Showing posts with label Shia LaBeouf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shia LaBeouf. Show all posts

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Review: "INDIANA JONES and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is a Nice Coda

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Running time:  126 minutes (2 hours, 6 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for adventure violence and scary images
DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
WRITERS:  David Koepp; from a story by George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson
PRODUCER:  Frank Marshall
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Janusz Kaminski (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Kahn, A.C.E.
COMPOSER:  John Williams


Starring:  Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, and Shia LaBeouf

There is that old saying, “you can’t go home again,” but you can.  It is simply that the present does not have the cherished golden glow of cherished memories of an idealized past.  With that in mind, in 2008, we saw the return of Indiana Jones to the big screen for the first time in 19 years.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an action-adventure film from director Steven Spielberg.  It is the fourth entry in the “Indiana Jones” film franchise that began with the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull finds Indiana Jones fighting a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the “Crystal Skulls.”

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull begins in the desert Southwest in 1957 at the height of the Cold War.  There, Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) and his sidekick, George “Mac” McHale (Ray Winstone), encounter the icy cold Soviet beauty, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), and her elite military unit on a remote airfield.  The Soviets want something from Indy, but in the end, he barely escapes the nefarious Soviets.

Afterwards, Indy returns to Marshall College, where he is known as “Professor Jones,” and finds that things have gone from bad to worse.  The government is suspicious of Indy’s recent activities and forced Jones’ close friend and dean of the college, Dean Charles Stanforth (Jim Broadbent), to fire him.  On his way out of town, Indy meets the rebellious young biker, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), who asks Indy for his help in a deeply personal mission.  If he helps Mutt, Indy could very well make one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in history – the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination and superstition.

As Indy and Mutt comb the most remote corners of Peru, Spalko and the Soviet agents are also hot on the trail of the Crystal Skull, which they believe can help the Soviets dominate the world, if they can unlock its secrets.  Peru, however, is not only the home of the Crystal Skull, it is also the place where Indiana Jones makes a surprise reunion and learns an even more shocking secret, as he and his friends desperately battle to protect the powerful Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull lacks the old school, B-movie serial charm of the original Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It doesn’t have the gleefully and deliberately gruesome spirit of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), nor the comic charm of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

What Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does have is entertainment value by the truckload.  This pleasing popcorn movie has a mix of action, adventure, and nostalgia that turns it into the perfect summer romp for an afternoon at the movie theater.

Why keep pretending!?  Karen Allen, as the original Indiana Jones heroine, Marion Ravenwood, is back, and that makes this somewhat inferior Indiana Jones sequel even more enjoyable.  Throw in another secret, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a must-see for Indy fans.  Obviously many fans had questions and concerns coming into this new film.  Chief among them would be the use of CGI.  Between the time that The Last Crusade appeared and now, CGI has, for the most part, replaced practical and physical special effects in mainstream Hollywood films.

No, the use of CGI (which the filmmakers claimed was only used on 30% of the film) to create lush jungles, impossible fight scenes (like the sword duel between Mutt and Irina, most of it on top of moving vehicles), and exotic locales doesn’t ruin Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, although this flick lacks the grit and tough guy spirit of the other films.  But let’s face it; Harrison Ford is no longer a spring chicken, so this film needs CGI slickness to give the action a manic video game feel to it.  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a modern action movie, and all the quiet, dramatic moments are used to merely prepare us for the next death-defying chase, whereas they existed for themselves in the early films.  Still, the modern touches work.

Set in 1957, the film drops many 1950’s cultural and pop culture tropes: Elvin Presley, B-movie sci-fi, aliens, Communism, bikers, etc.  The fear of being turned into the other or being forced into a like or hive mind is prevalent, as is Steven Spielberg’s familiar motif that knowledge only robs reality of its sense of wonder (OK…).  However, the age of their star Harrison Ford required the driving force behind Indiana Jones, Spielberg and George Lucas, to accept that it’s sometimes okay to grow up.

That’s why Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is ultimately less a sequel than it is a coda or epilogue to Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, which is likely the reason that Karen Allen/Marion Ravenwood, the most beloved woman in Indy’s life, is back.  It’s time to grow up and movie on, and what a silly and fun send off this is.  Flaws and all, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a good old American summer movie blockbuster.  As the credits rolled on the film’s happy finale, I realized that Indy and I were going our separate ways, but with wonderful memories as parting gifts.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

2009 BAFTA Awards:  1 nomination: “Best Special Visual Effects” (Pablo Helman, Marshall Richard Krasserm and Steve Rawlins)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Edited:  Saturday, November 5, 2022

You can purchase the "INDIANA JONES 4-Movie Collection" Blu-ray or DVD here at AMAZON.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site or blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from August 9th to 15th, 2020 - Update #24

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

Support Leroy on Patreon:


ANIMATION - From THR:  The Oregon-based animation studio, Laika, has laid off 56 employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the studio says they will be rehired at a future date.  The studios has produced several Oscar-nominated animated films, including "Coraline," "ParaNorman," and "The Missing Link."

MOVIES - From Variety:  Comedian Tig Notaro will replace actor-comedian Chris D'Elia in Zack Snyder's zombie movie, "Army of the Dead."  D'Elia has been recently accused of sexually harassing underage girls.  "Army of the Dead," which has been called a "spiritual sequel" to Snyder 2004 film, "Dawn of the Dead," will undergo reshoots to add Notaro into the film.

ANIMATION-POLITICS - From Deadline:  "The Simpsons'" Marge Simpson hits back at a White House aide who compared Democratic Vice-Presidential pick, Kamala Harris' voice to hers.

TELEVISION - From TheWrap:  The pop culture network, G4, is apparently making a return, and former G4 host, actress Olivia Munn, is reportedly returning as part of the relaunch deal.

AVATAR - From YahooEntertainment:  "Avatar 2," James Cameron's sequel to his mega-hit, "Avatar," will make use of practical set in addition to a massive use of CGI and motion-capture.

STREAMING - From BleedingCool:  Horror label, Blumhouse Productions, is teaming up with Amazon Original Movies to produce eight thematically connected films.  The first four debut in October 2021, with the remaining four coming in 2021.  There are synopses for the first four films.

TELEVISION - From THR:  Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy" is producing a new TV adaptation of author Herman Wouk's novels "The Winds of War" (1971) and "War and Remembrance" (1978) for Universal Consent Productions.  Both books were previously produced as TV miniseries for ABC.  At the time of its release in 1983, "The Winds of War" was the most watched miniseries of all time.  "War and Remembrance" the miniseries ran from November 1988 to May 1989.

