Monday, December 31, 2007

Paradise Lost (WM3) Update!

Those of you who have not seen Paradise Lost parts 1 & 2 should probably do so immediately. From directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, these are two of the best documentaries highlighting the injustice of the American legal system. In them, three young men from Arkansas, known as the West Memphis Three (or WM3), were convicted in the brutal homicide of three eight-year-old boys. The prosecutor's evidence? Black Metallica t-shirts, a love for Stephen King and Anne Rice and notebooks filled with demented poetry. If you think that all this combined could never be enough to sentence the WM3 to life in prison without parole or even death, you would be wrong.

For the last 15 years, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin have been serving life in prison without parole. And alleged 'ringleader' Damien Echols has been isolated on death row. It took two documentaries and a wonderful book entitled "Devil's Knot" to chronicle how absurd this whole case has been, but even then, the officials in Arkansas have done nothing to overturn the bogus sentences. Their reason: Too many political careers have been built up on the case. Even former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee turned a blind eye to the gross injustice happening under his very nose.

Well, it looks like the case has taken a major turn in recent months. New DNA evidence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the WM3 could *NOT* be responsible for the murders. Ironically, the only person implicated by the murders is Terry Hobbs, one of the stepfathers of the murdered 8-year-olds. Forensics experts found one of his hairs in the shoelace of one of the boys who was not his stepson.

While several news programs have covered the most recent developments in the case, the most comprehensive was a special that ran on Larry King Live two weeks ago. On December 19th, Larry King interviewed Damien Echols on death row. I think readers who are close to the case might enjoy this despite King's 'I do zero research' approach to interviews.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

My favorite part of the whole special would have to be the interview with John Mark Byers. In both Paradise Lost documentaries, he would launch into extended tirades about how the Damien Echols and his co-defendents were going to burn in hell with their master, "The Satan." Now he's just as eager to pin the murders on Terry Hobbs today as he was the WM3 15 years ago.

I am hoping Sinofsky and Berlinger will have a third documentary out shortly after the WM3 are freed. If the Arkansas government can finally admit they were wrong, that is.

Five Worst of 2007.

1) I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - This movie offends gays, women, men, Asians, and worst of all, people who think comedies are supposed to be funny. I took a close friend of mine to see this film before he left town for good. He hasn't spoken to me ever since. Was it because both of us were too busy? Maybe, but part of me still blames Adam Sandler and the dude from The King of Queens.

2) Spider-Man 3 - Just when Spider-Man 2 had given me hope that someone in Hollywood understood what had made comic books endure as an American art form (i.e., characters and continuity), Sam Raimi and company drop this over-villained sequel on the hearts of movie-goers across the globe. This movie offers three villains, lots of dancing, and a convoluted plot that paints all of the characters from this once mythic franchise into a corner. Rummor has it, Sony is planning a reboot a la Batman Begins for the fourth installment. Considering that almost no one bought the DVD for the highest domestic box-office hit of the year, I wouldn't be too surprised if that's true.

3) September Dawn - Bizarre. There was once a time when John Voight was a respectable performer. But now that I've seen him play an evil Mormon bishop in September Dawn, I realize those days are long, long gone. Even the Muslim hijackers in United 93 got a fairer shake than The Church of Latter Day Saints do in this smear film that feels like it was written by Jack Chick.

4) Epic Movie - Granted, I only sat in the theater for 25 minutes before walking out on this inexplicable box-office hit, but I still can't understand how this spoof managed to call itself Epic Movie when most of the films it lampooned (i.e., Nacho Libre, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, X-Men, etc.) were not epics themselves by any stretch of the imagination. Yet another franchise that ran out of steam a long time ago, I wouldn't be surprised if the producers gave up trying to come up with creative titles (just as they've done with their jokes) and simply called the next installment Movie Movie: There is No God. Chances are, Movie Movie would be a box-office hit, too.

5) Redacted - As a film enthusiast who opposes our nation's current war in Iraq, there's nothing I hate more than when a filmmaker uses my beliefs for an indefensibly bad film. That's exactly what Brian DePalma did with Redacted, his over-acted and under-written and directed flop which bombed at the box-office despite the uproar kicked up by Fox News pundits Sean Hannity and Bill O' Reilly. Those of you who agree America should have spent more time hunting the true evildoers of 9/11 and less time securing big oil interests in Iraq would be better served with No End in Sight or even In the Valley of Elah.

