Monday, September 19, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 45


NEW IN THEATERS

  • Abduction
  • Archie's Final Project*
  • Dolphin Tale / 100%
  • The Double*
  • Killer Elite / 50%
  • Machine Gun Preacher / 83%
  • Money Ball / 89%
  • Puncture*
* = limited release

NEW IN STORES

  • Bride Flight / 73%
  • Brides Maids / 90%
  • Le Beau Serge CC / 100%
  • Les Cousins CC / 100%
  • The Strange Case of Angelica / 83%
  • Today's Special / 81%
  • We are the Night / 60%
CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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TRAILER ROUND-UP




Chris Evans (AKA Captain America) is still buff in the trailer for "Puncture." Based on the true story of a drug-addict lawyer who takes on a case concerning a nurse who was contaminated by a needle ont the job. The synopsis is lengthy and the film purports to be a drama, but looks much more like a thriller in the trailer. It is a novel concept that looks rather well done. The film hits select theaters this weekend, September 23rd.


If Ray Liotta had never joined the mob he may have been able to end up like the father he plays in "Snowmen." The trailer is a hodgepodge of clips from the film and the praise it was gathering from kid and adult alike from various film festival carpets, complete with frequent "blizzard" transitions. It is a "family film" that follows three boys and their attempt to set a world record. I can testify of the accuracy of such a desire. When I first learned of Guiness, I too felt the need to get myself in the book someday. Is it spoiling too much if I tell you I believe the record on display herein is building the most snowmen? Ray Liotta and Christoper Lloyd co-star in the film that's bound to warm your heart this snowy season. Yeah, that's sappy, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone actually says that and they use it in a TV spot. Oh, and for the record, I don't accept "Family" as a genre. The film rolls into theaters on October 21st.


"We Bought a Zoo" is the latest film from writer/director Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maquire" and "Almost Famous"). Based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, who is played by the capable Matt Damon, this is the tale of a single father who moves with his two young children to a zoo. Thomas Haden Church (who was wonderful in the wildly underrated dramatic thriller "Don McKay") plays Benjamin's friend. Scarlett Johansson, the obvious love interest for Mr. Mee, doesn't do much more than smile in this trailer, but to be fair, it is a very lovely smile. Most refreshing is that none of these animals of the computer-generated persuasion. Crowe and crew are keeping it real and I applaud the choice. This looks to be a great family film that you can enjoy in theaters this holiday season starting on December 23rd. (Fun fact: Last Christmastime in theaters Matt Damon played a Texas ranger in the Coen Brothers superb re-telling of "True Grit.) If anyone ever tells you, "We bought a zoo." I suppose you can tell them, "You win."


Danfung Dennis is a photojournalist and filmmaker, emphasis on the latter folks. The visuals you see in the trailer for "Hell and Back Again" are beautiful cinematic. It is surprising that this is a documentary film. If ever you wanted a riveting example of cinema verite (also known as "direct cinema"), I believe this is it. We see scenes from the battlefield in Afghanistan and then follow one Sergeant Nathan Harris back to his hometown in North Carolina. To say he is struggling with adapting back to home life is an understatement. He took a bullet across seas, but he certainly carries more than physical trauma. I cannot help but think of 2009's masterpiece "The Hurt Locker" and especially what become of Jeremy Reiner's character in the third act. War is Hell and I can only hope most of us never really know the truth of that. This is "Hell and Back Again," a soldier's tale and one that will surely open eyes. It will be in select theaters on October 5th.


How would you like to spend "Seven Days in Utopia"? Here's a tell-all trailer, the worst kind in my personal opinion. However, we have tendencies to forget some details in a preview that throws them at us rapidly. Often times it is when we re-watch the trailer after having seen the film that we truly realize how much they truly give away. Lucas Black stars as a pro-golfer with daddy issues, enter Robert Duvall and the magical town of Utopia, which seems to serve as a sanctuary for Black's learning and growth. I am reminded of the mystical town of Rapture that Edward Bloom (as played by Ewan McGregor) stumbles upon in his travels in the Tim Burton's masterpiece, "Big Fish." Black and Duvall were recently seen together in 2009's "Get Low," another small-town film with a great message, which is what this looks to be as well. Directed by a first-time feature film director Matt Russell, "Seven Days in Utopia" is currently is select theaters.