MOVIES - From YahooEntertainment:   Oscar-winnner Octavia Butler talks about being paid what she's worth for film and TV roles.

POLITICS - From BET:   Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States, has chosen California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. The formal nomination will take place during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention next week. 

ANIMATION - From Deadline:  "SpongeBob SquarePants" is getting a spin-off.  It's the animated TV series, "The Patrick Star Show," and it will feature Patrick hosting his own late-night talk show.  Voice recording on the series has reportedly started.

STREAMING - From Deadline:   Martin Scorsese has signed a first-look deal with Apple.  The Oscar-winning director will base his production banner, Sikelia Productions, at Apple for film and TV series developments.

JAMES BOND - From YahooEntertainment:  Sean Connery voted best James Bond by a fan vote.  [I choose Roger Moore - Leroy.]

MUSIC - From YahooToday:  Twin brothers, Tim and Fred Williams, have gone viral on YouTube with their reaction to Grammy-winning recording artist, Phil Collins' iconic drum fill on his 1981 hit, "In the Air Tonight."

WARNER MEDIA - From Deadline:  Now, the layoffs at WarnerMedia begin in a bid to streamline the company.

From Deadline:  WarnerMedia has undergone some big changes at the very top of the company with a chairman and two executives leaving.

DISNEY - From Deadline:  Garth Davis, who directed the 2016 Oscar-nominated drama, "Lion," will direct Jared Leto is Disney's planned third "Tron" film.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Actor Ben Affleck's next effort at directing film will be "The Big Goodbye."  The film will tell the behind-the-scenes story of the making of one of Hollywood's greatest films, "Chinatown" (1974).

BOX OFFICE - From Deadline:  The top film for the 8/7 to 8/9/2020 weekend box office is "Tax Collector" (starring Shia LeBeouf) with an estimated take of $317,000.  The movie exhibition marketplace is still being stricken by COVID-19.

ANIMATION - From LATimes:  Black animators demanded change in Hollywood for years.  Now, in the wake of George Floyd's death, they have Hollywood's attention.

DISNEY - From EW:  The documentary film, "Howard," takes a look at the life and work of playwright and lyricist, Howard Ashman, who wrote the lyrics to Alan Menken's music for Disney's animated films, "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast."


From THR:  One of America's all-time great media moguls, Sumner Redstone, has died at the age of 97, Tuesday, August 11, 2020.  He is best known for bringing Viacom, Paramount Pictures, and CBS together to form one media giant.  When CBS and Viacom split, Redstone remained chairman of both companies, although each had its own CEO.

From Deadline:  The actor and singer, Trini Lopez, has died at the age of 83, Tuesday, August 11, 2020 of complications of COVID-19.  His hit songs include the 1963 version of the song, "If I Had a Hammer," and the 1965 version of "Lemon Tree."  His best known role was as one of the "Dirty Dozen" (Pedro Jimenez), in the 1967 film, "The Dirty Dozen."


From CDC:   The Centers for Disease Control has a "COVID Data Tracker."

From YahooNews:  Why does COVID-19 kill some people and hardly affects others?

From YahooNews:  Yahoo has a dedicated page of links updating news about COVID-19.

From Deadline:  The news site "Deadline" has a dedicated page for news about coronavirus and the film, TV, and entertainment industries.

From TheNewYorker:  The venerable magazine has a dedicate COVID-19 page free to all readers.

From YahooNews:  Re: the federal government's response to COVID-19: What if the most important election of our lifetime was the last one - 2016?

From YahooLife:  What is "happy hypoxia?"  And do you have this COVID-19 symptom?

From JuanCole:  Remeber when President Donald went crazy and suggested that we ingest household cleaning supplies and UV light to fight COVID-19.  Here is the video and commentary from Juan Cole.

From TheIntercept:  The federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show. The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves...

From TheAtlanticThe Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying. The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.

From ProPublica:  Hospital's Secret COVID-19 Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns

From TheGuardian:  More than 20 million Americans could have contracted COVID-19, experts say.

From RSN/WashPost:  The COVID-19 mutation that has taken over the world.

7/13 - From YahooSports:  Maybe a pandemic means that there will not be college football this fall.

7/13- From YahooNews:  The CDC adds four new symptoms (including nausea and purple or blue lesions on feet and toes) to the list of COVID-19 symptoms.

7/19 - From YahooFinance:  Harvard Public Health professor Dr. Howard Koh says the U.S. "needs to regroup" to find COVID-19.

7/22 - From YahooNews:  A public health employee predicted Florida's coronavirus catastrophe — then she was fired.

7/22 - From YahooLifestyle:  Florida mom loses son, 20, to coronavirus, and then days later, her daughter.

7/23 - From TheWrap:  The site has a list of movie and TV stars, entertainment and sports figures who have tested positive for COVID-19

From YahooEntertainment:  Oscar-winning filmmaker Mel Gibson reveals that he was hospitalized with COVID-19 for a week in April.

From Bloomberg:  Will the COVID-19 pandemic turn Millennials into socialists?

7/27 - From CNN:   Chief of critical care at Baltimore's Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Joseph Costa, passes away due to Covid-19 complications... after treating the hospital's sickest COVID-19 patients.  He was 56 and leaves behind family, including a husband of 28 years.

7/29 - From YahooPolitico:  Rep. Louie Gohmert, the defiant Texas Republican U.S. congressman who refused to wear a mask, has tested positive for COVID-19.

7/30 - From Deadline:  Emmy-winning actor Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") reveals that he had a bout with COVID-19.

7/31 - From YahooEntertainment:  Writer and actress, Lena Dunham, creator of HBO's "Girls, reveals that she contracted COVID-19 and the symptoms she experiences and still experience.

7/30 - From YahooGMA:  In their bid to crackdown on illegal gatherings amid COVID-19, New York authorities break up an alleged sex party.

7/31 - From Slate:  COVID-19 is airborne - for reals!

8/2 - From TheDailyBeast:  In Mississippi, COVID-19 has coroners terrified.

8/6 - From CNN:  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (Republican) has tested positive for COVID19.

8/6 - From YahooNews:  Testing everyone constantly could stop the spread of COVID-19... according to this article.

8/8 - From YahooNYT:  The coronavirus is new, but your immune system might recognize it.

8/8 - From YahooNBC:  They thought COVID-19 was a hoax, and they almost died from it or are watching family and loved ones suffer with it or die from it.

8/9 - From YahooNews:  The rest of the world is incredulous at the pitiful U.S. response to COVID-19.

