Sunday, February 26, 2012


9:33 PM
All right folks, here we go! Tom Cruise is going to announce the Best Picture winner! What an awesome compilation (set to music from "Moneyball"). Nine good to great films from one of the best years in film ever. And the winner is... "The Artist." See it! Good night folks.

9:25 PM
The ladies here all pay attention when Firth takes the stage. He won last year for "The King's Speech." Who is gonna take this one? Davis or Streep? Streep! I predicted such last night. What a legacy embodied in one woman. What an actress!

9:22 PM
Yet another Ellen DeGeneres commercial...

9:17 PM
Natalie Portman (last year's winner) announcing the Best Actor nominees. I love how this part slows down, honors, and shows us scenes. We can really breathe before this important award. Jean Dujardin Very tough choice. Could have gone to any of them.

9:13 PM
More actors talking about movies. Edward Norton FTW.

9:09 PM
"In Memorium": Sidney Lumet :(

8:51 PM
Michael Douglas presenting Best Director. Just now thinking how Malick surely isn't here. Nice tributes to these skilled filmmakers. Michel H. wins for "The Artisit." Obviously, I preferred Terrence Malick.

8:45 PM
Another two Bridesmaids. "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," the only one I've seen, wins. Check out yesterday's "The Film Tome Report" for a link.

8:42 PM
And then there were two Bridesmaids... "Saving Face" wins Short Documentary. How does one ever go about seeing these?

8:39 PM
The Bridesmaids are here with an innuendo-filled bit to announce Live Action Short Film. "The Shore."

8:31 PM
HERZOG!!! More actors/filmmakers talking about the movies they make. Sacha Baron Cohen's bit is pretty funny.

8:29 PM
Jolie is still around, Original Screenplay. Woody Allen, of course, not in attendance. Seriously, he should have shown up.

8:26 PM
Jolie (and her leg) presenting Best Adapted Screenplay. Everyone watching with me agrees she is far too skinny. Alexander Payne wins for "The Descendants." These are my favorite presentations because they show a scene with the script overlaid. Wish that was an option on more movies.

8:18 PM
"Man or Muppet" wins Best Song. Tough competition. Will Ferrell and Zach G. had a blast (no pun intended) presenting.

8:12 PM
Crystal really is having a blast. I must have missed something. What's up with the gigantic sheet music book? Oh, best Original Score. Duh. "The Artist" takes home the gold. Bource had such an entertaining and dramatic score, but I think Williams had two better.

8:10 PM
Billy Crystal having some fun telling us what some of the biggest names are thinking. Brad and Angelina, Clooney, Scorsese, and that dog from "The Artist."

7:58 PM
Melissa Leo presenting Best Supporting Actor, loved her in last year's "The Fighter." Christopher Plummer takes it for "Beginners." The general consensus proved so. At 82 he's the oldest actor to win an Oscar. Billy Crystal is watching...

7:55 PM
Emma Stone and Ben Stiller announcing nominees for Visual Effects. Stone is an actress, even here. Jonah Hill hits a well-played response. "Hugo" again! Such a stunning film. Best 3D I have ever seen? Probably.

7:47 PM
Chris Rock about to announce Best Animated Feature. I'm calling this... "Rango"! I absolutely loved it. "Rango." Yup. Ah, love that Zimmer soundtrack. Not the best animated film I saw that year though... "The Adventures of Tintin" seriously snubbed. Still, "Rango" is one of the year's best. See it.

7:44 PM
"Undefeated" takes home Best Documentary. Where's P. Diddy? First bleeped F-word of the night? I really need to see this one (and all the other nominees).

7:41 PM
Robert Downey Jr. doing something weird...

7:40 PM
Billy Crystal making fun of actors older than him (Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer), actors that are getting better work than him.

7:38 PM
Kermit and Miss Piggy (Mrs. Kermit) introduce Cirque Du Soliel number. The theme? What it's like to go to the movies.

7:28 PM
"Hugo" again! Sound Mixing. They're showing the train crash sequence.

7:26 PM
Sound Editing goes to "Hugo." Good clock ticks, right?