SEFCA - How I voted.

So you've seen how the SEFCA awards turned out this year. And you know which films are on my personal top 10. But what about the rest of the categories?

Well, in order to establish a sense of transparency on my part, and to give you guys something to chew on this New Year's Eve, I thought I would do something I've never seen any movie awards voter do before: Share my ballot card.

Now the way this works is basically, if I give an actor, movie, writer, or director first place, they each get three points for that category. Second gets two points, and third gets one. Any questions?

If not, here are my votes.


1. George Clooney, Michael Clayton

2. Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild

3. Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

(Note: Where's Daniel Day-Lewis, you ask? Sure he was great in There Will Be Blood, but the legendary performer goes a little overboard during the Shining-esque finale.)


1. Ellen Page, Juno

2. Julie Christie, Away from Her

3. Keri Russell, Waitress


1. Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

2. Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

3. J.K. Simmons, Juno


1. Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

2. Imelda Staunton, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

3. Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

(Note: For shame to the Golden Globes for giving a nomination to Julia Roberts over Imelda Staunton.)


1. Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

2.Juan Antonio Bayona, The Orphanage

3. Andrew Dominik, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


1. No End in Sight

2. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

3. Kurt Cobain About a Son

(NOTE: Here's where things get a little complicated. You might have noticed that I ranked No End in Sight over The King of Kong. However, the latter made my top ten list while the former did not. My reason for this is because, in terms of documentaries, the video game documentary uses a cheat code or two. Facts are twisted in The King of Kong, and reality gets spliced in order to present the events in a certain light to demonize Billy Mitchel. No End in Sight on the other hand is far more concerned with presenting the truth as a form of entertainment instead of the other way around.)


1. The Orphanage

2. The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

3. Black Book

(NOTE: I really, really loved The Orphanage, and it broke my heart a little to see that my favorite film of the year did not receive a single mention on the SEFCA list for no other reason than the fact that hardly anyone watched it. We all got the chance to watch it, but when it came down to the nitty gritty, no one seemed that interested. Hopefully it will fare much better when it comes out in more theaters.)


1. Ratatouille

2. Meet the Robinsons

3. Beowulf


1. Diablo Cody, Juno

2. Adrienne Shelly, Waitress

3. Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, Superbad


1. John Logan, Sweeney Todd

2. Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

3. Sean Penn, Into the Wild


1. Black Snake Moan

2. Waitress

3. Forgiving the Franklins

(NOTE: How could any film be considered more 'SOUTHERN' than Black Snake Moan? I mean to put it bluntly, that film is almost as countried-fried as a Moon Pie drinking an RC Cola. However, I am glad to see Waitress won in the end. It was the better film overall.)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Greensboro's little indie that could....

Former guest Jay Floyd should pat himself on the back. His locally-filmed indie Forgiving the Franklins made it for a third week at The Carousel Luxury Cinemas on 1305 Battleground Ave.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure no other 'real indie' has played that long in Greensboro for a while.

Way to go, Jay!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Best Movies of 2007

GoTriad! ran my Top 10 this morning. You can read it here. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I actually planned on posting a lot during the holidays. However, the cabin rentals my family used this year lied when they said we would have internet access.

Should be back on track by Saturday morning.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Listen to Critical Mass 2007!

On a very special Friday edition of "The Movie Show," Mike and I were joined by Raleigh film critics Craig D. Lindsey of The News and Observer and Zack Smith of The Independent Weekly. And while traffic forced our guest to arrive 20 minutes late, we had a great time. Maybe it was all the munching sounds made during the beginning of the show, or the time when Craig yelled at Zack for complaining about the lack of unreleased movies he's seen, but I really think we had a dynamite session.

After the show, I took Craig and Zack out for Mexican food, when suddenly I had a case of the hiccups.

Craig looked at me and said, "Do you have the hiccups?!"

And even though it was obvious that I did, I told him so anyway.