8/9 - From YahooAFP:  According to the real-time tally kept by John Hopkins University, the United States has hit 5 million cases of COVID-19.


From RSN:   Judge's Blistering Opinion Says Courts Have Placed Police Beyond Accountability

From Billboard:  In an interview will the venerable music publication, legendary country music singer-songwriter and actress, Dolly Parton, expresses support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from June 18th to 24th, 2017 - Update #23

Support Leroy on Patreon.

TELEVISION - From Grist:  As John Oliver predicted, a coal tycoon is suing him.

MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  SPOILER - A familiar face from "Transformers" movies past makes a cameo in "Transformers: The Last Knight."

BLM - From TIME:  Jay Z on How the bail system exploits black and brown people.

SPORTS - From YahooSports:  The inside story of how Lonzo Ball became a Los Angeles Lakers.

OBIT - From TheWrap:  As a baby, Henry J. Deutschendorf II along with his twin brother, William, played the role of "Baby Oscar" in "Ghostbusters II" (1989).  Last week, Henry took his own life.

CELEBRITY - From YahooMovies:  In his new memoir, actor Curtis Armstrong ("Booger" from "Revenge of the Nerds") talks about his wild summer with Tom Cruise in 1982 while filming 1983's "Risky Business."

CELEBRITY - From YahooNews:  2 holdouts on the jury prevented guilty verdicts for Bill Cosby.

STAR WARS - From Variety:  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired from "young Han Solo" film because they clashed with Lucasfilm boss, Kathleen Kennedy, among others.

COMICS-FILM - From Variety:  One of the most famous American comic books of all time, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's "Watchmen," became one of the worst films ever based on a comic book.  Now, HBO wants to turn it into a TV series.

OBIT - From YahooMusic:  Albert Johnson a.k.a. "Prodigy" of the beloved rap/Hip-Hop duo, Mobb Deep, has died at the age of 42, Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Three-time Oscar winning actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, has announced through his spokeswoman that he is retiring from acting.  He has one film left to be released, a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, due for December 2017.

BLM - From StLouisPostDispatch:  The family of Mike Brown, the unarmed Black teen killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, are close to a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit their attorney filed against the city and elements within the police department.

MUSIC - From BET:  Jay-Z may be changing his name again.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  The team behind the Emmy-winning BBC series, "Sherlock" (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) are developing a new take on "Dracula."

CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  Leaked emails reveal Johnny Depp's dire financial situation.

MOVIES - From Collider:  Synopsis and cast of "Godzilla 2" revealed, as filming begins in Atlanta.

STAR WARS - From Popsugar:  Carrie Fisher, known to fans as "Leia Organa," had multiple drugs in her system when she died last December at the age of 60.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the Father's Day weekend (6/16 to 6/18/2017) box office is Pixar's "Cars 3" with an estimated take of $53.5 million.

From YahooMovies:  "Cars 3" knocks "Wonder Woman" out of first place at the weekend box office, and Tupac Shakur biopic has a strong start.

COMICS-FILM - From ShadowandAct:  Reginald Hudlin has announced that he will direct and film adaptation of the Valiant Entertainment comic book, "Shadowman."

CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  Leonardo DiCaprio surrendered a Picasso painting, a Basquiat collage, a Diane Arbus photograph, and the Oscar Marlon Brando won for his performance in “On the Waterfront," to the U.S. Justice Department as part of a Malaysian money laundering probe.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Ben Kingsley will play Nazi Adolf Eichmann and Oscar Isaac will play the man who eventually captured him, Peter Malkin, in the MGM film "Operation Finale," from director Chris Weitz.

OBIT - From THR:  Actor Stephen Furst died at the age of 63, Friday, June 16, 2017.  His breakout film role was in the film, "Animal House" (1978), and he starred on the NBC medical drama, "St. Elsewhere" (1982-1988).

CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  Apparently, Beyonce and Jay-Z have welcomed twins babies into the world.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2016 British Independent Film Award Nominations Announced

In 1998, Raindance created the British Independent Film Awards to celebrate merit and achievement in independently funded British filmmaking.  The awards also honor new talent and promote British films and filmmaking to a wider public.

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the nominations for the 2015/19th Moët British Independent Film Awards were announced in London.  The winners will be announced at The Moët British Independent Film Awards on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at Old Billingsgate. The event, hosted by Jennifer Saunders, will be live streamed on

The 2016 / 19th Moët British Independent Film Awards nominations:

AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Pouya Shahbazian, Alice Weinberg, Thomas Benski, Lucas Ochoa
COUPLE IN A HOLE Tom Geens, Zorana Piggott
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Rebecca O’Brien
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison, Alex Usborne
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal, Matt Noonan, Leanne Saunders
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan, Kimberly Steward, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck, Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour, Charles Gillibert
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski, Jonas Dornbach, Michel Merkt

ANDREA ARNOLD American Honey
BABAK ANVARI Under the Shadow
KEN LOACH I, Daniel Blake

ANDREA ARNOLD American Honey
BABAK ANVARI Under the Shadow
PAUL LAVERTY I, Daniel Blake
RACHEL TUNNARD Adult Life Skills

KATE DICKIE Couple in a Hole
NARGES RASHIDI Under the Shadow
SASHA LANE American Honey

DAVE JOHNS I, Daniel Blake
MAX RECORDS I Am Not a Serial Killer
SHIA LABEOUF American Honey

AVIN MANSHADI Under the Shadow
GEMMA ARTERTON The Girl With All the Gifts
NAOMIE HARRIS Our Kind of Traitor
SHANA SWASH My Feral Heart
TERRY PHETO A United Kingdom

CHRISTOPHER LLOYD I Am Not a Serial Killer
SEAN HARRIS Trespass Against Us

DANCER Steven Cantor, Gabrielle Tana
THE HARD STOP George Amponsah, Dionne Walker
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison, Alex Usborne

JOAKIM SUNDSTRÖM Sound – Notes on Blindness
ROBBIE RYAN Cinematography – American Honey
SEB BARKER Visual Effects – The Girl With All the Gifts
SHAHEEN BAIG Casting – Free Fire

ADAM SMITH Trespass Against Us
BABAK ANVARI Under the Shadow
RACHEL TUNNARD Adult Life Skills