7:24 PM
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" takes home Film Editing. I want it to be edited a lot more before I sit down and watch it...

7: 23 PM
"The Wizard of Oz" focus group skit was enjoyable. I'd like to see more where that came from.

7:12 PM
Another "no surprise." Octavia Spencer takes home Best Supporting Actress. She was a powerhouse in that nice little film.

7:08 PM
Shocker of the night: "The Separation" takes home Best Foreign Language Picture. Important speech regarding its country of origin. Still need to see this one. Badly.

7:01 PM
Loving this collage of actors describing their love for movies and reasons they started acting.

6:58 PM
"The Iron Lady" takes Best Makeup. Haven't seen it, but the segments they're showing with an old Streep... immensely impressive. "J. Edgar" not even nominated?

6:55 PM
First Oscar for "The Artist": Costume Design. Love the movie, but its competitors might have had a tougher job than recreating classic Hollywood.

6:45 PM
"Hugo" also takes home Art Direction. Going along with the last award, it was a fabulous-looking film. Thought it would go to "The Artist." Felt it should go to "War Horse."

6:43 PM
"Hugo" takes home Best Cinematography. Robert Richardson takes home a well-deserved Oscar. He's been doing some amazing work with Tarantino for years, about time he gets recognized.. I thought for sure it was going to Lubezki for "The Tree of Life," which I would've chosen.

6:41 PM
Crystal is finishing a rousing, melody-turning opening song. The audience (esp. Marty Scorsese) seemed to enjoy it. Odes to all the Best Picture nominations.

6:37 PM
Fun intro. Classic Crystal inserting himself into various films. Clooney kisses Crystal in "The Descandents" riff. Every women (and surely some men) watch in envy. I especially like Crystal as Tintin. To bad "The Tree of Life" didn't get more than a film strip whooshing by.

Saturday, February 25, 2012



I have an attachment to the Oscars. I've watched the show since I was a boy. I still remember when Billy Crystal bursted on stage in 1998 on a Titanic-like stern. I eagerly await how he'll take the stage tomorrow night. I was stirred when James Cameron held a golden statuette in his hand by the end of the night and asked for everyone to join him in a moment of silence for those who died on the "unsinkable" ship. The mood changed when he proclaimed he was "King of the world." Over a decade later I watched as his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigalow, took home the Oscar for "The Hurt Locker," beating out Cameron's own "Avatar." Those were nights to remember.

Tomorrow night is the biggest in Hollywood. I will be tuning in live to watch the Academy Awards and posting a live blog until the show is over. Many people give the Oscars a bad rap, but I continue to follow the prestigious show. For one thing, I find it entertaining. I even found lots to enjoy in last year's show, widely considered one of the worst Oscar telecasts in modern memory. We still don't know what was going on with Franco that night...

Why do people dislike the Oscars? Probably because some of their favorite films of the year don't get recognized and/or they do not accept the films that do. Fair enough. But if you do not accept and acknowledge those with a differing opinion than your own, I can only imagine what life is going to hold in store for you. So what if "Drive" didn't receive any major nomination, there are plenty of other fish in the sea and it can still be a night to remember. This year there were nine important films nominated. Have you seen them all? You can always praise your own favorites.

After learning some of the process of the Academy, how the nominations and then the winners are decided, I feel it certainly worth considering. Filmmakers voting on other filmmakers... who better? Undoubtedly there's some politics involved, campaigning, kiss-ups, and make-ups, but in the end there is a great love for the movies, and that is what it should all be about.


I made an effort to see all the films nominated for Best Picture this year, two of which I squeezed in this last week. I revealed my feelings of the year 2011 in the tome already, and I will in yet another post. I felt it was the best year of movies in my life. I was probably seeing more current film this year than any other previous year of my life, but I still consider the pedigree to be extraordinary.

This is one of my my favorite activities in The Film Tome. I will list the nominees for the major categories (and any other I feel sufficiently capable of covering), predict who will win then declare who should win. Here we go!

