stock by the McMahons or the perception of the possibility of such sales; the relatively small public float of our stock; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends, general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.

ABOUT LIONSGATE
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has 34 television shows on 22 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed series Orange is the New Black.

Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first two installments of The Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the first installment of the Divergent franchise, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Warm Bodies, The Expendables 2, The Possession, Sinister, Roadside Attractions' Mud and Pantelion Films' breakout hit Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 15,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

www.lionsgate.com

Remembering Sterling Hayden: "The Asphalt Jungle"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 152 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) – B&W
Running time:  112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  John Huston
WRITERS:  Ben Maddow and John Huston (from the novel by W.R. Burnett)
PRODUCER:  Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Harold Rosson (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  George Boemler
COMPOSER:  Mikos Rozsa
Academy Award nominee

FILM-NOIR/CRIME/DRAMA/THRILLER

Starring:  Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Anthony Caruso, Teresa Celli, and Marilyn Monroe

The subject of this movie review is The Asphalt Jungle, a 1950 film noir and crime drama co-written and directed by John Huston.  The film is based on the 1949 novel, The Asphalt Jungle, written by author W.R. Burnett.  The Asphalt Jungle the movie is a caper film that focuses on an initially-successful jewelry heist that turns sour because of bad luck and double-crossing.

There was a time when an urban crime drama didn’t require massively staged shootouts in which by the time the credits rolled literally hundreds of bullet shell casings had hit the ground.  There was indeed a time before painfully loud gunfire and bodies flying backwards from high impact bullet hits.  That was before Hong Kong produced cop dramas and crime thrillers were the gold standard for crime films.  That was a time when all a director needed was a solid script, a large ensemble cast of character actors, and a gritty, urban American setting.

That simple age yielded a film like director John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle.  The actor/writer/director best known for such films as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen could also turn a cool trick with such crime films as the timeless flick, The Maltese Falcon, and the Oscar-nominated Prizzi’s Honor.  Released in 1950, fans of the movie genre, Film-Noir, consider The Asphalt Jungle to be a noir classic.

The film follows a band of thieves who plan and execute a million dollar jewelry store heist.  Fresh out of prison, German-born master thief, Doc Erwin Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance), takes into his confidence a wily hood named “Cobby” Cobb (Marc Lawrence) who runs an illegal betting parlor.  Cobb helps Doc assemble just the kind of team he needs to execute his crime:  Louis Ciavelli (Anthony Caruso), a safe cracker; Gus Minissi (James Whitmore), a driver; and Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden), a hooligan or thug.

However, they run into complications with the man who is supposed to help them fence (sell) the diamonds on the black market, Alonzo D. “Lon” Emmerich (Louis Calhern), a prominent criminal attorney.  Lon is in deep financial straits.  Broke and desperate for cash, he plots with a shady cohort, to double cross Doc and his gang, which, of course, puts the entire plan on the road to ruin.

John Houston and his crew splendidly create the gritty and grimy world in which skilled thieves and hardened criminals exist.  An underworld, it is indeed as the film’s tagline reads, “The City Under the City,” or at least it is the world behind the backdoors, alleyways, and criminal haunts (like Gus’s restaurant).  The actors superbly play to type the kind of ethnic and poor white characters that fill such stories – career criminals whose jobs or addictions (like Dix’s gambling habit) force them to continue working the streets the same way the needs of a family necessitate that an honest man or woman keep working just about everyday.

The Asphalt Jungle isn’t glossy or shiny noir.  Houston’s film is as matter-of-fact and as tough as Hayden’s Dix Handley – mistrustful of those who might befriend him and ready to put a big hurt on anyone in his way.  The Asphalt Jungle seems not to really care if someone likes it, and that makes this coarse little film truly a gem of a crime film and a gritty Film-Noir treat.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
1951 Academy Awards:  4 nominations: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Sam Jaffe), “Best Cinematography, Black-and-White” (Harold Rosson), “Best Director” (John Huston), and “Best Writing, Screenplay” (Ben Maddow and John Huston)

1951 BAFTA Awards:  1 nomination:  “Best Film from any Source” (USA)

1951 Golden Globes:  3 nominations: “Best Cinematography - Black and White” (Harold Rosson), “Best Motion Picture Director” (John Huston), and “Best Screenplay” (John Huston and Ben Maddow)