It's September, the time of year we can expect a released trailer for the new Clint Eastwood film. Like the 21st-Century Woody Allen, the actor turned director averages about a film per year. It is impressive really, especially when they look as good as "J. Edgar." This is the biopic on J. Edgar Hoover, the prolific FBI director who founded the Bureau and then went on to lead its affairs for many years. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role. Leo was exceptionally in "The Aviator," a Martin Scorsese picture that covered the most well-known years of Howard Hughes. Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevi in "The Social Network"), Judi Dench, and Josh Lucas all co-star herein. We see the good and bad and the young and old of J. Edgar Hoover, "the most powerful man in the world," in what looks to be another well-done film from Mr. Eastwood. Circle November 9th on your calenders.


Morgan Freeman narrates (and plays the part of a marine surgeon) in the trailer for "Dolphin Tale," which has had previews available for months now, but somehow I overlooked it. Nathan Gamble, who actually played a young Harvey Flint in "The Dark Knight," stars as the boy who insists of helping the tailless dolphin he finds swept up on the beach. Think somewhere between "Finding Nemo" and "Free Willy," if not quite in story than in size of the marine creature it revolves around. There are a couple cloy moments to be found here, but let us not pretend is You may have noticed that above this film is currently sitting high with an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That is based off of five favorable reviews. Believe me that as the week continues that percent will balance out as more and more people see it. Might you be one of them? The film splashes into theaters the Friday, September 23rd.

Pull those reigns, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards:

Y'know, I might not find a contender for "Sick-Cow" every week and I feel that is a wonderful thing. Until the next atrocious trailer, enjoy the better categories of the the Awards.

The Head-Scratcher:


The trailer for "Munger Road" begins as a seemingly found footage film (a la "The Blair Witch Project" or "Cloverfield"), which I'll admit interests me, but it did stay that way. The film seems to adopt "normal" parameters while we follow the cops who are tasked to search for the group of kids who decided to cruise down Munger Road. Title cards so nicely inform us that they chose the wrong road on the wrong night. The trailer ends with what tries to be the most chilling moment. A girl tells her friends she just received a text from another guy from their group. When asked what it says, she answers, "'Run.'' Scary movies often either go big or go home. "Paranormal Activity" and the aforementioned "The Blair Witch Project" were sleeper hits that I doubt anyone could have foreseen. Each time a new one comes along we ought to scratch our heads. Will you head to "Munger Road" when it arrives in theaters on September 30th?

Toss of the Week:


You've heard of films based on books, true stories, TV shows, and even songs, but have you ever heard of a film based on a painting? That is exactly what Polish director Lech Majewski sought out to do as he went about making "The Mill and the Cross." Based on Pieter Bruegel's 1564 painting, "The Way to Calvary" (pictured above, but view a wonderful full-screen version here), Majewski also based this on the Michael Francis Gibson book of the same name. Visually stunning is likely what many will be using to describe this non-traditional narrative about the man (played by Ritger Hauer) who painted this detailed scene with over 500 characters within. It is an art film about an artist and how he created this particular work of art. The concept fascinates me and I love what I've seen of it so far. The film is currently in select theaters.

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ENLISTED


After consuling 200 experts in film and TV, TimeOut London has compiled an ambitious list, "100 Best Comedy Movies." The top ten had some surprises on there. I still need to get around to seeing their number one. I was happy that "Groundhog Day," probably my personal favorite comedy, made the list. If I'm not mistaken, Woody Allen had more films in that Top 100 than any other director (rather surprised "Manhattan" was not there though). Edgar Wright, who's best two films ("Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz") made the list, was one of those consulted. He posted his own Top Ten, which he submitted, on his blog.

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CAST AWAY


The dedicated and versatile Christian Bale who has worked with many great directors including Steven Spielberg ("Empire of the Sun"), Hayoa Miyazaki ("Howl's Moving Castle"), Werner Herzog ("Rescue Dawn"), Terrence Malik ("The New World"), Michael Mann ("Public Enemies"), and Christopher Nolan ("The Prestige" and the Batman films), can now add Chinese director Zhang Yimou (who brought us "To Live" and "Hero") to his resume. He stars in "The Flowers of War," which is due in China on December 16th and should be coming stateside at the same time or soon after. The film covers the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 when Japanese forces slaughter and defiled hundreds of thousands of Chinese people. It is reported to be the most expensive Chinese film to date. /Film has more details on the project.