* * *

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

WILL: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
SHOULD: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

* * *

Music (Original Score)

John Williams (The Adventures of Tintin)
Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Howard Shore (Hugo)
Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
John Williams (War Horse)

WILL: Ludovic Bource
SHOULD: John Williams (The Adventures of Tintin)

* * *

Art Direction

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

WILL: The Artist
SHOULD: War Horse

* * *


Guillame Schiffman (The Artist)
Jeff Cronenweth (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)

WILL: Emmanuel Lubezki
SHOULD: Emmanuel Lubezki

* * *

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

WILL: The Descendants
SHOULD: The Ides of March

* * *

Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
A Seperation

WILL: A Seperation
SHOULD: The Artist

* * *

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

WILL: Rango

* * *

Actress in a Supporting Role

Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer (Alberts Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)

WILL: Octavia Spencer
SHOULD: Berenice Bejo

* * *

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn)
Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)

WILL: Christopher Plummer
SHOULD: Max von Sydow

* * *

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Viola Davis (The Help)
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

WILL: Meryl Streep
SHOULD: Viola Davis

* * *

Actor in a Leading Role

Demian Bichir (A Better Life)
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Gold Oldman (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

WILL: Jean Dujardin
SHOULD: Jean Dujardin

* * *


Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)

WILL: Michel Hazanavicius
SHOULD: Terrence Malick

* * *

Best Picture

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

WILL: The Artist
SHOULD: The Tree of Life

* * *

Enjoy the show!


(Author's Note: Dear readers, welcome to an immense issue of "The Film Tome Report." If this is your first time, dearest welcomes. I inform you of the latest films to hit theaters and stores, cover the newest trailers to hit the web, and serve a casserole of news, announcements, and other film-related material. If you like movies, I guarantee you'll like these reports OR your money back. It has been a couple of weeks since the last issue, but I'm back and ready to talk smack, well, talk film anyways. Onward & upward. Enjoy the special pre-Oscars issue with several stories and videos relating to this Sunday's big show. Also, look forward to my annual pre-Oscars post wherein I predict who will win and argue who should win.)

  • Act of Valor / 28%
  • The Fairy* / 100%
  • The Forgiveness of Blood* / 86%
  • Gone / 15%
  • Tomorrow, When the War Begins* / 63%
  • Tyler Perry's Good Deeds / 28%
  • Wanderlust / 58%
* = limited release

  • Anatomy of a Murder CC / 100%
  • London Boulevard / 33%
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene / 90%
  • Puss in Boots / 83%
  • The Son of No One / 17%
  • Tower Heist / 68%
  • World on a Wire CC / 100%
CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *


Tis the year for apocalypse. 2012 has been feared by some, mocked by most, and it is now among us. "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" couldn't have found a better time to show up. Several films last year ran the gamut on this scenario (which deserves a blog post of its own), but it seems to be far from stale. But we haven't seen is a romantic comedy set on this stage, have we? The filmmakers saved themselves the hassle of showing us signs of the world's end by simply having it announced on the radio as Steve Carell's character listens. His wife runs away and he joins up with Kiera Knightly's character who joins him on a road trip to end all road trips, literally. Looks fun, but does anyone think these two won't be hooking up? This asteroid hits on June 22nd.
Dominique Abel and Fiono Gordon don't look like movie stars, but that isn't stopping them from making movies. Their latest effort in "The Fairy." It's whimsy and colorful, though selective in both regards. They are being compared to (Jacques) Tati and (Buster) Keaton, which are some bold comparisons. I thought of both the films of Wes Anderson (any) and the Coen Brothers (especially "Raising Arizona" and "The Big Lebowski"). More bold comparisons. This must be seen by those who see films. It lands in select theaters this weekend. Lucky people.