ED TALFAN The Passing (Yr Ymadawiad)
RACHEL TUNNARD Adult Life Skills

CAMILLE GATIN The Girl With All the Gifts
PAUL FEGAN Where You’re Meant to Be

DAVE JOHNS I, Daniel Blake
SENNIA NANUA The Girl With All the Gifts

BLACK MOUNTAIN POETS Jamie Adams, Jon Rennie
THE DARKEST UNIVERSE Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe, Tiani Ghosh, Jo-Jo Ellison
THE GHOUL Gareth Tunley, Jack Healy Guttmann, Tom Meeten
GOZO Miranda Bowen, Leo Scott
THE GREASY STRANGLER Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard, Daniel Noah, Andrew Starke, Ant Timpson, Josh C Waller, Elijah Wood

JACKED Rene Pannevis, Ashish Ghadiali, Jennifer Eriksson
MOTHER Leo Leigh, Scott O’Donnell
OVER Jörn Threlfall, Jeremy Bannister
RATE ME Fyzal Boulifa, Taina Galis
THE WRONG END OF THE STICK Terri Matthews, Chris Cornwell, Sam Bank

The BIFA Variety Award:
Naomie Harris
(The Variety Award recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has made a global impact and helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK.)

The Richard Harris Award:
Alison Steadman
(The Richard Harris Award was introduced in 2002 in honour of Richard Harris and recognises outstanding contribution to British film by an actor.)


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from September 11th to 17th, 2016 - Update #34

Support Leroy on Patreon.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  Looks like "Blair Witch" won't keep "Sully" from repeating as weekend box office champ.

OBIT - From TheWrap:  The author, W.P. Kinsella, has died at the age of 81.  His 1982 novel, "Shoeless Joe," was the basis of director Phil Alden Robinson's 1989, Oscar-nominated film, "Field of Dreams," which starred Kevin Costner.

OBIT-THEATER - From EW:  Legendary American playwright, Albert Albee, has died at the age of 88, Friday, September 16, 2016.  His best known play is "Who Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

MOVIE - From GQ:  See Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe for the film, "McEnroe vs. Borg."

MOVIE - From Variety:  Classic Western, "High Noon," is being remade, but that remake will be set in the present day.

MOVIE - From THR:  After a dispute over Tom Cruise's money is resolved, "Mission: Impossible 6" resumes.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Newcomer Cailee Spaeny is the female lead in "Pacific Rim: Maelstrom."

TELEVISION - From YahooTV:  Remembering NBC's groundbreaking TV movie, "An Early Frost."

SPORTS - From YahooSports:  U.S. soccer National Team member, Megan Rapinoe, still taking a knee during the National Anthem.

TELEVISION - From TVLine:  Spike Lee's TV version of his debut film, "She's Gotta Have It" gets a 10-episode order from Amazon.

MOVIES - From BuzzFeed:  Leonardo DiCaprio has a new eco-movie, "Before the Flood."

TELEVISION - From TheWrap:  Actress - pitch woman Sofia Vergara is getting paid, y'all.

STAR TREK - From YahooNews:  CBS' upcoming series, "Star Trek Discovery" has been delayed from its announced January 2017 release to May 2017.  I thought this would happen, especially as no casting had been announced.

COMICS-FILM - From ComicBookMovie:  "Harley Quinn" spin-off from "Suicide Squad" moves forward.

TELEVISION - From TheWrap:  What the hell is "American Horror Story" Season 6 about?  Try The Wrap's live blog.

MOVIES - From THR:  A young actress, Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave), is the lead in Ava DuVernay's adaptation of "A Wrinkle in Time."

MOVIES - From ShadowandAct:  Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele) has finished his directorial debut, which is a straight (not comic) horror film.

MOVIE - From Deadline:  Anne Hathaway has a sci-fi film, "Colossal," which has been bought by a mystery Chinese buyer.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Conrad Vernon, the co-director of the hit animated film, "Sausage Party," will helm a remake of "The Toxic Avenger."

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Fox Searchlight picks up the much talk-about "Jackie" with Natalie Portman.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Benicio del Toro in talks to star in "Predator" reboot.

MOVIES - From ScreenRant:  Rock legend Steven Tyler wants to be in "Guardians of the Galaxy 3."

CELEBRITY - From YahooNews:  "Sully" Sullenberg for president says Clint Eastwood.

SPORTS - From YahooSports:  A player can be penalized for "sexually suggestive" celebrations. That is what happened to to Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a Monday Night Football game where the Steelers smashed the Washington Redskins.

POLITICS - From TheIntercept:  U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee's "No" vote on Sept. 14, 2001 is timeless and remains powerful.

EMMYS - From ShadowandAct:  RuPaul won his first Emmy Award for "Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program" for “RuPaul’s Drag Race" (Logo).  This was announced at Saturday's 2016 Creative Arts Emmys.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 9/9 to 9/11/2016 weekend box office is "Sully" with an estimated take of $35.5 million.

ECO - From DemocracyNow:  The state of North Dakota has issued a warrant for the arrest of journalist Amy Goodman, whose work revealed private security and their dogs attacking protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

COMICS-FILM - From Patreon:  I finally posted my review of "Batman v Superman."

MUSIC - From YahooMusic:   Katy Perry wants Taylor Swift to apologize.

OBIT - From Variety:  Transgender star, Alexis Arquette, has died at the age of 47, Sunday morning, September 11, 2016.  She was the sister of Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette and actor David Arquette.

EMMYS - From Variety:  A complete list of winners at the 2016 Creative Arts Emmys, which "Game of Thrones" led with 7 wins.

FESTIVALS - From TheWrap:  At the 2016 / 73rd Venice Film Festival, the best picture prize goes to director Lav Diaz's "The Woman Who Left."

MOVIES - From IndieWire:  Brad Pitt calls Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" a propaganda film.

COMICS-FILM - From EW:  Voice actor, Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6) really wants to be Robin, so he made a video for Ben Affleck.


From YouTube:  Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams perform the song "I See a Victory" from the upcoming film, "Hidden Figures" live at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for June 29 to July 5, 2014 Update #6


From WebProNews:  The super fine and gorgeous Scarlett Johansson wins "sex object" lawsuit.


From Hitfix: 10 stories that we might have missed...


From Hitfix:  Sony is re-imagining 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - a sign of the slow death of imagination in Hollywood.


From Box Office MojoTransformers: Age of Extinction to take out Tammy at the July 4th weekend box office?


From Deadline Hollywood: Manslaughter indictments in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones on the set on the Gregg Allman biopic, "Midnight Rider."  Allman has since requested that the film be cancelled.


From Deadline HollywoodWoody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth will star in a revenge Western, "By Way of Helena."