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THE GOOD


Last week we lamented Lucas's latest changes to his "Star Wars" saga that will done for the Blu-ray release. Well, this week I present "Ten Changes We Wouldn't Mind Seeing in the New 'Star Wars' Blu-rays" as done by IFC.


Here is a shocking revelation! Apparently Spielberg regrets altering "E.T." and is now saying that the Blu-ray release of it (and "Raiders of the Lost Ark") will feature the original theatrical release. Here is /Film with the details.


"Ghostbusters," one of many people's (and my) most beloved fantasy comedies, is heading back to theaters for Halloween! JoBlo has the story.

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THE BAD


Ashe Cantrell of Film School Rejects has posted "6 Things the Film Industry Doesn't Want You to Know About." From theater trickery to the frightening notion of stealing scripts these are some areas you may not want to know about.

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AND THE WEIRD


Today Netflix announced that they will no longer be shipping DVDs and Blu-rays via mail. As you may have predicted would happen, they are now primarily in the digital distribution side of things. That said, they are launching another company called Qwikster, which will still mail movies to you if you so wish, but that will be at a completely different website and require a completely different account. I don't quite see the need for splitting up the two sites. The prices will supposedly remain the same, but now there will be two separate sites that reportedly don't share information. There is a new addition though: Now you can order games through Qwikster (including Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii). Yeah, GameFly (essentially the Netflix for game discs) probably feels very threatened now, especially since RedBox started carrying game discs too. Read more at The Netflix Blog and check out JoBlo's reaction.


Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of "South Park" and the recent broadway hit "The Book of Mormon") have told Entertainment Weekly that they are definitely going to be adapting their play about Mormon missionaries serving in Uganda into a feature film. They said it will be something they do in several years from now as they currently of plenty of other projects to keep them occupied.


I am a big fan of Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice." It is a nostalgic film and in fact is one of the first movies I mentioned when I began this blog all those months ago. Imagine my curious surprise when I learned that the film. JoBlo translated a recent post of Deadline to mean that it is highly possible that a "Beetlejuice" sequel is in the development stage with David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith signing a first look deal with Warner Bros.


Aaron Sorkin (who took home the Academy Award for Best Screenplay this year for "The Social Network" and rather deserved it in my opinion) has broken his nose... while writing. The LA Times has the silly story.

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OR THE COOL


Check out the Nike MAG sneakers (as seen in "Back to the Future: Part II") that are now on sale. Chances are you won't have the money to even bid on such a rare item (each pair is averaging at about $6,000), but take comfort in knowing that all proceeds are going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.


Along with the MAG sneaker release are these sweet "Back to the Future" posters presented by Fashionably Geek.


Now that we're on this "Back to the Future" kick I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share this sweet video I found a while back that compares the final scene from the first movie with the first scene of the second movie. You see, both are depicting the same moment, but for whatever reason the actress in the scene changed between films. It is a pretty fun compare and contrast. Enjoy!


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TV TOO


Last night were the Emmys and The Hollywood Reporter has the results. You can also find a gallery of the night's "Best and Worst Moments." Apparently Rainn Wilson was not pleased that Steve Carell did not take home an award for his final season on "The Office" playing the legendary Michael Scott. Carell was nominated several times for that role, but never did win. Again, The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 44


NEW IN THEATERS


  • Drive / 93%
  • I Don't Know How She Does It
  • Jane's Journey*
  • My Afternoons With Marguerite* / 85%
  • Restless* / 50%
  • Stay Cool*
  • Straw Dogs
* = limited release

NEW IN STORES

  • Conan O'Brien Can't Stop / 79%
  • Hesher / 54%
  • Incendies / 92%
  • My Life as a Dog CC / 100%
  • The Tempest / 24%
  • Thor / 77%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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TRAILER ROUND-UP


"Born and Bred" is a documentary about young men who start training in the boxing ring early. One of the trainers tells us how much of an advantage this will give them. The doc follows twin brothers who are almost at the end of their amateur training. The synopsis also mentions Latino immigration and it appears that since this film is set in Los Angeles and many of the trainees are Latin American it will probably delve into that a little too. I do enjoy a good boxing flick. From the great sequence in Charlie Chaplin's classic "City Lights" to last year's breath-taking drama "The Fighter," it has become my favorite sport to watch cinematically. How will a documentary footage fair for my taste and others like me? The film is currently putting up a fight in select cities.


