Category: entertainment


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It takes a lot to get me to have any interest in any television program that I haven’t been a long time fan. -But I was stuck in a car and indluging in my obession with NPR.  There was a very interesting interview with creator Ryan Murphy, who is best know for his series Nip Tuck. 

I noticed the show’s premiere episode was available on Hulu. It seemed like fate. Coming in expecting very little, I am sorry to say overall I was disappointed. The problem I have with the show is a fairly common: the characters are blantant stereotypes of their subculture.  I can’t really blame the series for that because nearly every show does that. But none of the characters seemed really interesting enough to continue following.

The two lead students Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) and Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) have tremedous singing talent. I specify “singing” because the show flauters elsewhere. The acting was a little over the top which definitely should not phase those willing to stick around after American Idol.

I am willing to give it a second chance but part of me is wishing the show could be condensed into a ten minute preview of the casts’ singing, not that this world needs another American Idol. 

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Jason Segel is giving the Muppets a proper resurrection. The Muppets have been virtually ignored since bought by the Disney Company except some merchandising. Segel announced this week he has completed a script for the movie rumored for release in 2010. 

As a die-hard Muppet fan myself, Segel is not be my first choice to take the reigns of the discarded franschise but it could be worse. Segel has made a career being a loveable, quirky geek who doesn’t mind standing naked for a few laughs.  In addition to having some qualities that resemble charm, he seems to have a genuine love of puppets. He insisted that Judd Apatow include a scene from a play for puppets he had written entitled “Dracula’s Lament”.

The muppet movie will feature a recyled plot: think The Muppets take Manhattan meets Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. The old beloved Muppet theatre is under threat of destruction by an evil oil moonger. The focus will be on the traditional (aka pre Disney) characters like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Fozzie. 

As a lifelong devotee to all things Muppets and Jim Henson reltaed everything sound good right now but I have plenty of reason to worry. Rumors of a revival have been a long time coming. -But Disney and Segel are trying to rewrite 50+ year old characters for a generation that never grew up with them. Muppets also have had a series of made for TV/straight to DVD flops: Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa, Muppet Wizard of Oz, etc. 

Jason Segel_Sarah Marshall

Segel has to make up for a decade of bad desicions by the Disney Company. 

<- I do think if you had a way to tell Jim Henson Disney is putting this man in charge of the Muppets next movie he would spin in his grave.

It may be scary but I realize he is the Muppets best hope for a revival.

Nothing is off limits in Tropic Thunder: gays, mentally handicap, actors, blacks, etc. The movie has seen its fair share of disgruntled guests marching out. Most of the humor comes from pushing the buttons of the overtly “Politically Correct” crowd. Does this film go to far? Does it succeed because it realizes that things like black face aren’t funny in and of itself, but looking at characters who accept these things as the norm is humorous because it is so outrageous?

This film plays off some stereotypes that really haven’t been covered before like Downey’s portrayal of an insane method actor. I am in love with Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. He stole the stage as Kirk Lazarus, an extreme method actor, who changes his appearance to play African American Sgt. Osiris. He plays the part so straight it is a bit eerie.

Stiller and Downey’s characters stayed in the limelight. I am convinced that the other characters including Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel) deserved more screen time, their characters were the heart of the humor. While Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) had his moments the role had the same problem as his storyline, he was just an excuse for some crude humor and flatulence.

The major subplot of the movie revolves around Tugg Speedman (Stiller) trying to escape being typecast as the “action guy”. He is ready to prove himself as a real actor and get some recognition from the Academy. His first attempt at a serious role, Simple Jack, went too far. As Lazarus explains that you never go “full retard” on a movie.

The promotion site for the Simple Jack movie has been removed because advocate groups protested the film’s use of the word “retard”.

That being said there is one fake film from Tropic Thunder I would pay to see, Satan’s Alley. Go see the trailer.

One side note: Tom Cruise made a smart career movie; he was actually funny in a film. He played producer Les Grossman. -But he still has a long way to go before he convinces me, and many others that he is not bat *hit insane.

Superman didn’t make the cut this summer for a good reason. Right now superheroes all have something all in common, they are not perfect, not even close.

The summer box office started off being dominated by the womanizing, boozer and weapons distributor Tony Stark (the perfect role for Robert Downey Jr’s comeback). He was cruel and sarcastic but like most nerds I could sit around watching Mr. Downey fly around in that suit for hours.

