Showing posts with label Tommy Lee Jones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tommy Lee Jones. Show all posts

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from October 10th to 16th, 2021 -- Update #18

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

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


DC COMICS - From Variety:  See previews, performances, and personalities from upcoming films and TV, live-action and animated, based on DC Comics characters at DC FanDome 2021.

TRANS/NETFLIX - From THR:  Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby, tears into Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos in the ongoing controversy over Dave Chappelle's most recent Netflix special, "The Closer."  Chappelle mocked gender identities in the special.

From THR:   In the ongoing controversy over Dave Chappelle's "The Closer" stand-up special, Netflix has fired an employee for leaking confidential financial data to "Bloomberg", resulting in an article published on Oct. 13 that detailed the cost ($24.1 million) of The Closer.


SPORTS/BLM - From TheAtlantic:   Is the NFL's Jon Gruden scandal a sign that the league has a problem with bigotry among its coaches, team executives, and owners? Jemele Hill of "The Atlantic" discusses.

MOVIES - From Deadline: Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones is replacing Oscar-nominee Harrison Ford in Amazon's "The Burial," which will also star Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Jensen Ackles ("Supernatural," "The Boys") joins the ensemble cast of the Western, "Rust," which already includes Alec Baldwin as an actor and producer.

BUSINESS - From Deadline:   Unless an agreement is reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in the coming days, the 60,000 film and TV workers of the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) will go on strike on Monday, Oct. 18, at 12:01 a.m. PDT.

NETFLIX - From THR:   Squid Game drew 111 million viewers in its first month on the platform, per internal Netflix estimates, becoming the biggest launch in the streaming giant’s history.

From THR:    "Squid Game" creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, talks Season 2.


TRAILERS-MOVIES - From ETCanada:  Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group have released a trailer for its relaunch of the "Scream" franchise with a fifth film. The film is due Jan. 14, 2022.

TELEVISION - From EW: AMC has greenlit a new spinoff of "The Walking Dead."  The anthology series, "Tales of the Walking Dead" will debut on AMC and streaming AMC+ next summer.

CELEBRITY - From TimesUK:  Rumors say that Prince William sees his uncle, Prince Andrew, as a threat to the British royal family because of Andrew's connection to the late pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, and because of his ongoing legal battles with Virginia Giuffre.  Giuffre says that Prince Andrew raped her when she was a teenager.

AWARDS - From THR:   FX’s "Pose" and "Mayans M.C." and Hulu’s "Love, Victor" were among the winners at Sunday night's 2021 Imagen Awards.  The awards recognize positive portrayals of Latinos in media.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 10/8 to 10/10/21 weekend box office is the James Bond film, "No Time to Die," with an estimated take of 56 million dollars.

From Deadline:  "No Time to Die" leads the international box office with an estimated gross of 89.54 million dollars. Its total foreign gross to date is 313.3 million.

From Negromancer:  My review of "No Time to Die."

MOVIES - From BuzzFeed:   Timothy Chalamet shares a first-look at himself as "Willy Wonka" from the film, "Wonka," which is due in 2023.

OSCARS - From Variety:  Husband and wife entertainment mega-couple, Jay-Z and Beyonce, could make Oscar history if both received "Best Original Song" nominations.

MOVIES - From USAToday:  "Best horror movies: 10 thrilling, chilling films to watch for Halloween 2021."

POLITICS/TELEVISION - From Reuters:   How AT&T helped build far-right One America News (OAN).

From RollingStone:  "Fox News and OAN Were Deeper in the Bag for Trump Than Anyone Realized."


From Deadline:   Disney animator, Ruthie Thompson, has died at the age of 111, Sunday, October 10, 2021. She worked an a camera technician, animation checker, or scene planner on many Walt Disney animated films over a four decade period, including "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Fantasia," "Mary Poppin," and "The Rescuers."  She was named a "Disney Legend" in 2000.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of July 26th to July 31st, 2015 - Update #9

Support Leroy on Patreon.


From Vulture:  The all-male Ghostbusters reboot, to go along with the all-female Ghostbusters movie, might happen.

From Vulture:  Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige join NBCs upcoming version of "The Wiz."

From YahooMovie:  New Line is plotting a reboot of iconic 70s film, "Shaft."

From Variety:  Tommy Lee Jones joins Matt Damon in the next "Jason Bourne" film.

From ThePlaylist:  Richard Linklater is the frontrunner to direct "The Rosie Project" starring Jennifer Lawrence.

From BoxOfficeMojo:  Because of early estimates, Disney/Marvel is declaring "Ant-Man" as the winner of the 7/24 to 7/26/2015 weekend box office with an estimated take of $24.675 million.  If this holds, "Ant-Man," which was #1 at the box office last weekend, will repeat as champ.

From HuffingtonPost:  Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer, Whitney Houston, and singer Bobby Brown, has died at the age of 22, Sunday, July 26, 2015.