From The Daily MailDaniel Radcliffe (formerly known as Harry Potter) and Marisa Tomei (just formerly known) snuggle while filming a new movie.


From Ropes of Silicon:  "Rambo 5" may actually happen.


From Yahoo:  Too many romantic comedies derailed Katherine Heigl's career.  By the way, I do NOT like her.


From VultureSpike Lee's films are ranked from worst to best.  Worst - She Hate Me. Best - Do The Right Thing (of course).


From ShadowAndAct:  Speaking of Do The Right Thing: Spike is still trying to bring it to Broadway, as play, not as a musical.

AND love this story: a young Barack Obama used a date to Do The Right Thing to impress Michelle. Awww! (from Moviefone).


From Screen Rant: Former Bond star (1995 to 2002), Pierce Brosnan wants to join The Expendables.  One would think that this franchise is running out of space for aging action stars.


From Salon:  The decline of Shia LaBeouf.



From Screen Rant: Henry Cavill as Clark Kent - without glasses - plus other early news about "Batman Vs. Superman."

From Screen Rant:  Analysis of early info on "X-Men Apocalypse," the planned 2016 X-Men movie.



From UPIThe Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.



From Reuters:  Television actor Bob Hastings died Monday, June 30, 2014 at the age of 89.  Hastings was best known for playing Lt. Elroy Carpenter, the yes-man to Captain Wallace Burton Binghamton (played by actor Joe Flynn), on the 1960s World War II era comedy, "McHale's Navy."  A World War II veteran, Hastings also provided the voice of Archie Andrews from 1945 to 1953 on NBC radio.

Negromancer sends condolences to Mr. Hastings family (including younger brother Don Hastings who is also an actor) and friends.  Hastings's Lt. Carpenter was one of my favorite classic TV characters.  R.I.P. Bob Hastings.


From the Times:  Acclaimed director, Paul Mazursky, died, Monday, June 30, 2014, at the age of 84.  I remember him for the 1989 film, Enemies, A Love Story, which I thought was a truly fine film.  Negromancer sends condolences to Mazursky's family and friends.


From Variety:  The actor, Meshach Taylor, died Saturday, June 28, 2014 in California.  He was 67.  Taylor was best known for his role as interior design aide, Anthony Bouvier, on the CBS series, "Designing Women."  Taylor earned an Emmy nomination for supporting actor in comedy series in 1989 for the series, which ran from 1986 to 1993.

Taylor also appeared in Mannequin films the CBS sitcom, "Dave's World," from 1993 to 1997. Negromancer sends condolences to Taylor's family and friends.  R.I.P. Anthony Bouvier.


From Variety:  Soul music legend, Bobby Womack, died Friday, June 27, 2014, at the age of 70.  He had numerous hits, but my favorite is the 1982 single, "If You Think You're Lonely Now," from his 1981 album, The Poet.  It peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Hot Soul Single charts.

One of Womack's hit songs was the top 20 hit, “Across 110th Street.” It was the title song from the 1972 crime thriller, Across 110th Street, starring Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto.  Quentin Tarantino used the song for the opening credits of his 1997 film, Jackie Brown.  Negromancer sends its condolences to Womack's family and friends.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle" Sputters

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 100 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
Running time: 106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for action violence, sensuality and language/innuendo
WRITERS: John August and Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, from a story by John August (from the television program created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts)
PRODUCERS: Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg, and Nancy Juvonen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Carpenter (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Wayne Wahrman
COMPOSER: Edward Shearmur
Razzie Award winner


Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Lui, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Crispin Glover, John Cleese, Shia LaBeouf, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Pink, Jaclyn Smith, Bruce Willis (no screen credit), and John Forsythe (voice)

The subject of this movie review is Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, a 2003 action comedy from director McG. This movie is a direct sequel to the 2000 film, Charlie’s Angels. Both films are based on the television series, “Charlie’s Angels,” which was originally broadcast on ABC from 1976 to 1981. As in the first film, Full Throttle stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as three women employed by a private investigation agency and working for the voice known as “Charlie.”

Charlie’s Angels, the 2000 film remake of the 70-80’s TV show of the same name, was a hoot, a delightful and highly entertaining action/comedy with the guile of a cool Frank Miller comic book. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, the 2003 sequel, is an overblown, way over-the-top Hollywood production that’s way too full of crap, and miraculously, it still manages to be somewhat entertaining.

It’s pointless to even attempt to describe the plot, as it’s muddled nonsense. The real plot involves the indelicate manner in which the filmmakers place Charlie’s Angels in positions and situations that create mondo opportunities for shots of tits and ass. Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz), Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore), and Alex Munday (Lucy Lui) return as Charlie Townsend’s (voice of John Forsythe) high tech-trained, super-powered, manga-like cuties. This time the grrrrls have to retrieve two encrypted rings, which when combined give up the locations of people in the FBI witness relocation program, and wouldn’t the bad guys love to have that info.

McG, the director of the first film, returns to helm this gigantic, flatulent cartoon that is Full Throttle. The script is lame, but all McG has to do is make the pictures look good, and, as a music video director, he knows how to do that. Imagine The Matrix on drain cleaner, Japanese cartoons (anime) on fast forward, soft porn on the rag, and comic books conceived by horny, high school upper classmen and dull-witted sorority boys and you have the Charlie’s Angel's sequel. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of laughs. It’s difficult to tell if the filmmakers were trying to be clever or if they were cynical enough to believe that audiences really would take it ‘tween the cheeks. The end result is this dumb as a low-rent retard movie.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle parodies action movie clichés…badly, and also throws in a stiff riff from Martin Scorcese’s Cape Fear. It’s just too over the top and too much of a crack-addled cartoon. I did like the way the filmmakers tried to created the vibe of a family extended around the Angels; that actually gave me warm feelings. Still, I was half enthralled and half bored out of my mind. For all the fun I had, there were as many moments when I wondered why the experience of seeing this felt so wasteful. This is simply too much candy, and frankly, unless you really crave an empty movie experience, you can wait for the tape. Someone might tell you that this is a sly, wink-wink, nudge-nudge movie and you have to take it for what it is. If he tries to spin trash as something smart, he is a way-too-easy ho for the big, movie making machine in la-dee-da land.