When an adopted boy named Thomas grows up he becomes obsessed about finding his birth mother. He has memories of her and sets out to locate her. Directed by a French father-and-son duo (Claude and Nathan Miller), this foreign film is dark and brooding. The music in the trailer is as an epic clock ticking the seconds away. "I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive" is currently showing is some cities.


"RA One" Shah Rukh Kahn is in the Indian equivalent of our Brad Pitt/Will Smith. The only true Bollywood film I have seen is the beloved "Om Shanti Om," which was unnecessarily long but undeniably special (aren't most Bollywood films that way?). Kahn played two roles and he definitely has the onscreen presence of a movie star. Bollywood is somewhat infamous for taking the ideas of Hollywood films and music videos and giving it their unique makeover, often adding is extravangant musical numbers every chance they can. I'm not sure if there will be singing in the sci-fi fantasy/action film "RA One," but I really don't put it past them. It looks like a mixture between "Tron" and the acclaimed PlayStation 3 game, "InFamous." In any case, it looks ridiculously cool and ridiculously fun. "RA One" will hit select theaters on October 26th.




Nicholas  Cage is looking older in "Trespass," which bears the tag-line, "When terror is at your doorstep, you can run, or you can fight." This action/thriller from action/thriller director Joel Schumacher ("Falling Down" and "Phone Booth") looks to be about a family that chooses the latter. This seems to be an especially spoiler-ific trailer providing one heck of a reveal. So you may want to avoid it or you may agree with me that time is limited and there are more films than we could ever hope to watch and a trailer is one of the best ways to decide. Nicole Kidman plays Cage's wife in this brisk 90-minute night that hits theaters October 14th. I do think it shows some promise. I get a "Firewall" vibe, which I liked just fine.


Shine your star sheriff, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards:

Sick-Cow:




I somehow managed to miss the first "Johnny English," though I've seen a scene or two and that wasn't enough to interest me. Can I just say it is so strange to see Rowan Atkinson with gray hair! I am a big fan of his character and comedic sketches of Mr. Bean. I even like "Mr. Bean's Holiday" from a few years back. That seems far superior than this James Bond spoof, which is seeing the light of day again as "Johnny English Reborn." Britain's number one spy goes to Honk Kong and back in this adventure. Why is it that so many action sequels feel the need to incorporate some Far East-ness to their plot the second time around? The synopsis is certainly long enough, but I care not to read. Ultimately, this trailer failed to impress or entertain. It lands in theaters on October 28th.

The Head-Scratcher:




Directed by Mario Van Peebles, "Redemption Road" follows two different dudes (played by Michael Clarke Duncan and Morgan Simpson) as they road trip from Austin, Texas to Huntsville, Alabama.There is Country, Blues, and the music of the gospel to be found herein. It seems somewhere along the road between Christian film and the pursuit of stardom for these characters. Might it manage to be both? "Redemption Road" is currently is select theaters.

Lasso of the Week:


Twitter was ablaze over the weekend with the release of the red band trailer for an Indonesian action film, "The Raid: Redemption" Peter Sciretta of /Film assures readers that it is the best action film he has seen in years. Leave it to the Far East to deliver fierce combat, the likes of which we seldom receive. This trailer is every bit amazing as people are claiming, but ever so violent. The film looks to take place over the space of one night when a SWAT team takes over an apartment complex run by a drug lord who has plenty The synopsis might not be anything to write home about, but it sets the table to stage some of the most spectacular close-quarter combat I've ever seen. "The Raid: Redemption" made a big splash at the Toronto International Film Festival last week.

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ENLISTED


With the weekend release of "Contagion" still in the air, The Hollywood Reporter is sending out a PSA entitled "A Guide to Fake Film Diseases." I invite you to read, but avoid please avoid too much contact with any one of these. Thank you and good day.


In an attempt to prepare for Halloween Rotten Tomatoes has a galley of 10 houses in "Haunted Real Estate." See the iconic houses where several horror and otherwise supernatural films were actually shot (at least the exteriors).