COMICS: Films and Books:

From YahooGames:  Mark Hamill gave voice to "The Joker" in the beloved "Batman: The Animated Series."  Now, Hamill returns to voicing the Joker in direct-to-DVD adaptation the famous Batman comic book, "Batman: The Killing Joke."

From YahooNews:  Rachel McAdams confirms that she is in talks regarding Marvel's "Doctor Strange" film.


From YahooMovies:  A wanted fugitive was starring in a horror movie, while on a probation violation.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: "Small Soldiers" is Hugely Entertaining (Remembering Jerry Goldsmith)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 60 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Small Soldiers (1998)
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some menacing violence/action and brief drug references
DIRECTOR:  Joe Dante
WRITERS:  Gavin Scott, Adam Rifkin, and Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio
PRODUCERS:  Michael Finnell and Colin Wilson
EDITORS:  Marshall Harvey and Michael Thau
COMPOSER:  Jerry Goldsmith


Starring:  Gregory Smith, Kirsten Dunst, Jay Mohr, David Cross, Denis Leary, Kevin Dunn, Ann Magnuson, Phil Hartman, Jacob Smith, Wendy Schaal, and Dick Miler and the voices of Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Clint Walker, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Christina Ricci, and Harry Shearer

The subject of this movie review is Small Soldiers, a 1998 science fiction, fantasy, and action film from director Joe Dante.  The film depicts a small war between two groups of action figures brought to life by new technology.  Small Soldiers remains one of my all-time favorite films.

Joe Dante directed Gremlins, the tale of toy-like creatures besieging a small town.  He returned to a similar toys-come-to-life theme in the 1998 DreamWorks film, Small Soldiers.  When computer chips manufactured for military use end up in a line of action figures, the toys come to life with minds of their own.  One group, the Commando Elite, is composed of military action figures, kind of like an extreme version of G.I. Joe.  The second group is a collection of monsters and creatures called the Gorgonites.  The Commando Elite, led by Major Chip Hazard (voice of Tommy Lee Jones), are programmed to destroy the Gorgonites, led by the wise Archer (voice of Frank Langella), who are programmed to lose to the Commando Elite.

Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) is manning the counter of his father, Stuart’s (Kevin Dunn) old-fashioned toy store, The Inner Child, when he spots a shipment of Commando Elite and Gorgonite toys on a delivery truck.  He convinces the delivery driver to give him a case of each toy set, but he doesn’t know that once he opens the box, he’s also activated the toys, which are actually intelligent because of the military chips in them.  Then, the Commando Elite begin hunting Archer.  When Alan unknowingly takes Archer (who’s hiding in Alan’s bag) home with him, Chip Hazard and the rest of the Elite mark him for annihilation along with the Gorgonites.  Soon Alan’s neighbors, including a classmate to whom he’s attracted, Christy Fimple (Kirsten Dunst), are marked for death as collaborationists with the Gorgonites.  Now, Alan, Christy, both their families, and two developers from the toy manufacturer (Jay Mohr and David Cross) must not only defend themselves from the Commando Elite, they must also stop the toys for good.

The characters in Small Soldiers aren’t that well developed, but they’re more broad archetypes than caricatures.  Gregory Smith’s Alan is the outsider boy, one with a bit of a rebellious streak, and he’s more spirited and strong-willed than his slight build would suggest.  Kirsten Dunst’s Christy Fimple is the all-American girl-next-door who is much wiser and more open minded than her contemporaries.  They make a good screen couple, and Smith and Ms. Dunst act as if they’ve done this before.  Tommy Lee Jones’ voice over performance as Major Chip Hazard is surprisingly good and really sells the film.  His Hazard voice is a mixture of tongue-in-cheek humor, sarcasm, laid-back disdain, and menace.  The rest of the cast fits in well, but really don’t do much until the final act.

Small Soldiers was a moderate box office success.  The film is a bit old for the small children who would play with toys like the Commando Elite and Gorgonites, and would certainly not interest the older teens and twenty-something males who see war action/adventure films.  Still, it’s a good satire of the violent mentality that says we must hate, fight, kill, and destroy those who are supposed to be our enemies or those we were taught or programmed to believe deserve destruction.

The film really is fun (I’ve seen it twice.), and Joe Dante has the knack for never taking his films too seriously.  He can both make his point and make entertaining films with fantastical settings or creatures.  Dante fills Small Soldiers with references to other films that augment the tale he’s telling.  Like his other films, the aforementioned Gremlins and Piranha and The Howling, he takes the ridiculous and gives it humor and bite, and Small Soldiers surely is an edgy little comedy about a small war and the small-minded reasons for fighting it.