2008 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  National Film Registry

Monday, July 17, 2006

Updated:  Friday, May 23, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

J.J. Abrams Announces "Star Wars: Force of Change"




Fans Have a Chance to Be in Star Wars: Episode VII

J.J. Abrams Announces “Force for Change” Campaign to Benefit UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and Programs

Beginning Today (May 21, 2014), Visit Omaze.com/StarWars to Enter for a Chance to Win


LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today in a special video message from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII, director J.J. Abrams announced the creation of Star Wars: Force for Change, a brand new Star Wars initiative from Disney and Lucasfilm in collaboration with Bad Robot dedicated to finding creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The first Star Wars: Force for Change campaign will raise funds and awareness for the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Innovation Labs and its innovative programs that are benefiting the world’s most vulnerable children.

    “UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to help the world’s most vulnerable children and young people identify solutions and create change”

Disney has committed US $1 million to support the launch of Star Wars: Force for Change. Fans can now contribute directly at Omaze.com/StarWars for a chance to appear in Star Wars: Episode VII. For each $10 contribution made through the Omaze fundraising platform, eligible participants will be automatically entered for a chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The campaign runs from 12:01am PST on May 21stth until 11:59pm PST July 18th.

The Star Wars: Force for Change Grand Prize includes:
  1.  Airfare and accommodations to London for one winner and a guest
  2.   Behind-the-scenes access on the closed set of Star Wars: Episode VII as VIP guests of J.J. Abrams
  3.  Winner will have the opportunity to meet members of the cast
  4.  Winner and their guest will then be transformed by makeup and costume teams into a Star Wars character and filmed for a scene in Star Wars: Episode VII

"The Star Wars fans are some of the most passionate and committed folks around the globe,” says director J.J. Abrams. “We’re thrilled to offer a chance to come behind the scenes as our VIP guests and be in Star Wars: Episode VII. We’re even more excited that by participating in this campaign, Star Wars fans will be helping children around the world through our collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Labs and projects."

Star Wars continues to inspire generations of dreamers and doers to use their creativity to accomplish great things. Star Wars and Lucasfilm were built on the belief that in uniting creativity with innovation, you can make the impossible possible.

“The Star Wars films were made through George Lucas's adventurous combination of technology and creativity,” says Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “We wanted to honor and carry on that positive spirit as we start production on Episode VII and use Star Wars to make a difference in the world. Star Wars: Force for Change will help us do that, letting us give back to the fans who keep Star Wars alive, and raising much-needed funds for programs like UNICEF's Innovation Labs.”

By pledging support for Star Wars: Force for Change, fans are helping UNICEF create a brighter tomorrow for kids and families around the world. Through its global network of Innovation Labs, UNICEF helps create sustainable solutions to major issues facing children in the areas of nutrition, water, health, and education. The Star Wars: Force for Change campaign will help fund innovative, life-changing projects in communities around the globe.

"UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to help the world’s most vulnerable children and young people identify solutions and create change,” says Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Senior Advisor on Innovation and co-Lead of the Innovation Unit. “We work together with the greatest technologists and designers of our time to create open-source solutions that help millions of people. The support from Star Wars: Force for Change will help to bind these innovators together on a mission to solve the world’s most pressing problems, and create a better future.”

Visit StarWars.com/ForceForChange to learn more about this new charitable initiative and the work of UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and programs, and be sure to enter through contribution or free entry for your chance to win at Omaze.com/StarWars.

May the Force be with you!



About UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org. Find us on Twitter: @unicefusa; join us on Facebook: UNICEF-USA.

Star Wars: Force for Change Program: Restrictions and Limitations
No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited. Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or the age of majority in your domicile, to enter and a resident of Argentina, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, USA, or the UK, and not a resident of Belgium, Italy, Malta, Singapore, or Thailand. Residents of Australia, Brazil, China and the Republic of Korea are not prohibited from participating, but local rules and laws may restrict or prohibit the award of certain prizes or impose additional restrictions on participation.