The end of the Iron Man movie does have a special scene at the end of the credits. The versions on YouTube are horrible quality. I must warn you if you are not a fan of the comics it is best to go and save yourself those six minutes of credits. -To sum it up Marvel is trying something different, they are working on melding all their movies to fit into the Marvel universe a.k.a. a lot more superhero movies are in the works and they all will be interconnected. It should be interesting.

The Incredible Hulk promises to make up for the 2003 edition “Hulk”. I saw that version twice and lived to tell about but I promise it wasn’t pretty. I don’t wish that on my worse enemy. Ang Lee was scrapped and the franchise got a fresh start and a whole new cast. Edward Norton plays the emotionally unstable Eric Banner on the run from the military. I don’t want people to write off Hulk or Marvel because the past installment; I promise this one will repair some of those broken hearts and settle the queasy stomachs.

Shrek?

Hulk Smash

See the difference!? Trust me, it’s worth it!

Everyday I walk into the movies and Dark Knight is not in theaters it kills me a little bit inside. I keep telling myself that there is only a month to go but that day never will come soon enough.

This video clip will over excite movie nerds who have been (un)patiently awaiting for the moment of truth, the pinnacle of our movie viewing existence, The Dark Knight movie: The Two Face Teaser I know all the buzz surrounding this movie have been about the Joker and Heath Ledger’s last completed film. His role promises to be very twisted and brings Joker back to his roots as a homocide maniac as oppossed to well, a joke.

As an avid lover (and loser) of poker, viewing the trailer for 21 it seemed that the movie was produced with me in mind. I was willing to ignore while viewing that Kate Bosworth needs to eat a bagel or something. The fast paced blackjack tribute had its flaws but retained enough of the original story, a preview is available on freepress, to be entertaining.

The Boston Globe and Boston Magazine both outed the book and the movie for including bogus information. Publishers are now owning up to their original mistake of running it as nonfiction as more of the involved parties come out and confess the embellishments are way off their mark, and most scenes never occurred.

This movie has received some negative reviews because it replaced the smart and nerdy characters with beautiful people. I definitely see their point. There has to be some steps missing in the middle. I am not saying it is negative to think people with a 4.3 GPA and near perfect scores on the SAT can’t be attractive. I just can not ever imagine anyone picking on Kate Bosworth for being a geek.

When did Hollywood go from this:

To this:

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Horton Hears A Who can be considered an instant classic with superb performances from Jim Carey and Steve Carell. The movie has an uplifting message for kids and some subtle jokes to keep parents’ attention.

The Dr. Seuss adaptation holds true to the book. -And is by far the best conversion, horton_hears_a_who_.jpgbeating The Grinch and the appalling Cat in the Hat.

Since the beginning of kids movies, every one could be boiled down to a simplistic moral. Horton seems to focus on diversity, “A person is a person no matter how small”. It stressed the importance of honesty and the freedom to use your imagination. -No one here is complaining about the content of Horton.

It is probably not just a current phenomenon but many recent movies (Golden Compass and the extremely liberal Happy Feet) can cause parents to be up in arms about what their children view. It is impossible to say that media is the only moral defining agent for children but some cases show the effect can not be ignored.

For years Disney has been at the forefront. Are these movies merely teaching children the power of imagination, dreams and determination? -I am not simply talking about the supposed hidden innuendos. I have no intention to spread more fanatical fear but movies subtly instill messages about the role of women, race and culture.

It is hard to paint Disney or any other production company as the bad guy because movies are generally based on other fairy tales or books. Is it the responsibility of animators and companies like Disney to remove details that would seem offensive after deep (maybe too in depth) analysis?

It is hard to escape cultural commentary whether it is the uplifting messages from Dr. Seuss or another writer. Who has to act as the moral reviewer an individual, a critic or MPAA and their rating system?

Since there is no measure of how a film can affect a child how much moderation is needed? It varies, children can grow up watching slasher movies or be banned from Harry Potter and Golden Compass and they all can turn out alright.

Pit PonyEllen Page breaks free from the mainstream with the roles she choses. He role in Juno snagged her the nomination for a best actress Oscar for 2007.