8 of 10

Updated: Sunday, July 21, 2013


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Houston Film Critics Choose "Argo" as 2012's Best

The Houston Film Critics Society named Argo is "Best Picture of 2012" and the film's director, Ben Affleck, as the "Best Director."  Once again, Prometheus received a "worse picture" notice.  I think the dislike and, quite frankly, hatred has to do with it not being the Alien (1979) movie/prequel some people thought it should be.

The Houston Film Critics Society was founded in 2007. It is a not-for-profit organization of 26 print, broadcast and Internet film critics based in the Greater Metropolitan Houston area.

Houston Film Critics Society 2012 nominees and winners (in bold):

Best Picture:
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Cloud Atlas"
"Django Unchained"
"The Master"
"Les Miserables"
"Moonrise Kingdom"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Director:
Ben Affleck, "Argo" WINNER
Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Tom Hooper, "Les Miserables"
Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln" WINNER
John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Denzel Washington, "Flight"

Best Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook" WINNER
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

Best Supporting Actor:
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln" WINNER
Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike"

Best Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables" WINNER:
Amy Adams, "The Master"
Judi Dench, "Skyfall"
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"

Best Screenplay:
"Lincoln" WINNER
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Cinematography:
"Skyfall" WINNER
"Life of Pi"
"The Master"
"Les Miserables"

Best Original Score:
"Cloud Atlas" WINNER
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Life of Pi"
"The Master"

Best Foreign Language Film:
"Holy Motors" (France) WINNER
"Amour" (Austria)
"The Intouchables" (France)
"A Royal Affair" (Denmark)
"Rust and Bone" (France/Belgium)

Best Animated Film:
"Wreck-It Ralph" WINNER
"Rise of the Guardians"

Worst Film of 2012:
"That’s My Boy" WINNER
"Anna Karenina"
"The Three Stooges"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boston Online Critics Choose "Zero Dark Thirty"

The Boston Online Film Critics Association (BOFCA) named Zero Dark Thirty as the "Best Picture of 2012" and named the film's director, Kathryn Bigelow, as "Best Director."

BOFCA was founded in May 2012. According to the group, BOFCA fosters a community of web-based film critics and provides them with a supportive group of colleagues and a professional platform for their voices to be heard. They collect and link to their reviews every week at a website that also features original content by members, including filmmaker interviews and spotlights on Boston’s vital repertory film scene.

By widening professional membership to writers working in new media, BOFCA aims to encourage more diverse opinions in the field. The Boston Online Film Critics Association has gathered together critics writing for publications that collectively receive over 15 million impressions/page views per month. BOFCA is present on social media year-round with members’ film articles and essays.

Readers interested in how final decisions were made during the 2012 balloting can see the membership’s individual ballots at

Full list of 2012 BOFCA winners:


Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN

Jessica Chastain, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN


Tony Kushner, LINCOLN

OSLO, AUGUST 31ST (from Norway)



Roger Deakins, SKYFALL

William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Jonny Greenwood, THE MASTER


The Ten Best Films of the Year:










Monday, January 28, 2013

"Argo" Express Makes Stop at 2013 SAG Awards

At the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Ben Affleck's film, Argo, won "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture," which is essentially SAG's 'best picture" award.

The SAG Awards and the Oscars don't match up exactly, especially in the "Best Picture" race. It's anybody's guess on the acting categories, but the winners in the theatrical categories last night probably are the odds-on favorites to win the Oscars in their respecitve categories. I still think Jessica Chastain will win best actress instead of Jennifer Lawrence, though. I think Christoph Waltz could also win best supporting actor instead of Tommy Lee Jones.

The 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® were simulcast live nationally on TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 27, 2013 from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.



Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln - "LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens - “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine - “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: ARGO (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Awarded Cast:
BEN AFFLECK / Tony Mendez
ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel
KERRY BISHÉ / Kathy Stafford
KYLE CHANDLER / Hamilton Jordan
CLEA DuVALL / Cora Lijek
JOHN GOODMAN / John Chambers
SCOOT McNAIRY / Joe Stafford


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
KEVIN COSTNER / “Devil Anse” Hatfield - “HATFIELDS & McCOYS” (History)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison - “HOMELAND” (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - “30 ROCK” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - “30 ROCK” (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: DOWNTON ABBEY (PBS)
Awarded Cast:
HUGH BONNEVILLE / Robert, Earl of Grantham
ZOE BOYLE / Lavinia Swire
LAURA CARMICHAEL / Lady Edith Crawley
JIM CARTER / Mr. Carson
MICHELLE DOCKERY / Lady Mary Crawley
IAIN GLEN / Sir Richard Carlisle
ALLEN LEECH / Tom Branson
ELIZABETH McGOVERN / Cora, Countess of Grantham
LESLEY NICOL / Mrs. Patmore
DAVID ROBB / Dr. Clarkson
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
DAN STEVENS / Matthew Crawley
PENELOPE WILTON / Isobel Crawley