"Stay right there, I know exactly what to do!" Craig sprung into action, acquiring a tray of sugar packets from the waitress. I was standing by the cashier line obediently, and when Craig retuned, he said, "Now lean your head back."

I did.

"Now open your mouth!"

Once I followed Craig's final instruction, he proceeded to tear open and pour five packs of sugar down my mouth. One after the other. Funny thing is, my hiccups magically disappeared just before he opened the first pack. He told me to swallow sugar, and I tried, but the mouthful of pure powdered sweetness was to disgustingly sweet for me to keep down. I spat it out in the parking lot, much to the chagrin of the friendly employees of El Carreton on Tate St.

Shortly thereafter, bid my two guests farewell. As they drove away, I turned to my quietly amazed wife, and said, "I'm going to remember this event for the rest of my life...."


Now you can remember the event for the rest of your lives, too, by checking out the enhanced podcast. Simply click the purple guy icon on the upper right side of the screen or watch it in streaming Quicktime by clicking here.

After hearing this podcast, I am sure you'll agree with me that we have to do this every year. Enjoy the top fives.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lesson: Don't film robbery scenes in Angola.

From IMDB:

Police in Luanda, the capital of Angola, shot and killed two actors filming a robbery scene and wounded two others, the London Daily Telegraph reported. Director Radical Ribeiro said that he had seen the police vehicle racing toward the location scene. "Suddenly it stopped and people appeared on the back and without asking any questions they started shooting at everybody at close range. I don't know how I escaped, I was just two meters away." He said that although the actors were carrying firearms, they had no ammunition, that police had been notified of the filming, and they had received permits to film in the area.


Holy crap.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another award courtesy of WUAG!

Got this message from Jack in an e-mail this past weekend:

Here are the Top 3 Radio Shows of the Semester as Voted on by the Surveys:

1. The Movie Show (Thursdays 7 - 9 pm)
2. In the Beat of the Night (Saturdays 7 - 10 pm)
3. Mixtape Madness (Mondays 9 - 11 pm)

When I gave Mike the news, he flipped out. The reason being that 1) neither Mike nor I were able to vote in this year's poll. And 2) we always thought most of the DJ's at our station thought we were dorks.


Our show is primarily a talk program starring two geeks who love movies. Whenever we *do* play music, it's movie music, meaning we usually play a lot of unorthodox and even vintage mainstream tracks, which stray from the 'progressive' (read: indie) format of the station. I don't know how many telephone arguments I've been in with former and current WUAG DJ's who are pissed that I won't play their favorite Pavement or Of Montreal song because it's not from a movie.

'You guys are on WUAG, this is what you're supposed to play!' they'll always say, incredulously.

To which I usually respond, 'Yeah, but it's not what "The Movie Show" plays.'

These types of heated exchanges usually lead to repeat calls from the angered listeners who eventually call our show, "Shit" and the music we play, "Shitty." Talks like these used to plummet me into a deep depression, but I've grown to handle it much better lately.

So thanks, WUAG DJ's. You've not only showed up to a lot of our events all over town this year, but you also liked our program enough to make us number one this year over tens of programs that are just as worthy of the spot. I'm sincere when I say this: You guys rock way more than we do, so to win this award made me forget how much of a dork I am - for a little while at least.

Hancock trailer.

Is it me, or did that trailer have sort of a Meteor Man vibe? Apparently, what the trailer doesn't reveal is that Will Smith ends cuckolding Jason Bateman's character by having an affair with his wife.

But I guess they were going more for the goofy, 'oh hell naw!' kind of feel, since the movie's coming out on July 4th, Willie's former stronghold from the late 90's.

And for the record, the part with the whale did make me smile.

"Where good film takes flight!"

Coming soon, "The Movie Show" will have it's very own silk-screen t-shirt. Here's a general idea of what it will look like:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Entitled, "Where good film takes flight!", the t-shirt was designed by master silk-screen artist Caroline Clark. I met Caroline at a local festival in Greensboro. My wife bought one of her beautiful t-shirt designs, and I was so impressed by her work, that I just knew I had to get her to design a t-shirt for the show.