Page has been acting since she was ten. She got her start in the Canadian television drama and movie “Pit Pony”, about the families of coal miners in the early nineteenth century. She told Barbara Walters that it was not her intention to be a big movie star but she happened to be “short have brown hair [she looked] like a poor kid from the turn of the century”.

Page made her American debut when she landed the role of Halley in the dark film, Hard Candy. The story pits a fourteen year old girl against pedophile Jeff played by Patrick Wilson. Page stated in and interview with IGN that fell quickly in love with the script, “I found it just incredibly engrossing and obviously original. And then on top of that to read a role written for a teenage girl with so much passion and intelligence, that was extremely refreshing”.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy had a lot of controversy surrounding it. The film showed the dark side of the Internet, presented Jeff (Wilson) as a somewhat charming predator who endures torture by Halley.

Ellen Page was one of three actresses to play teen Kitty Pryde in the X-Men trilogy. Pryde is a mutant capable of phasing through walls. The actresses playing pride changed for every film first, X1 had Sumela Kay and Katie Stuart was in X2. The role of Kitty was notKitty Pride really substantial to the plot until three. Kitty came close to breaking up the relationship between Rogue and boyfriend Iceman. She also played a pivotal role in protecting Leech from Juggernaut. Page was excited about the project abd described the role for About.com, “Kitty’s involved more and has a bit of a subplot with a certain other mutant and we’ll see. It’s all fun. I get to fight in the end.” There is no word whether Page will reprise this role in X-men Origins: Wolverine. Most likely not considering this film is set before Wolverine connects with the X-men. Kitty was probably still in diapers according to this time line.

Juno garnered Page a lot of media attention. She played the cynical and witty, Juno, a pregnant teen with plans to adopt her baby to yuppie suburbanites. The film won 37 awards including Best Original Screenplay and tallied 21 nominations.

Page has completed two projects since the release of Juno. Page filmed Smart People with actor Dennis Quad about a widowed professor who finds love and gets an unexpected visit from his brother. Smart People will be in theaters in early April. The Snow Angel follows the dramatic life of an unconventional woman, Hagar Shipley. The film is set to be released in May.

LookoutThe Bank Job, starring Jason  Statham, is based on the true story of a 1971 heist in London. The tag “based on a true story” should lead fans to be weary. Details can be changed to fit a filmmakers conceptions and fill in the blanks. I guess I will do the gracious thing and say if you plan on seeing the movie, I have included a bunch of spoilers.

The story of the “walkie talkie” robbers is actually pretty much on the money, at least according to one of an interview with on ex-gang member. The tunneling took three weeks. Digging was only done Friday through Monday morning to avoid complaints from the bank and restaurant next door. Reports distinguished about four or five males and one woman over the radio.

The robbery bared some connections to the Sherlock Holmes tale, “The Red Headed League“. The robbery took place near the legendary office of Holmes, on the corner of Baker Street and Marylebone Road. The robbers realized the connection and left the Jason Smessage, “Let Sherlock Holmes try to solve this” spray-painted on the inside of the vault.

A lot of the conversations between the robbers and the lookout were verbatim. Ham radio owner Robert Rowlands caught the messages while trying to contact a friend in Australia. The cops ignored it as a hoax but Rowlands managed to enlist the help of Scotland Yard. Authorities taped and kept transcripts of some of the conversations. They were unable to trace the robbers before they went off the air.

The plot of the movie centers around the idea that this entire robbery was setup by the British government. That detail according to my research this claim has no proof. The interview from The Mirror with the unidentified gang member seems go against this. It was a bunch of guys in this for jewels and cash.

The robber admitted they found some incriminating photos, though he could not discuss who was in them, or confirm if any were of Princess Margaret. The robbers also Princess Margaretstumbled upon some child pornography, disgusted, they left the pictures for the authorities to trace back to the owners.

I looked into the back story of Princess Margaret because although I could guess part of it, I didn’t know any details. She was Queen Elizabeth’s sister and third in line for the throne. She lived extravagantly and there were rumors about her partying nature. Margaret wanted to originally marry Captain Peter Townsend, a previously divorced man. This was a huge scandal at the time, though it may seem insignificant by today’s standards.

She married and divorced Antony Armstong-Jones. She was later connected with Roddy Llewellyn, she was 17 years his senior. The pair met at her villa in the Caribbean where the scandalous pictures mentioned in the movie were supposedly taken.