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
Awarded cast:
AUBREY ANDERSON-EMMONS / Lily Tucker-Pritchett
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell Pritchett
NOLAN GOULD / Luke Dunphy
SARAH HYLAND / Haley Dunphy
ED O’NEILL / Jay Pritchett
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny Delgado
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
ARIEL WINTER / Alex Dunphy


Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:
SKYFALL (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series:


Screen Actors Guild 49th Annual Life Achievement Award: DICK VAN DYKE

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Indiana Film Critics Name "Safety Not Guaranteed" 2012's Best Film

The Indiana Film Journalist Association (IFJA) named Safety Not Guaranteed, an indie comedy-drama inspired by a joke classified ad in Backwoods Home Magazine, as the "Best Film of 2012."  Quentin Tarantino was named "Best Director" for Django Unchained.

The IFJA is a film critics’ organization only formed in recent years. It seeks to promote film criticism in the state of Indiana and also gives out its annual awards in December.

The full list of 2012 Indiana Film Journalist Association Awards:

Best Film
"Safety Not Guaranteed"
(Runner-up: "Beasts of the Southern Wild")

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"
(Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty")

Best Actor (TIE):
Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
(Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook")

Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
(Runner-up: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained")

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
(Runner-up: Helen Hunt, "The Sessions")

Best Adapted Screenplay
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
(Runner-up: "Silver Linings Playbook")

Best Original Screenplay
"Safety Not Guaranteed"
(Runner-up: "Django Unchained")

Best Musical Score
(Runner-up: "Life of Pi")

Best Animated Feature
"Rise of the Guardians"
(Runner-up: "ParaNorman")

Best Foreign Language Film
"The Raid: Redemption" (Indonesia)
(Runner-up: "Amour" – from Austria)

Best Documentary
"Searching for Sugar Man"
(Runner-up: "Room 237")

Original Vision Award
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
(Runner-up: "Django Unchained")

The Hoosier Award
Jon Vickers, Founding Director of Indiana University Cinema

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Name "Lincoln" Best of 2012

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association named Steven Spielberg's Lincoln as the "Best Picture of 2012."  At the time of this announcement (mid-December 2012), this was the first critics' group to name Lincoln as the best film of the year.  However, the group chose Kathryn Bigelow as "Best Director" for her work on Zero Dark Thirty.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association is also known as the DFW Film Critics Association. The group describes itself as a not-for-profit, unincorporated voluntary organization of print, broadcast and internet film critics based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and greater North Texas who meet its membership criteria. The DFW Film Critics Association currently consists of 29 broadcast, print, and online journalists from throughout North Texas.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association 19th Annual Critics’ Poll:

Best Picture
1. "Lincoln"
2. "Argo"
3. "Zero Dark Thirty"
4. "Life of Pi"
5. "Les Misérables"
6. "Moonrise Kingdom"
7. "Silver Linings Playbook"
8. "Skyfall"
9. "The Master"
10. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Best Director
1. Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
3. Ben Affleck, "Argo"
4. Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
5. Wes Anderson, "Moonrise Kingdom"

Best Actor
1. Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
2. Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
3. John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
4. Hugh Jackman, "Les Misérables"
5. Denzel Washington, "Flight"

Best Actress
1. Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
3. Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
4. Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
5. Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

Best Supporting Actor
1. Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
3. Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
4. Alan Arkin, "Argo"
5. Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"

Best Supporting Actress
1. Sally Field, "Lincoln"
2. Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
3. Amy Adams, "The Master"
4. Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
5. Ann Dowd, "Compliance"

Best Screenplay
1. "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. "Django Unchained"

Best Cinematography
1. "Life of Pi"
2. "Skyfall"

Best Animated Film
1. "ParaNorman"
2. "Frankenweenie"
3. "The Pirates! Band of Misfits"

Best Foreign Language Film
1. "Amour" (Austria)
2. "A Royal Affair" (Denmark)
3. "The Intouchables" (France)
4. "Holy Motors" (France)
5. "The Kid with a Bike" (Belgium, France, Italy)

Best Documentary
1. "Searching for Sugar Man"
2. "Bully"
3. "How to Survive a Plague"
4. "West of Memphis"
5. "The Invisible War"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominations: "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

Alan Arkin for Argo

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained   *Of note is that all five nominees in this category have previously won Oscars, including four of whom have won in this category.  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nevada Film Critics Choose "Argo" as 2012's Best Film

The Nevada Film Critics Society (NFCS) is apparently a society of film critics who reside in Nevada and produce film reviews for print, broadcast, radio, and online.