Tyler Perry has taken off the Madea costume (Thank heaven!) and put on a suit for "Good Deeds" (I'm not going to put his name in the title, I didn't even do that for Jet Li!). Apple is still labeling this a comedy, though it looks certainly more like a drama. A rich guy with a rich heart, Wesley Deeds takes it upon himself to help out a single mother. That petite and pretty powerhouse Thandie Newton plays the needy. What will Deed's fiance (Gabrielle Union) think of this? While Tyler Perry films have too much Tyler Perry (written, directed, produced, and starring him) it is good to see a more interesting and well-meaning movie from him. It hit theaters yesterday.
"Bully" is an upcoming documentary distrubuted by The Weinstein Company. It addresses the obvious problem affecting millions of school children across the world. If you went through grade school there's a good chance you were the victim of child abuse (from other children). My heart goes out to the parents seen here and it is hard to fathom a greater cause than this anti-bullying crusade. It will be in limited theaters later this year, though it should be in every movie house in this country and the next. Although it might have a hard time reaching its intended audience. Read why below in The Bad.
Before you can ask too many questions the trailer for "The Bourne Legacy" informs us that there was never just one. With Matt Damon gone Jeremy Renner is stepping up to bat and the stakes are pretty high. Is Universal beating a dead horse? After seeing this trailer I'd say, "No, they're riding a stallion off a volcano into a lake of blue sapphire!" What? I mean this looks pretty freakin' awesome! I love the sliding black bars of obscurity that keep us guessing and introduce the new and familiar to us. Edward Norton is among the new cast, David Strathairn and the others reprise their roles. August 3rd just got better.
Pixar has released the second trailer for "Brave" and completely redeemed anything they might have done wrong in recent years (i.e. "Cars 2"). While there's a moment of rather low-brow humor (unlike Pixar) most of this is rich and detailed storytelling we've come to expect from America's finest animation studio. The best part of this trailer is that it refuses to give us a sneak peak at the entire plot. Instead it sets up the inciting incident, introducing us to the Scottish princess who embodies the title, and leaves us with a boom. The second this trailer was over I Tweeted, "NOW THAT'S A TRAILER!" Don't just pencil in June 22nd, write it in ink.

Hitch yer horse here partner, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards:

Lasso of the Week:
Last summer I read the script for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" among others. It was a very enjoyable historical fantasy, but I had serious doubts it would ever see the light of day. Then last week, like a vampire coming into the sunlight, this trailer blew my socks off! I've ridiculed slow-motion before, but I've never cast it off completely for reasons like you'll see here. Chopping down a tree has never looked so ridiculously awesome! Benjamin Walker (who you don't know) is playing Honest Abe. Surprising because he is only 30. If only Daniel Day-Lewis could be playing this role too (he stars in the Spielberg biopic due later this year). You'll see fantastic snippets of action aplenty and felt top hats! Perhaps the best part is the Johnny Cash accompaniment. Remember the opening of "Dawn of the Dead"? If not, seek it out. This film is brought to us by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov who delivered the terribly cool "Night Watch" series. Drew McWeeny over at HitFix Tweeted, "I plan to raise my kids believing 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is 100% historically accurate." Find out if you want to do the same on June 22nd.

* * *


"The Secret World of Arrietty," the lastest film from Japan's Studio Ghibli, is currently in theaters. Here is a Total Recall from Rotten Tomatoes"The Best of Studio Ghibli." Only one film mustered a "Rotten," not alike a certain other renowned animation studio...

* * *


Check out this informative infographic made by IMDb regarding the Oscar-nominated films in which the winners are predicted based on user ratings.

The Thin Man (1934)

Here is Rotten Tomatoes annual "Best of the Best Pictures Nominees" list.

Here is a short featurette on the making of "The Artist."

Netflix has signed a deal with the The Weinstein Company which will allow them to stream films such as "The Artist" before they are available on pay cable channels. For those who didn't drop their Netflix account after last year's fiasco, you will now be rewarded for your long-suffering. Well, except for Madonna's "W.E.," which is also part of the package. The A.V. Club has the story.

Well-known critic Richard Roeper predicts the winners in all 24 Oscar categories on his website.

Steve Carell (yes, Michael Scott himself) is on Twitter! Check out his profile. He has promised he won't be doing any "That's what she said!" jokes. Well, he lied.