You would never believe how many hoops I had to clear in order to get Caroline on this assignment. She's very busy, and I almost lost her for good when I missed the first meeting we scheduled a month ago.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Hopefully you agree when I say that Caroline was worth both the trouble and expense. The bottom of the shirt features this towering, oppressive force I call 'film spores' - they represent all the bad-to-neutral films Mike and I must endure for the program.

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But rising safely above the film spores is this cute little bird, made out of a film reel with wings and a beak. He basically represents those really good movies, or 'pluses', that are the reason Mike and I do hours of prep for our show each week. The bird might become "The Movie Show" mascot, believe it or not. I was thinking about calling him 'Muuvee'. What do you guys think?

Anyway, stay tuned for info on how to order these shirts. Guess that means I need to start up a Pay Pal account.

I guess the Oscars will have a lot more crappy interpretive dancing this year....

From the AP:

LOS ANGELES - Two of Hollywood's most glamorous events are now caught up in the entertainment industry's ugliest labor dispute in two decades. The Writers Guild of America, West, will not allow its members to write for the Golden Globes on Jan. 13 nor the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

The group's board of directors decided not to give the academy an interim agreement for writing services, a person close to the guild said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment. The person declined to say when the decision had been made.

The guild's decision raised the temperature in the already heated contract dispute between writers and studios. Talks aimed at ending the costly strike, now in its seventh week, broke down Dec. 7 in a flurry of insults that has yet to cease.

After talks ended, the alliance claimed guild leaders were trying to increase their power at the expense of members. Union leaders accused the alliance of "lies" aimed at sowing doubt and dissension in union ranks.

Now the guild is casting the strike shadow over the Oscars, the industry's key showcase for its finest films and hottest actors. The Golden Globes represent another important promotional vehicle.

The guild made a similar move before the 1988 Oscars when writers last walked out on studios. That strike lasted five months.

With the strike drawing support from the Screen Actors Guild, which faces its own contract negotiations next year, actors' participation as Oscar guests and presenters might be affected — diminishing the star power that drives TV viewership.

Jon Stewart, a writers guild member, was announced as host of this year's Academy Awards, but he has honored the strike: His "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central has been in reruns since the walkout began.

An e-mail sent to Stewart's publicist seeking comment was not immediately returned Monday night.

(To read more, read here.)


Man, I hope they fix this writer's strike, and soon. Otherwise, I'm going to have a harder time watching all the winners grab their trophies than ever before. Think about it, if Diablo Cody wins for her Juno screenplay (that's right, she cannot make a clever or witty speech, lest she be accused of preparing one and thus breaking the strike.

And the whole deal with John Stewart is just totally effed. I was so excited to hear he was going to be hosting again, but this WGA strike means no writing jokes, or according to some sources, live improvisation. We reported two weeks ago on the show that actors who are also WGA members were prohibited from ad-libbing on productions that began filming during the strike. My guess is that the same will apply for the Oscars, too.

I want writers to be compensated for their work, but I think the ban on the Golden Globes and the Oscars especially is a bit excessive. The only entertainment workers besides producers who get paid for awards shows are the writers. The rest of the money the awards show brings in goes to the preservation of classic cinema and film history. Actors and actresses who present the awards just get a basket full of swag (which is now taxable, apparently). Also, the Oscars aren't re-ran - nor do they sell massive numbers of DVD's. I mean if Letterman can strike a deal, why can't the Academy?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winners of the 2007 Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards.

Voted for the 2007 SEFCA awards on Saturday, and before I had time to digest some of the radical decisions I had made, the winners were annonced this morning. I thought I would share this press release with you guys. Strangely, the movie I picked for my number one film of the year didn't make this list in any form, shape, or fashion. What movie would that be, you ask? You'll have to wait until Friday to find out.

All in all, there were five of my top 10 which made SEFCA's list, and only two other awards wherein my votes matched the winners ("Best Animated Feature," "Best Documentary" & "Best Original Screenplay").

Press release after the colon:


DECEMBER 17 - The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) yesterday named No Country for Old Men the Best Picture of 2007 in its 16th annual voting. The powerful crime thriller, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel, earned a total of four awards, its other victories coming in the categories of Best Director (Joel & Ethan Coen), Best Adapted Screenplay (also the Coens) and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem).