The Nevada Film Critics Society's 2012 Awards for Achievement in Film:

Best Film - Argo

Best Actor - John Hawkes (The Sessions)

Best Actress - TIE - Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Supporting Actor - Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress - Sally Field (Lincoln)

Best Youth Performance - Tom Holland (The Impossible)

Best Director - TIE - Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Ensemble Cast - Lincoln

Best Animated Movie - Frankenweenie

Best Production Design - Les Miserables

Best Cinematography - Life Of Pi

Best Visual Effects - Life Of Pi

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NY Online Critics Anoint "Zero Dark Thirty" Best of 2012

The New York Film Critics Online is a group of Internet film critics based in New York City that meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

A complete list of 2012 honorees follows:

Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Best Debut Director: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Best Ensemble Cast: Argo

Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables

Best Cinematography: Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda

Best Screenplay: Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

Best Use of Music: Django Unchained – Mary Ramos

Breakthrough Performance: Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Animated Feature: Chico and Rita

Best Documentary: The Central Park Five

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour (Austria)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Streep, Jones Give "Hope Springs" Some Bounce

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 99 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hopes Springs (2012)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality
DIRECTOR: David Frankel
WRITER: Vanessa Taylor
PRODUCERS: Todd Black and Guymon Casady
EDITORS: Matt Maddox and Steven Weisberg
COMPOSER: Theodore Shapiro
Golden Globe nominee


Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Ben Rappaport, Marin Ireland, Patch Darragh, Brett Rice, Elisabeth Shue, and Mimi Rogers

Hope Springs is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama from director David Frankel. The film focuses on a married couple in therapy.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold Soames (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for thirty-one years. Kay believes that they are in need of help to put the spark back in their marriage. She enrolls them in an intense, week-long counseling session with Dr. Bernard Feld (Steve Carell). The couple travels to a coastal resort town in Maine where Feld’s Center for Intensive Couples Counseling is located. But Arnold isn’t cooperative, and Kay learns that the couple’s problems aren’t necessarily one-sided.

Hope Springs is interesting simply because it is a romance about old people will to talk about their lusts and sexual fantasies, or at least struggle with the implications of denying them. Heck, any movie in which Tommy Lee Jones plays a character who admits how much he wants oral sex from his wife is worth watching. Seriously, folks: there is some fine acting here. Streep and Jones create a couple in a deep rut so convincingly that I found myself feeling really sorry for them. Without being explicit, both actors construct sex scenes that are as raw and intimate as they are clumsy and forlorn. Yeah, I was invested in the Soames’ working out their marital issues.

Unfortunately, Steve Carell is reduced to being basically a talking head, although I strangely found him believable as a marriage counselor or therapist. His character always felt restrained, as if Carell was fighting to break free of some invisible bonds forced on him by the narrative. For what little he does, any good actor without Carell’s fame could have delivered the same performance Carell does.

Also, this film has a terrible soundtrack; it almost ruins the movie.

Still, I recommend this film to fans of Streep and Jones. Honestly, you won’t find acting this good, in which both characters have this level of depth, in many romance films. Hope springs that there are more movies like Hope Springs... but with a better soundtrack.

6 of 10

2013 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Meryl Streep)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Google Play and Steven Spielberg Host "Lincoln" Sept. 13th

You’re Invited to a Google Play Hosted Hangout with Director Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the World Premiere of the “Lincoln” Trailer on September 13th

First-Time-Ever Event Will Be Broadcast Live in Times Square

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DreamWorks Pictures and Google Play announced today that they will debut the theatrical trailer for “Lincoln” during a Google+ Hangout on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at 4 p.m. PT.

The event will also feature a live conversation with Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who portrays Robert Todd Lincoln in the highly anticipated film slated for release in November.

The “Lincoln” trailer will be the first film trailer to launch during a Google+ Hangout, which allows people to connect face-to-face-to-face via group video chat. In another first, the Hangout will also be broadcast live on the ABC SuperSign in the heart of New York City’s Times Square.

The Hangout is being hosted by Google Play, which boasts the world’s largest collection of ebooks and is home to millions of songs, thousands of movies and TV shows, and a growing selection of magazines. Not to mention over 600,000 apps and games.

Fans interested in participating are asked to upload a short video to their own YouTube channel with the #LincolnHangout tag explaining who they are, why they are interested in “Lincoln” and what they would like to ask Spielberg and Gordon-Levitt about the film.

To learn more about the submission process and about how to tune in to this live Hangout, visit

Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln” is produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, based in part on the book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox film, in association with Participant Media, releases in U.S. theaters exclusive on November 9, 2012, with expansion on November 16, 2012.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Will Smith Carries Pleasant "Men in Black 3"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 43 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Men in Black 3 (2012)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITER: Etan Cohen (based upon the comic book by Lowell Cunningham)
PRODUCERS: Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes
EDITORS: Wayne Wahrman and Don Zimmerman
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman


Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mike Colter, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Chernus, Bill Hader, Rick Baker, and Alice Eve

Men in Black 3 is a 2012 3D science fiction comedy. It is also the second sequel to the 1997 film, Men in Black. The Men in Black film series is based upon the comic book, The Men in Black, created by Lowell Cunningham. Steven Spielberg is one of the film’s executive producers, a title he held for the first two films. In this new film, the Men in Black agency (MiB) must use time travel to stop an alien from changing history.