Rewards are separate from sweepstakes prizes. Rewards are limited in quantity. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. For free entry: (i) send post card to Sponsor at PO Box 3190, 1217 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, California 90408 by applicable mail date; or (ii) visit www.Omaze.com/StarWars. Entrants may receive additional entries via Facebook. Maximum number of entries: 10,000 per Entrant. Travel and accommodations are at Sponsor’s discretion and subject to availability and change. Winner and Guest may be required to pass a background screening or security check, to receive the prize and/or reward. Visa conditions may apply. All taxes are Winner’s responsibility. Not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook®. Residents of certain territories may be required to successfully complete a trivia question to qualify. For full entry requirements, details, limitations and restrictions see Official rules at www.Omaze.com/StarWars. Sole Sponsor: Omaze, Inc., PO Box 3190, 1217 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90408.


Happy B'day, Maggie Q: "Balls of Fury"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Balls of Fury (2007)
Running time: 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor, and for language
DIRECTOR:  Robert Ben Garant
WRITERS:  Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant
PRODUCERS:  Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, and Thomas Lennon
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Thomas E. Ackerman (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  John Refoua
COMPOSER:  Randy Edelman

COMEDY/SPORT

Starring:  Dan Folger, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, James Hong, Maggie Q, Thomas Lennon, Aisha Tyler, Jason Scott Lee, Diedrich Bader, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Koechner, and Robert Patrick

The subject of this movie review is Balls of Fury, a 2007 sports comedy film from the team of co-writer/director Robert Ben Garant and co-writer Thomas Lennon.  The film follows a down-and-out former professional ping-pong phenom recruited by an FBI agent for a secret mission that may also lead the former child star to his father’s killer.

Balls of Fury takes place in the unsanctioned, underground, and unhinged world of extreme ping pong where the competition is brutal and the stakes are deadly – sort of like the way Dodgeball portrayed the mean world of professional dodge ball.  But we get the joke!

A ping pong professional as a child, Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler), spiraled downwards after an embarrassing loss at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  Cut to the present.  Randy is down on his luck and on his game, and he’s performing at a nightclub when FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him for a mission to spy on one of the FBI’s most wanted men, the faux-Asian crime lord Feng (Christopher Walken).  Randy has some incentive to do take the assignment because Feng was responsible for the death of Randy’s father.

Operation Ping Pong” requires Randy to get an invite to Feng’s underground ping pong championship tournament.  To do that, Randy will have to get his game back into shape.  With the help of a blind ping pong sage, Master Wong (James Hong), and his niece, Maggie Wong (Maggie Q), an expert ping pong trainer, Randy gets in winning form and gets an invite to Feng’s jungle compound where the tournament is being held.  Now, Randy will have to face a raft of formidable players en route to the prize, including his arch-nemesis, German Olympic ping pong god, Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon), and still take down Feng.

Balls of Fury is a parody/remake of the 1973 Bruce Lee film, Enter the Dragon, by way of Dodgeball and Comedy Central’s television series, “Reno 911.”  In fact, Balls of Fury co-writer/director Robert Ben Garant and co-writer/actor Thomas Lennon are part of the brain trust behind “Reno 911,” and the kind of sheer absurdity that marks that hit comedy series is much in evidence in Balls of Fury.

This film is sometimes shamefully in poor taste, and its lack of political correctness often borders on bad taste.  Still, it’s fun; Balls of Fury takes a look at sports and competition and pokes numerous holes in the gas bags that are elite athletes, secretive trainers, and arcane rules.  Then, the movie skewers so many sports movie stereotypes, from the sage-philosopher mentors to the sad sack underdogs.  Balls of Fury may look like a bad movie (and sometimes it truly is), but it is a comedy that delivers laughter.

5 of 10
B-

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Updated:  Thursday, May 22, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Untitled Superman/Batman Movie is Now Named "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"



Cameras Roll on Director Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” from Warner Bros. Pictures

Principal photography is underway in Metro Detroit, Michigan

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Filming is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the highly anticipated action adventure from director Zack Snyder, starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” also stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, with Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from “Man of Steel,” Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a role newly created for the film.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

Principal photography will take place on location at Michigan Motion Picture Studios and on location in and around Detroit, Michigan; Illinois; Africa; and the South Pacific.

Set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

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