* * *


Rotten Tomatoes has a Total Recall of the "Worst-Reviewed Best Picture Nominees" ever. Unfortunately one from this year made the cut. There's probably a reason I haven't seen any of these besides "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

Sacha Baron Cohen Dictator Oscar Tickets H 2012

Earlier this week Sacha Baron Cohen (known from "The Ali G Show," "Borat," and "Bruno," in each instance playing the title character) was "banned" from attending the Academy Awards. While not nominated specifically, he was an important part of the heavily-nominated "Hugo." The Academy did not want Cohen turning the classy awards show into an advertisement for his upcoming, "The Dictator." You see, he was planning on showing up in character. The Hollywood Reporter compiled a brief slideshow of his publicity stunts in the past. After the announcement Cohen released a video (enjoy the other Oscar-related video on that IMDb playlist), addressing the Academy. Then, yesterday, Cohen Tweeted the above picture. Apparently the Dictator is going to the Oscars. Hold on to your hats folks! In other news, today Steve Carrel Tweeted he is hitting the red carpet dressed as Sacha Baron Cohen.

"Bully" (trailer covered above) has been slapped with an R-rating. The MPAA dishing out an undesirable rating?! That's unheard of! Who better to fight them than Bob Weinstein (the film's distributor) who recently saw to it that "Blue Valentine" shed itself of the deadly NC-17 rating. He got that turned into an R, surely he can get this turned into a PG-13. /Film covers this news. An anti-bullying doc (assuming it is tasteful and helps its viewers more than it hurts) deserves to be seen by all, especially teenagers. Fellow blogger Scott Mendelson suggests they just bleep the bleepin' words in a new blog post.

* * *



Fifteen real Oscars are going to be auctioned online next Tuesday! The Academy isn't happy, but there is nothing they can do about it... Slate has the full story.

Believe it or not, "Star Wars - Episode 1: The Phantom Menance" will/has officially surpass "The Dark Knight" in the box office and reach that land where few films have ever gone before, a billion dollars. Re-releases can potentially change records now... Scott Mendelson covers the news here.

 * * *


Hugo: "The Watch-Dog"

Here are nine Oscar-themed hot dogs (for each of the Best Picture nominations) for your visual enjoyment. Hopefully you know someone who can help make them a reality (if you like hot dogs that is). Which one would you like to eat?

Earlier this week Sam Mendes, the director for the upcoming James Bond film "Skyfall," posted the first behind-the-scenes videoblog (not unlike what Peter Jackson is doing on Facebook for "The Hobbit") for that anticipated action film.While I've only seen a few of the twenty-three Bond films, I am excited to see what Mendes (known for "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition") bring to the series. This is certainly not his generic forte. Besides the video, the site is sparsely cool. There's a globe-tracker that tells us where Bond is now as they are wrapping up production as well as a counter until "Skyfall" falls upon us.

Here's an item from the current Top 20 on BuzzFeed: "Man Photoshops Celebrities Into His Holiday Party Photos." What is real anymore?

* * *


How it Should Have Ended has released an all-new animated short entitled, "Harry Potter and the Best Picture." It's embedded above or available on YouTube. Some of Rowling's most memorable characters express how upset they are that their film was snubbed in all the major categories. They take shots at all of the Best Picture nominees and continue to state their case. The "Harry Potter" series was a magical (ha!) phenomenon in film history, You can read my reviews of the last two films in the series here and here. We'll see if "The Deathly Hallows: Part 2" can at least take home the crafty awards it was nominated for.

Here are some recent and delectable mock news stories from The Onion (y'know "America's Finest News Source"): "Leaf from 'The Tree of Life' Frontrunner for Best Actor Oscar," "Meet the Man Inside the Nicolas Cage Costume," and "Tyler Perry Expands His Fan Base with New Films About Sassy, Chinese Grandmother."


I do not know Maru the cat, do you? In any case here are her versions of some of this year's biggest films for your consideration as seen on BuzzFeed.

This was in my Twitter feed, labeled as "the problem with movie posters." Know your meme.