Men in Black 3 kicks off with the alien criminal, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), making a daring prison break. Boris has a past with MiB Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), and he hatches a plot to both remove K and to make an alien invasion of Earth possible. K’s partner, Agent J (Will Smith), travels back in time to 1969, where he meets a young Agent K (Josh Brolin). Together, they race to stop Boris and to save themselves, MiB, and Earth.

The most accurate thing that I can say about Men in Black 3 is that it is pleasantly entertaining. Honestly, I really didn’t expect more than that. The story is sentimental, and seeks to make the connection between Agents J and K a more personal and deeper relationship than it was in the previous films. That’s nice, but the screenplay inadvertently creates loose ends that it ties up; thus, it essentially makes another film starring these characters unnecessary or at least forces a possible fourth film to approach J and K from a different point of view (hopefully, the latter).

There are a number of cameos (Will Arnett, Tim Burton, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, etc.) in this film that are nice, if you can catch them. Jemaine Clement is marvelous as Boris. Josh Brolin’s turn as the 29-year-old Agent K is both funny and poignant (and saves the time travel segment of this story). Conversely, Tommy Lee Jones looks like a tired, old man; never has the age difference between Will Smith and Jones been more pronounced than in this third MiB movie.

As is usual with these Men in Black movies, Will Smith dominates. Men in Black 3 needs his charm and boundless energy. I strenuously disagree with the reviews that describe this as the best Men in Black movie, because the first is still the best. Like Men in Black II, this third film has enough oddball sci-fi elements and twists to keep the entire thing Men in Black kosher. Men in Black 3 won’t make you believe that a fourth film is necessary, but I’ll take more, as long as Will Smith comes back.

6 of 10

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Men in Black 3" Arrives in Theatres and IMAX May 25th

Columbia Pictures' Men In Black 3 Blasts Into IMAX® Theatres Friday

LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX), and Columbia Pictures today announced that the action comedy Men in Black 3 will be released in the immersive IMAX® format in 474 theatres worldwide beginning Friday, May 25, simultaneous with the film's North American wide release. Domestically, the film will be released in 278 theatres and in 196 theatres internationally. Additional playdates will be added as pending bookings are confirmed. Men in Black 3 is the first in the franchise to be released in IMAX.

The IMAX release of Men in Black 3 will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of An IMAX 3D Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

About Men in Black 3
In Men in Black 3, Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back... in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K's life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him - secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency and the future of humankind. Barry Sonnenfeld directs the film. The film's screenplay is written by Etan Cohen, based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham. Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produce, and Steven Spielberg and G. Mac Brown are the executive producers.

Men in Black 3 has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content.

First "Men in Black" Still Fresh and Original

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 19 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Men in Black (1997)
Running time: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for language and sci-fi violence
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITER: Ed Solomon, from a screenstory by Ed Solomon (based upon a comic book by Lowell Cunningham)
PRODUCERS: Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Peterman (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Jim Miller
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman
Academy Award winner


Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn, and Tony Shalhoub

The subject of this movie review is Men in Black, the 1997 science fiction comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, it focuses on a secret organization that monitors and polices the alien population that secretly lives on Earth. Steven Spielberg is the executive producer of Men in Black, which is based on the comic book created by Lowell Cunningham) as his production company, Amblin Entertainment, is one of the studios that produced the film.

I don’t watch many movies twice; I watch even fewer thrice. Movies that earn multiple viewings really have to entertain me, and much to my surprise, Men in Black is one of those movies. It is certainly one of the few examples of science fiction and comedy blended to make a great film. From the opening strains of Danny Elfman’s score over the credits, I realized that I was in for something special, something that combined some of my favorite forms of entertainment: B movies, EC Comics, weird and pseudo science fiction, alien conspiracies, monsters, wry comedy and black humor.

In the world of this movie, a secret organization, the Men in Black (who identify themselves to civilians as INS agents) monitor and regulate the presence of alien visitors and other world immigrants on earth. When his partner “retires,” Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) recruits a new partner, James Edwards (Will Smith), a brash young cop who showed excellent skill and much courage in the pursuit of an alien. After Edwards agrees to join, he must give up his identity; MiB literally erases everything that proved Edwards existed, and Edwards becomes Agent J.

Their first mission together is to find a dangerous alien “bug,” Edgar (Vincent D’ Onofrio) who seeks to possess a mysterious universe that is hidden somewhere in Manhattan, and, to keep him from getting it, a powerful race of aliens is ready to destroy the earth.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld was the perfect, though not the first, choice for this film. A former cinematographer (Raising Arizona, Misery), Sonnenfeld’s films always look gorgeous, and here he is abetted by MiB’s director of photography Don Peterman, who worked with Sonnenfeld on Addams Family Values and Get Shorty. Peterman captures the look and feel of low budget sci-fi film from the 1940’s and 50’s and the sparse look of such cult classics and The Brother from Another Planet and Buckaroo Banzai, while giving film a glossy, pretty look. Between director and photographer, they manage to make the film look like it belongs in the genres to which it aspires; this makes for a convincing and atmospheric film that feels right. At times, it is a sci-fi adventure, a detective story, a monster movie, and a horror film, but it never looks like an expensive, over produced Hollywood film, which it is.