4 of 10

2004 Razzie Awards: 2 wins: “Worst Remake or Sequel” and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Demi Moore); 5 nominations: “Worst Actress” (Drew Barrymore, also for Duplex-2003), “Worst Actress” (Cameron Diaz), “Worst Excuse for an Actual Movie” (All Concept/No Content!), “Worst Picture” (Columbia), and “Worst Screenplay” (John August-also story, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley)

Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: "Surf's Up" Has Impressive Animation

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 136 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Surf’s Up (2007) – computer animation
Running time: 85 minutes (1 hour, 25 minutes)
MPAA – PG for mild language and some rude humor
DIRECTORS: Ash Brannon and Chris Buck
WRITERS: Don Rhymer and Ash Brannon and Chris Buck and Christopher Jenkins; from a story by Christopher Jenkins and Christian Darren with Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse
PRODUCER: Christopher Jenkins
EDITORS: Ivan Bilancio and Nancy Frazen
Academy Award nominee

ANIMATION/COMEDY/SPORTS with elements of drama

Starring: (voices) Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader, Mario Cantone, Brian Posehn, and Dana Belben

The subject of this movie review is Surf’s Up, a 2007 computer-animated film directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. The film is a mock documentary or “mockumentary” (with This is Spinal Tap being the most famous example). It was one of three 2007 films to receive best animated feature Oscar nominations (a category Ratatouille won).

A documentary film crew follows a young penguin who loves to surf in Surf’s Up, the computer-animated film from Sony Pictures Animation (Open Season) which takes the notion that penguins invented surfing.

Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) is not like the other penguins in Shiverpool, Antarctica. He’d rather surf than process fish all day. Opportunity arrives when he talks his way into the Big Z Memorial Surf-Off, an international surf tournament named in memory of Cody’s idol, the legendary surfing penguin, Zeke “Big Z” Topanga.

When Cody arrives on Pen Gu Island, he realizes that he doesn’t really fit in very well because he is a small wave surfer in a big wave event. He quickly earns the ire of a mouthy surfing promoter, a hedgehog named Reggie Belafonte (James Woods), and the 9-time reigning champion, the utterly arrogant penguin Tank “The Shredder” Evans (Diedrich Bader). Cody does manage to make a fast friend in Chicken Joe (Jon Heder), a surfing rooster from Michigan, and also attract the attention of sexy lifeguard, Lani Aliikai (Zooey Deschanel). However, it’s when he meets the mysterious Geek (Jeff Bridges), a reclusive penguin who lives on the other side of the island that Cody learns there is more to discover in surfing than just how to win a tournament.

Although on the surface it resembles leftovers from the Oscar-winning computer-animated hit, Happy Feet (2006), Surf’s Up is actually a good film on its own. It is an entertaining comedy that not only has some really cool surfing scenes, but also has a nice message about friendship. Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges have excellent chemistry, which may be due to the fact that the voice actors recorded their dialogue together in one room – a rarity in feature film animation. As the burnt-out, but wise teacher, Geek, and his stubborn pupil, Cody, Bridges and LaBeouf respectively add solid dramatic weight and traction to the characters’ relationship with their voice performances. Each actor brings both gentle sarcasm and humor to their roles, but they both know when to add a somber touch when the story calls for it.

As for the rest of the cast: Jon Heder manages to seem fresh, although even here he is pretty much playing the same kind of goofy dude part he’s been repeatedly playing for the last three years. Zooey Deschanel is always a nice presence – somehow managing to add a touch of sweetness to any film in which she appears. James Woods is shrill and his character, Reggie Belafonte, is way more annoying than he needs to be.

The aforementioned surfing scenes are surprisingly good – a testament to how supernaturally skilled these programmers, software guys, and animators who make computer-animated films are. That they make the surfing look so good with penguins on the surf boards adds to the amazement.

6 of 10

Saturday, November 10, 2007

2008 Academy Awards: 1nomination: “Best Animated Feature Film of the Year” (Ash Brannon and Chris Buck)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is a Shiny Empty Thing

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 86 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Running time: 154 minutes (2 hours, 34 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
WRITERS: Ehren Kruger (based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures)
PRODUCERS: Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Ian Bryce
EDITOR: Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, and Joel Negron


Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Lester Speight, Glenn Morshower, and Buzz Aldrin; (voices) Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy, Hugo Weaving, Frank Welker, Charlie Adler, Reno Wilson, and Keith Szarabajka

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a 2011 science fiction war and action film. It is the third movie in the live-action film series starring Hasbro’s popular toy line, the Transformers. The two other movies were Transformers (2007) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Once again, the human hero from the first two films is caught in a war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons, but this time the war involves a new technology that could enslave humanity and forever change Earth.

Dark of the Moon takes place three years after the events of the second film. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is frustrated on two fronts. U.S. government officials will no longer allow him to work with the Autobots, and Director of National Intelligence Charlotte Mearing (Frances McDormand) tells Sam that he is not a hero, but was merely a messenger bringing the Autobots to the world’s attention. Sam also cannot find post-college employment that satisfies him professionally and financially. He is also irritated that his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer (Rose Huntington-Whiteley), supports them both with her high-paying job.

Meanwhile, the Autobots are helping the U.S. military prevent conflicts around the globe. Bigger things are about to happen for the Autobots, however, and it involves a mystery that began 42 years earlier with the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Autobot leader, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), travels to the moon where he finds an Autobot thought to be dead, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots. Optimus revives Sentinel, and that begins a series of events which allow Megatron (Hugo Weaving), leader of the Decepticons, to commence a diabolical plot to revive Cybertron, the ruined home planet of the Transformers. Soon, the Decepticons launch an all-out war against humanity with Chicago as the epicenter.

USAF Chief Robert Epps (Tyrese Gibson) and “Team Epps” join Sam on a mission to slip into Chicago to save Carly. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Lt. Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) leads the classified strike team, NEST, into Chicago to help them. But time is running out for them to save Carly and the world.

Like Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon got some bad reviews, although maybe not as many as Revenge. I like this as much as I did Revenge of the Fallen, but both films are too long. Dark of the Moon is probably a half hour longer than it needs to be, but it’s almost worth it to get just about any of the action scenes that include the Transformers. Many of the Transformers here are more complex and have more moving parts, in addition to the fact that this film is shot in 3D. The special visual effects wizards who worked on Dark of the Moon were up to the task and turned in the best visual and special effects of the three films.

Visually, this is an undeniably impressive science fiction action film. Sadly, the rest of the film is either barely coherent or simply incoherent. The acting is often lost in all the noise and visual splendor, and in many cases, that is for the better. There is some hysterically bad acting and embarrassing overacting. This film is also over-the-top and overwrought, and sometimes, it’s just too much. It took me three sittings over three days to watch this movie, and I’m glad I chose not to see it in a theatre.