Michael XThe pictures were believed to be held in the safe deposit box of radical Michael X. Michael X, or Abdul Malik, was hung for the murder of Gale Ann Benson. The film portrayed Gale as a spy which was not true. Malik’s follower, Edward Chadee reported, “[Gale was] causing Hakim some mental strain, so we have to get rid of her.” They dug Gale a grave and accomplice Marvin Dean, stabbed her.

While the story is close enough to reality it is interesting to take note of the actual history. In the end the robbers did not get away. Four men were arrested though their sentences and names were never released to the media.

I think it is important for audiences to take films as entertainment and learn history through research. I have been doing fact checking on movies since I was a kid watching Pocahontas.

George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead expanded it’s release finally making it into a select few local theaters. Romero has the zombie thing down, which he started back in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. Although it may appear to be merely a good horror movie each installment reflects some type of social commentary.NotLD

While it may seen subtle to the casual viewer Romero is not shy about getting his political views mixed up in these films.

  • Night of the Living Dead: A group of people congregate in a small farm house for protection from the walking undead. -Just a bit of trivia this movie never stated the monsters were actually “zombies”. The film was the first one not to rely on a voodoo curse as the cause. Apparently the first script did not include an explanation but writers added in a line about, “a space probe returning from its exploration of the planet Venus, and it mysteriously exploded before entering the atmosphere.” The film showed the horrors of the Vietnam War and touched on racism.
  • Dawn of the Dead: This film made malls the go to place in case of the apocalypse. Critics argue the film is centered around the idea of consumerism and capitalism.DotD I assert that this was the first of the Romero movie to show women in a more active role. I can’t knock Night because most of the characters, besides Peter (Ken Foree), were whinny jerks. There was no real explanation for the “infestation” other than the tagline, “when there’s no more room in hell, the dead walk the earth”.
  • Day of the Dead: It deals with a zombie assault on a military establishment, satirizing the military mindset in the process. Critic After Dark said the this film was Romero’s “philosophical statements on the human condition, rendered in extremist–soldiers vs. scientists, men vs. women, pacifists vs. idealists, all cooped up in a hellhole of a pressure-cooker set to ‘apocalypse.'”
  • Land of the Dead: The world is infested with zombies and people fortify themselves in small cities where zombies become the least of their problems. After filming Day of the Dead Romero took a break from the zombie genre to create other films which brought him no commercial success, he returned with this installment. Journalist Mark Harris wrote, DiaryotD“Romero, seemingly saved up a decade’s worth of social criticism, unleashed a flurry of commentary on terrorism, the Iraq War, big business, the distribution of wealth and man’s inhumanity towards man”.
  • Diary of the Dead: This is the newest installment. The acting is definitely not at the top of the game (even for a horror movie). The movie follows a group of film students trying to make their way home. It reflects views on the importance of the media. In this case the major broadcasters lied to the public, making citizen journalism (videos, blogs, etc.) essential.

Imdb already has reported there will be another sequel to the Dead Series.

In a related note, fans of Max Brook’s “World War Z” can look forward to a movie version produced by Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company. No official date is set though.

The details of these two actors’ careers and death are completely different (not to mention 15 years apart) but there are some eerie similarities.

Brandon Lee died from an accident with a gun on the set of his final film, The Crow. Brandon was the son of martial arts actor Bruce Lee. His death was supposedly linked to a family curse conceived because his father also died young. Bruce Lee died at the age of 32 while filming Game of Death. Circumstances around Brandon’s death are sketchy at best, a “dummy” bullet lost its tip and hit him in th abdomen. Brandon was rushed to the medical center in Wilmington but doctors could not help him.

There is still some mystery surrounding the death of Heath Ledger, star of Brokeback Mountain. Reports say that numerous drugs were found around the actor’s bed where he was found. Enews wrote, “It is still a mystery for them who gave the two powerful painkillers Oxycontin and Vicodin to Ledger. The mix of the sleeping-pills and the anti-anxiety drugs, even though found in a small quantity in his system, were lethal for the actor.”

The similarities are scarce but I felt the need to make this comparison based on a few random facts. They were both 28 years old when they passed away. They both died in tragic and somewhat shady accidents. In their last completed films they both play major comic book characters.

I think what really sets this tangent is the physical similarities and makeup of their characters. All that setup for this, sorry.

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