The performances are excellent. Jones as Agent K is the consummate old veteran, and Linda Fiorentino as the morgue minder Dr. Laurel Weaver brings a wry and cynical sense of humor to the film. However, the actor who carries this film and sells it both as a wacky sci-fi film and as a funny movie is Will Smith.

Prejudiced science fiction and comic book fans often given short shrift to African American actors in genre films. The adventurous pasts and mysterious futures of sci-fi are often bereft of people of color, especially people of brown and darker hues. For years, racist fans blamed Richard Pryor for the poor quality of Superman III, when he was actually the film’s saving grace. In fact, when rumors placed Eddie Murphy in Star Trek IV, fans went into paroxysms of fear because black comedians can only ruin sci-fi films. “Look at Pryor in Superman III,” they cried through their white hoods. Of course, Star Trek films managed to suck eggs all on their own without a Negro jokester in sight.

Smith makes Men in Black. He’s our point of view. His reactions to his strange new environment sell the fantastical aspects of MiB as being actually both fantastic and weird. He’s the every man, albeit sexier and more personable than most, through which we follow the story. Despite the position of the actors’ names on the marquee, he’s the star and the lead. If you haven’t seen this wonderful and funny film, do so immediately.

8 of 10

1998 Academy Awards: 1 win: “Best Makeup” (Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson); 2 nominations: “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Bo Welch-art director and Cheryl Carasik-set decorator), and “Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score” (Danny Elfman)

1998 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Special Effects” (Eric Brevig, Rick Baker, Rob Coleman, and Peter Chesney)

1998 Golden Globes, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical”

Review: Men in Black II

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 20 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Men in Black II (2002)
Running time: 88 minutes (1 hour, 28 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and some provocative humor
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITER: Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro, from a story by Robert Gordon (based upon the comic book by Lowell Cunningham)
PRODUCERS: Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Greg Gardiner (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Richard Pearson and Steven Weisberg
COMPOSER: Danny Elfman


Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, and Patrick Warburton

The subject of this movie review is Men in Black II, the 2002 science fiction comedy that is a sequel to the 1997 film, Men in Black. Both movies are based upon the comic book, Men in Black, created by Lowell Cunningham. As he was with the first film, Steven Spielberg is also the executive producer.

It was a long time in coming, and some thought it would be too expensive to make because of star salaries and production company profit participation, but Men in Black II finally arrived. Although not as fresh as the first film, MiBII is somewhat close to the original in that it is still imaginative and wacky, and Will Smith is still very funny.

When Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a villain from MiB’s past threatens the planet, Agent J (Will Smith) has to convince former agent and his mentor Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) to return to the agency. Complicating matters is the fact that Agent K is having a difficult time regaining his memory of his time as an MiB agent, and his memory is crucial to defeating Serleena. Meanwhile, Agent J has fallen for Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), an attractive witness to a murder committed by Serleena.

One of the many things that I like about the original film was the cool opening scene, an homage to classic sci-fi B-movies. This film does something similar, but with a nod to those loopy, paranormal, conspiracy theory documentaries. The actors are all game, and with the help of some interesting cameos (including one by Michael Jackson) and some nice small roles, the film, for the most part, manages to keep us interested in what’s going to show up next on the screen. It’s a way of playing it safe, and keeping matters close to what audiences remember from the first film. Director Barry Sonnenfeld and his writers bring back all the atmospherics of the first, but add some sentimental and romantic elements. The romance actually works in a way of tying together the pasts of Agents J and K and also tightens the bond between the characters.

What this film does lack that the first one had is the intensity of the danger imposed by a rogue alien. While I found Serleena to be a viable threat as a villain, I thought that she lacked the kick of the Bug from the first film. The agents also spend a lot of time going from one location to another and each one just happens to be either the home of another alien or a secret storage bin for MiB paraphernalia and weaponry. I know that the filmmakers want to play up the idea that you never know what’s behind the façade, but each trip to another building just slows the film. The film never really kicks into high gear until its final fifteen minutes.

Still, it’s funny, and Will Smith carries the show, even through some dry moments. After the second time around, we can see that MiB is really the story of Agent J’s adventures in the organization and that Smith is very likely crucial to the success of any more Men in Black sequels. Although Men in Black II plays it rather safe, it is a pretty entertaining successor to an exceptional movie.