The special effects and the robots transforming were superb, but as much as that blew my mind, something is really wrong with this movie as a story. This is director Michael Bay at his most mind-numbing, and it is now clear that he has perfected film as sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing. Transformers: Dark of the Moon shows how far the science and technology of cinema have come, but the storytelling is positively Stone Age.

5 of 10

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Amazon wants me to inform you that the affiliate link below is a PAID AD, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on the affiliate link below AND buy something(s).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: "Constantine" is No Hellblazer

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Constantine (2005)
Running time: 121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – R for violence and demonic images
DIRECTOR: Francis Lawrence
WRITERS: Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello; from a story by Kevin Brodbin (based upon the characters from the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels)
PRODUCERS: Lauren Shuler Donner, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan, Erwin Stoff, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Akiva Goldsman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Rousselot, A.F.C./A.S.C.
EDITOR: Wayne Wahrman, A.C.E.

HORROR/FANTASY/ACTION with elements of thriller

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin (McGregor) Rossdale, Jessie Ramirez, Jose Zuniga, Laz Alonso, Quinn Buniel, and Peter Stormare

In the mid 1980’s famed comic book writer Alan Moore created, at the behest of his artist collaborators, a character for their comic book series, Swamp Thing (that changed the face of mainstream or superhero comics), that would look like Sting, front man of the rock group, The Police. Two decades later, Keanu Reeves, not Sting, has brought the character, John Constantine, to cinematic life in the film, Constantine.

Back story: John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) was born with a gift he didn’t want – the ability to recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin. Constantine took his own life to end the torment of his visions, but he was resuscitated against his will. Constantine returned with the ability to walk the earthly border between Heaven and Hell. He attempts to earn his salvation as an exorcist/supernatural detective sending the half-breed demons back to hell. Still, Constantine is no saint; he lives a hard life of drinking and smoking too much while he tries to buy his way into heaven.

Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) is a skeptical police detective, really not buying all this occult mumbo jumbo, but she needs Constantine. Her sister, Isabel (Ms. Weisz), may have committed suicide. Angela finds that hard to believe because her sister was a devout Catholic, and devout Catholics know that suicides go straight to the inferno of hell. Angela convinces Constantine to help her, but their investigation quickly clears away Angela’s skepticism as their examination of the crime takes them to the world of angels and demons just behind the walls, on the other side of the metaphorical windows, and beneath the landscape of Los Angeles. The duo is caught in a series of catastrophic occult and satanic events that may not only cost them their lives, but the souls of all human kind.

If Keanu Reeves were a better actor, Constantine would have been a better film. First, we, the people who are familiar with the comic book, have to get over the fact that there were better actors to play the part. We may have been willing to accept that the character was changed from a Brit to an American, but Keanu? He has his moments, but most of them are in the last act. It’s not as if he were out acted; the rest of the characters seem extraneous, even the ones that are supposed to be important to the plot.

The story, which borrows heavily from the work of two early writers on the Constantine comic book (called Hellblazer), Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis, is conceptually interesting. The execution leaves something to be desired. Sometimes, it’s just pretentious, and sometimes, the occult angle is as good and as intriguing as the occult was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The visualization of Hell (as a still-burning post-apocalyptic cityscape) is nice, but ultimately the script is just a hodge podge of concepts and ideas that are poorly thought out and used. It’s as if some things were added because they’d seem cool, but they were poorly used or just didn’t make sense in the context of the script. The writers seemingly knew how they wanted the film to begin and end, but only threw crap against the wall in between that.

Actually, director Francis Lawrence (known for his music videos for acts such as Britney Spears and Will Smith) gives the film a good pace and a tense atmosphere of dread. He manages to make something out of a poor script and Keanu’s monotone and flat speaking/acting style. It’s enough to make this worth renting for fans of horror and fantasy.

5 of 10



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Returns to IMAX


Film Grosses $1,095 Billion to Date

Los Angeles, CA (August 23, 2011) – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX; TSX:IMX) and Paramount Pictures announced today that Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third film in the blockbuster Transformers franchise, is returning to 246 IMAX® domestic locations for an extended two-week run from Friday, Aug. 26 through Thursday, Sept. 8. During those two weeks, the 3-D film will play simultaneously with other films in the IMAX network.

Since its launch on June 29, Transformers: Dark of the Moon has grossed $1,095 billion globally, with $59.6 million generated from IMAX theatres globally.

“The fans have spoken and we are excited to bring Transformers: Dark of the Moon back to IMAX theatres,” said Greg Foster, IMAX Chairman and President of Filmed Entertainment. “The film has been a remarkable success and we are thrilled to offer fans in North America another chance to experience the latest chapter in this history making franchise.”

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology for presentation in IMAX 3D. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique immersive environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

About Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. When a mysterious event from Earth's past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the third film in the Transformers franchise and the first shot in 3D. It is directed by Michael Bay, written by Ehren Kruger and produced by Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce. The executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. The film has been rated PG-13. © 2011 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

HASBRO, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group and Paramount Television & Digital Distribution.

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX Corporation is one of the world's leading entertainment and technology companies, specializing in the creation and delivery of premium, awe-inspiring entertainment experiences. With a growing suite of cutting-edge motion picture and sound technologies, and a globally recognized entertainment brand, IMAX is singularly situated at the convergence of the entertainment industry, innovation and the digital media world. The industry's top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and as such, the IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. The Company's new digital projection and sound systems - combined with a growing blockbuster film slate - are fueling the rapid expansion of the IMAX network in established markets such as North America, Western Europe, and Japan, as well as emerging markets such as China and Russia. IMAX theaters deliver the world's best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX®, IMAX 3D®, and IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-Mastering) technologies. IMAX DMR enables virtually any motion picture to be transformed into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo and Shanghai. As of June 30, 2011, there were 560 IMAX theatres (417 commercial multiplex, 25 commercial destination and 118 institutional) operating in 46 countries.

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (, Twitter ( and YouTube (

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" Reaches $1 Billion in Worldwide Box Office


HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).

“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio," said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time".