* * *


"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

After you watch this you will be able to say you've seen at least one of the Oscar-nominated shorts this year. "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" is without dialogue, but full of words (literally). It is beautiful ode to the magic of literature set to a dramatic rendition of "Pop Goes the Weasel." This has to be a serious contender for the Academy Award tomorrow night.

* * *



Last Sunday "The Simpsons" aired their 500th episode! Congratulations to Matt Groening, Fox, the cast, and all the writers and animators over the years. To celebrate, Slate has an interactive global map of all the places the family has been over the incredible 23-season run. In their 500th episode they will also be traveling ut of their Springfield stomping grounds.

Hunter Phillips has commenced an all-new blog, (500) Days of Homer, where he will view and then analyze an episode every day for the next year and a half! He embarked on this odyssey just this week with Season 1, so if you want to follow along (which is exactly what I am doing), it is not too late to start.

* * *

Sunday, February 5, 2012



  • Big Miracle / 71%
  • Chronicle / 85%
  • The Innkeepers* / 75%
  • Kill List* / 74%
  • Splinters* / 75%
  • W.E.* / 16%
  • The Woman in Black / 62%
* = limited release


  • The Big Year / 39%
  • Dream House / 7%
  • Drive / 93%
  • In Time / 37%
  • The Thing / 36%
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *


(Author's Note: In tonight's issue I am briefly considering the TV spots for some of this year's biggest blockbusters that aired during the Super Bowl)

"The Avengers" IS this year's superhero movie (oh yeah, "The Amazing Spider-Man will be swingin' around sometime too) and certainly looks it. With an ensemble cast of identities, special effects up the wazoo, and cult-favorite Joss Whedon in the director's chair, it is on everyone's calender for a reason. Do I even need to tell you that it'll be out May 4th?

I didn't even bother with the first "G.I. Joe" movie. Nobody told me I should. Not unlike my relationship with "Ghost Rider," the trailer for the sequel has actually impressed me. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson quotes Jay-Z at the beginning of the TV spot for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" only to lead into the very song those lyrics are rapped in. Guys (and a lady) prepare for battle, a motorcycles un-transforms, and we get an awesome clip and kick on the side of a mountain. It's short, cool, and left me wanting more. I cannot believe I'm excited June 29th... Oh yeah, Bruce Willis in the house.

"The Hunger Games" takes its time with a 60-second spot. This time around we get a glimpse of the capitol city and more from Katniss's interview with Caeser Flickerman (played by Stanely Tucci). I like the largely handheld style of this film, which will largely set it apart from "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" (not that those two were ever really comparable). That four-note theme sends us off and keeps us waiting for March 23rd.

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


One doesn't even need to bring up the "Transformers" films when talking about "Battleship" because it will for you! From that stalling mechanical-whirring bass to the shiny steel breaking through skyscrapers, we've seen this all before. It is an assault on the sense and not in a good way. At the end of the trailer we get a guy screaming into a walkie-talkie, "Fire everything!" It appears that is precisely what Universal did with this TV spot for the "big game." Nothing is happening on May 18th.

The Head-Scratcher:
The beginning for this "John Carter" ad is brilliant as we slowly zoom-out of clips to reveal the title. What follows is an impressive onslaught of CGI-heavy visuals. I believe it was Adam Quigley who pointed out on the /Filmcast that all John Carter seems to do is jump extremely high. Look for that and it will start to seem oh-so silly. Remember, this film comes to us from director Andrew Stanton of Pixar fame (i.e. "Wall-E"). Colleague Brad Bird's ascension into live-action late last year with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" proved to be the year's most exciting film. Does that even mean anything for this project? Maybe not. We'll see on March 9th.

Lasso of the Week:

Of all the films showcased today, I am most excited for "Act of Valor." It follows a team of Navy Seals tasked with a rescue mission of a kidnapped CIA agent. It so strives for realism that it could almost pass for a cinema verite documentary. It's beautiful, timely, and action-packed. Dare I proclaim that this could be a modern-day equivalent of "Saving Private Ryan"? Also, of all the movies shown this one hits theaters the soonest on February 24th.

* * *