6 of 10

2003 Razzie Awards: 1 nomination: “Worst Supporting Actress” (Lara Flynn Boyle)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" is a Good Neo-Western (Happy B'day, Tommy Lee Jones)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 162 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Running time: 121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – R for language, violence, and sexuality
DIRECTOR: Tommy Lee Jones
WRITER: Guillermo Arriaga
PRODUCERS: Luc Besson, Michael Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam
EDITOR: Roberto Silvi

DRAMA with elements of comedy and western

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Julio Cesar Cedillo, January Jones, Dwight Yoakum, Melissa Leo, and Levon Helm

Ranch hand Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) found a treasured friend in an illegal (undocumented) Mexican worker, Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cesar Cedillo), who becomes a cowboy at the ranch Peter manages. However, a hot headed and ruthless border patrol officer, Mike Norton (Barry Pepper, who exquisitely channels bad vibes to play Norton), kills Melquiades and buries him in an unmarked grave to hide his crime or error (depends on how you look at it). When Pete learns of Melquiades’ death, he kidnaps Mike and has him dig the body out of the pauper’s grave in which it was buried. Then, Pete drags Mike and Melquiades’ corpse on a harrowing journey by horseback across the border to Mexico in order to bury Melquiades in his hometown.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada has all the trappings of a western and the narrative is ripe with scenes of black humor. Like a western, it deals with revenge and justice, and the black comedy comes through the macabre situations involving Estrada’s increasingly gruesome corpse (not to mention a drolly humorous love/sex triangle). Still, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is a story of friendship and obligation. As a famous talk show host recently said of her close relationship with a female friend, perhaps, we don’t have a term to describe the familiarity and understanding that defines the bond between Pete Perkins and Melquiades Estrada. Tommy Lee Jones unadorned and simple, yet masterful direction helps us to understand that a friendship means so much that a man would risk his standing and his professional life to do right by what’s left of his friend on this earth.

Jones, who seems to wear the western well – even quasi ones such as this, also deals with the themes of alienation and the search for meaning in life and love, and in this case the love between two men, as well as between women and men. In his film, souls seem as sparse as much of the landscape that surrounds them. Jones’ characters grasp at connectivity, and Jones uses the subtleties to enrich the film. He shows that even the most lonesome souls find partnerships – even for a little while. It makes The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada a work that eagerly reflects humanity in all its unattractiveness and its most desperately hopeful light.

7 of 10

2005 Cannes Film Festival: 2 wins: “Best Actor” (Tommy Lee Jones) and “Best Screenplay” (Guillermo Arriaga); 1 nominations for the Palme d'Or (Tommy Lee Jones)

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Saturday, July 23, 2011

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 of 10

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Nate and Hayes" Sailed Familiar Tides

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 185 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Nate and Hayes (1983)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 33 minutes)
DIRECTOR: Ferdinand Fairfax
WRITERS: John Hughes and David Odell; from a screen story by Lloyd Phillips and David Odell; from a story by Lloyd Phillips
PRODUCERS: Rob Whitehouse and Lloyd Phillips
EDITOR: John Shirley


Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Michael O’Keefe, Jenny Seagrove, Max Phipps, Grant Tilly, Peter Rowley, Reg Ruka, Bruce Allpress, and David Letch

Soon-to-be-wed missionaries, Nathaniel “Nate” Williamson (Michael O’Keefe) and Sophie (Jenny Seagrove), take passage to their new home aboard The Rona, the ship helmed by the infamous buccaneer, Captain Bully Hayes (Tommy Lee Jones). Sophie takes a liking to Capt. Hayes, so Nate is glad to be rid of him when they arrive at the island where Nate’s aunt and uncle are missionaries.

Shortly after Hayes drops them off, however, the villainous Ben Pease (Max Phipps), a slaver, attacks the island and spirits away Sophie. Barely surviving the attack, Nate reluctantly joins forces with Hayes and his motley crew to track Pease and recover Sophie. Nate and Hayes’ quest takes them to the island of Ponape for a grand showdown with Pease and Count Von Rittenburg (Grant Tilly), a German officer in league with Pease. Oh, there’s an island full of natives standing between Nate and Hayes rescuing Sophie.

A young man and his bride-to-be find obstacles on their road to marriage, and most of them are on the high seas. Then, they meet a scruffy pirate who helps them… If this seems like a description of Walt Disney’s highly-successful Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, that’d be only half right. 20 years before Pirates, there was Nate and Hayes, and while Nate and Hayes didn’t have Pirates’ big budget, supernatural shenanigans, N&H does have PotC’s comedic chops and is also a fine, family-safe pirate movie. A fun action flick, it’s darn good entertainment, though not a great pirate movie. There isn’t great acting, but the cast gives performances that would outshine just about any made-for-TV adventure on the high seas. I enjoyed seeing Nate and Hayes today as much as I did all those years ago in a darkened, small town movie theatre.

6 of 10

Friday, August 25, 2006