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CAST AWAY


I've yet to see "The Expendables," but the sequel is already well in the works. Bruce Willis and Arnold will join Slyvester Stallone as the three amigos leading the crusade of action hero stars. Others will include Chuck Norris, Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews and Randy Couture. Yes, that is surely the toughest ensemble cast in the history of cinema (not counting "The Seven Samurai" of course). This time around Simon West ("Con Air") will be directing instead of Rambo Rocky himself. Read Niki Stephens post at JoBlo for more info.




The great Denzel Washington has been cast as a pilot called Whip who attempts to a fly a damaged passenger-filled plane to safety in the upcoming Robert Zemeckis film "Flight." Zemeckis is directing his first live-action film since "Cast Away," which is the inspiration for this very segment of "The Film Tome Report." That film had a stellar plane sequence. I'm confident we will get some more with "Flight." JoBlo reports.

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THE GOOD


Ridley Scott's next film "Prometheus" is a 3D sci-fi that is supposed to be revisit to his classic film, "Alien." I'm still eager to learn and see exactly what that means. Scott will stay in the realms of science-fiction, for after that he will also revisit another classic of his, "Blade Runner." We shall expect the films in 2012 and 2014 respectively, but I think film gurus around the planet are already giddy with anticipation. Deadline has the whole tale

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THE BAD


We just underwent what may now be known as one of the worst weekends in box office history. "Creature," the cleverly named low-budget creature feature that seemed to emerge out of nowhere and somehow merited a wide release, set the record for the lowest grossing opening weekend ever. The film was playing on 1,500+ screens and only scraped in $331,000, thus averaging an audience of six people per screen. The film also reached a high of 11% at Rotten Tomatoes. What's more? Another new film, "Bucky Larsen: Born To Be a Star" is now one of the few films that has garnered a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is a development that reinvigorated my faith in other people as it looked to be an atrocious travesty. The Hollywood Reporter sadly reports and /Film provides a sober commentary.


George Lucas cannot help but continue to tinker with his films. The highly-anticipated BluRay versions of the "Star Wars" saga will include several changes that Lucas personally requested. The puppet Yoda from "Episode 1: The Phantom Menance" will be replaced with a CGI version, the bloody Ewoks will now blink, and Darth Vader will shout "Noooooooo!" at the end of "Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi" as he does in "Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith." Booooooooo! JoBlo laments with the rest of us.

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AND THE WEIRD


Last week it was announced on Deadline that Mel Gibson wants to direct an historical epic (which he has proven he is exceptional at with "Braveheart" and "Apocalypto") about Judah Maccabee, a beloved Jewish hero, for Warner Bros. It is particular shocking because Gibson's anti-Semitic reputation as of late. Might this be an attempt to wipe his slate clean? It certainly would not stop me from seeing what he brings  What troubles me more is the story that Joe Eszterhas, the screenwriter attached, is going to deliver. Who? He's the guy who penned films like "Basic Instinct" and "Flash Dance." Huh. Here is JoBlo with a reaction.


MTV has released a sneak peek at the upcoming film, "The Thing," the prequel to "The Thing." We get a fake scare and then a real scare, complete with a musical sting to let you know when to jump. George Merchan over at JoBlo tells us the film is going to suck. I feared such ever since I heard about it. Let's give a shot though. However, if you haven't seen the original, you really must.


"Star Wars," "The Lion King," and "Titanic" are not the only films that will be re-released in 3D, now we can add "Top Gun" to that list whether you want to or not. Sources are anticipating an early 2012 release, though apparently they still haven't gotten director Tony Scott's consent. JoBlo has the details.

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OR THE COOL


The filmmakers behind "The Best Worst Movie," the documentary about the infamous "Troll 2," are looking for man-made haunted houses. Do you know of anyone who goes to incredible lengths to transform their home and property into a spook alley of sorts for that haunted time of year? If so, they could be the subject of an upcoming documentary produced by NBC. Head over to HomeMadeHaunt.com and/or check out /Film's coverage of the search. This sounds like a doc I would love to watch!

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KEEPIN' IT SHORT


Porsche is holding a "My Daily Magic Film Contest" with featuring ten short films (90-second entries) featuring their new car. Head over to the site, view any number of them, and then vote for your favorite. After I watch all of the nominees I will highlight my favorite in next week's issue. Voting is open through September 21st. Here's Torque News with an article on the event.

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Updated 4.18.12