Earlier this summer, Paramount was the first studio to reach $1 billion in domestic grosses, aided by the $180.7 million opening of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON over the July 4th holiday. This is the fifth year in a row that Paramount has reached the milestone before any other studio. Paramount Pictures International crossed the $2 billion mark on July 30th, making it the first for any studio this year to reach the benchmark. The studio has had six consecutive movies earning over $100 million at the domestic box office in 2011.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is directed by Michael Bay, written by Ehren Kruger and produced by Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce. The executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. When a mysterious event from Earth’s past erupts into the present day it threatens to bring a war to Earth so big that the Transformers alone will not be able to save us. The movie stars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Kevin Dunn, Julie White with John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. © 2011 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

HASBRO, TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2011 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, go to

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group and Paramount Television & Digital Distribution.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is Good/Bad

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 55 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Running time: 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
WRITERS: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman (based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures)
PRODUCERS: Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Ian Bryce
EDITOR: Paul Rubell, A.C.E., Roger Barton, Thomas A. Muldoon, and Joel Negron
Academy Award nominee

SCI-FI/ACTION with elements of drama, thriller, and war

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Rainn Wilson, Deep Roy and (voices) Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Frank Welker, Grey DeLisle, Reno Wilson, Michael York, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Tony Todd

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a 2009 science fiction/action film. It is the sequel to the 2007 film, Transformers, the live-action feature film starring those ever-popular toys, Hasbro’s the Transformers. Once again, the human hero from the first film is caught in a war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons, but another adversary joins the fray – an enemy who wants to destroy the Earth’s sun to attain his goal.

Revenge of the Fallen takes place two years after the first film. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the hero of the Transformers film franchise, leaves the Autobots behind for a normal life. Sam is ready to move on with his life, which means leaving home to go to college, but Autobot leader, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), wants Sam to stay because the war to protect humanity from the Decepticons continues. Sam’s father, Ron Witwicky (Kevin Dunn), is ambivalent about his son going across country to attend college, and his mother, Judy (Julie White), is in full meltdown mode. Sam’s girlfriend, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), is also not happy with the move because she questions why Sam wants a long-distance relationship when he still can’t say “I love you” to her.

As he tries to adapt to college life, however, Sam finds his mind filled with cryptic symbols in the robots’ Cybertronian language that cause him to have short mental breakdowns. Meanwhile, the Decepticons reunite with their leader, a mysterious figure known as the Fallen (Tony Todd), and Megatron (Hugo Weaving) is brought back to life. Inside Sam’s mind is information that the Fallen wants, so the Decepticons target Sam and drag him back into the Autobots/Decepticon war.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen got some really bad reviews, and some considered it one of the worst movies of 2009. I liked it. Sure, the story is under-plotted and an actual full, working screenplay for this movie is probably nonexistent. This is way too long; two and a half hours – freakin’ puh-lease. What I love is all the special effects and CGI magic that brings the Transformers to life. All that twisting, shape-shifting, and, well… transforming are what piques my interest. I can barely tolerate the “character drama” between scenes of the Transformers tearing each other apart while smashing through buildings, bridges, and whatever infrastructure that happens to be in their way.

Truthfully, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen only really works during the action scenes, especially during the last half hour. Those action set pieces are why I put up with what is an incredibly noisy film, which is sometimes like listening to an ADHD monkey banging pots and pans together.

The other element of the film that works for me is actor Shia LaBeouf. I must admit to being a fan of this talented young actor, but his character is saddled with bad secondary characters. This film’s script has no place for them, so they’re underdeveloped and stupid. Watching scenes with Shia’s Sam Witwicky means you have to put up with characters that are only a little more than mannequins. One big disappointment was that Revenge of the Fallen underplayed Josh Duhamel’s William Lennox and Tyrese Gibson’s Robert Epps.

But Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen temporarily fed my appetite for Autobots vs. Decepticons destruction, and I’m ready for more.

6 of 10

2010 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Sound” (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, and Geoffrey Patterson)

2010 Razzie Awards: 3 wins: “Worst Director” (Michael Bay), “Worst Picture” (DreamWorks and Paramount), and “Worst Screenplay” (Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman); 4 nominations: “Worst Actress” (Megan Fox), “Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel,” “Worst Screen Couple” (Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Shia LaBeouf and either Megan Fox or any Transformer), and “Worst Supporting Actress” (Julie White)

Monday, June 27, 2011


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Review: First "Transformers" Movie is Good ... Then Goes Bad

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 105 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transformers (2007)
Running time: 140 minutes (2 hours, 20 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
WRITERS: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; from a story by John Rogers and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures)
PRODUCERS: Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Ian Bryce
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mitchell Amundsen (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Paul Rubell, A.C.E. and Glen Scantlebury
Academy Award nominee

SCI-FI/ACTION with elements of drama, thriller, and war

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Anderson, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, Bernie Mac, with John Turturro and Jon Voight, Kevin Dunn, Michael O’Neill, Julie White, and Amaury Nolasco

Director Michael Bay (Armageddon) unleashes Transformers, the long-awaited live-action, feature film starring the ever-popular toys, Hasbro’s the Transformers.

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is the clever, jokester trying to navigate his way through the pitfalls of high school and the teenage years. As something of a smart mouth, he may think he’s special, but he doesn’t know the half of it.

For centuries two races of robotic aliens – the Autobots and the Decepticons – have waged a war to find the location of the lost Allspark, the energy that both powers them and creates more of their kind. Now, they’ve come to Earth, and the planet may be their final battleground. U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) and U.S. Army Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) lead the military charge against the Decepticons. Meanwhile, Sam and his girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) are caught in a tug of war between the human-friendly Autobots and murderous Decepticons, and the clue to the whereabouts of Allspark is in Sam’s unsuspecting hands.

The first 100 minutes of Transformers is a great sci-fi war movie that is as gripping and as fun as Independence Day, which is a testament to Michael Bay’s skill as a director of awe-inspiring visuals. The last 40 minutes is mostly inane, with every few moments of action being a cinematic seizure crammed next to another spasm of CGI pomposity. In fact, in Transformers’ last act, even the supernaturally endearing Shia LaBeouf, who lights up both movies and TV with his half-shy, half smarter-than-you-are screen persona, is utterly lost.

The first half of the film is about the heroes versus impossibly advanced alien invaders, but the good guys won’t give up. After that, the Autobots and Decepticons take over, and the movie turns preposterous. CGI makes the robots and Michael Bay loves CGI, special effects, and all the technical processes of making a movie more than he loves actors and story. Actors and story thrive in the beginning, but computers and technicians take over by the end. I enjoyed the human story – man with his back against the wall against a mysterious invader, and I liked it enough to overlook the special effects ejaculation that is the final third of Transformers.

6 of 10

Saturday, July 14, 2007

2008 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Achievement in Sound” (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, and Peter J. Devlin), “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins), and “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, and John Frazier)

2008 Razzie Awards: 1 nomination: “Worst Supporting Actor” (Jon Voight)


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