No Country for Old Men proved to be the only multiple winner, as the rest of the association's awards were split up among several pictures.

Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his mesmerizing turn as a ruthless oil baron in There Will Be Blood, while Julie Christie earned Best Actress for her poignant performance as an Alzheimer's patient in Away from Her.

In the closest race of the day, Amy Ryan snagged the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in Gone Baby Gone; she beat runner-up Cate Blanchett (competing for I'm Not There) by one point.

In other contests, Diablo Cody received Best Original Screenplay for Juno, while the French production The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was cited as Best Foreign Language Film. The Best Documentary prize went to the Iraq War
analysis No End In Sight, and the summer blockbuster Ratatouille nabbed the honors as Best Animated Film.

In its third year, the Wyatt Award went to Waitress, a comedy-drama by the late writer-director-actress Adrienne Shelly. Named after the late SEFCA member Gene Wyatt, the prize seeks to honor one film each year that best
embodies the essence of the South.

In addition to naming its Best Picture, SEFCA also releases (in order) its Top 10 for the year. The complete list follows.

1. No Country for Old Men
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Atonement
4. Juno
5. Michael Clayton
6. Zodiac
7. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
8. Gone Baby Gone
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
10. Into the Wild

Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
* Runner-up: George Clooney - Michael Clayton

Julie Christie - Away from Her
* Runner-up: Ellen Page - Juno

Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men
* Runner-up: Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward
Robert Ford

Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
* Runner-up: Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There

Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
* Runner-up: Joe Wright - Atonement

Diablo Cody - Juno
* Runner-up: Tamara Jenkins - The Savages

Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
* Runner-up: Christopher Hampton - Atonement

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France)
* Runner-up: La vie en rose (France)

No End in Sight
* Runner-up: Sicko

* Runner-up: The Simpsons Movie

* Runner-up: Black Snake Moan

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chewing the ice with Jay Floyd (Thursday's show).

On this week’s episode of “The Movie Show” Joe and Mike chew the ice with indie filmmaker Jay Floyd, director of the Sundance hit Forgiving the Franklins. And if that wasn’t cool enough, they also dish on the nominees for the Golden Globes.

News items discussed include a planned Metropolis remake, James Cameron’s Avatar getting the old switcharoo and a free sequel to Jackass: The Movie. As far as reviews go, Mike takes on the fighting atheist polar bears of The Golden Compass, while Joe delves into the old memory bank to discuss the absurdity of the 1990’s disaster flick Twister.

Soundtrack Selections:

“Walk Hard” by John C. Riley from Walk Hard;
“Grace is Gone” by Jamie Collum from Grace is Gone;
“Lonely Christmas Eve” by Ben Folds from The Grinch.

Click here!

Forgiving the Franklins trailer.

Check out this red-band trailer for Forgiving the Franklins, the Sundance hit from Greensboro native Jay Floyd. It's playing at the Carousel all week, and for a genuine low-budget indie, I enjoyed it a great deal.

Friday, December 14, 2007

So that's what Billy Murray said at the end of Lost in Translation?

Mike just e-mailed me the following clip. A group of YouTubers claim to have digitally reprocessed the ending of Lost in Translation so that you can understand what Bill Murray's saying.

The final line is one of the great mysteries of recent film history. It's tantamount to whatever might rest in the brief case in Pulp Fiction. And while there's no process that can be used to solve the brief case mystery, the final line has now been revealed in all it's anti-climatic glory. Enjoy:

Mike said he doesn't know if he buys it. What do you guys think?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jackass 2.5 trailer.

Apparently, they'll be giving this film away for free online.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Round-up of movie posters.

Just in time for Christmas, looks like studios are filling up the lobbies of their movie theaters with posters of next year's would-be blockbusters.

I got three of them for you:

The Dark Knight
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Man, that looks awesome. Using the Batman Begins symbol to represent Heath-Joker's scarred smile. Color me excited, though, I hope this doesn't mean I'm getting set-up for another Spider-Man 3.

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In poster form, Indy doesn't seem to be aging whatsoever. Too bad we can't say the same for Harrison Ford. Last Friday, my wife asked me why I don't seem to be excited about Indy IV whatsoever. I told her it was because the original three films are nearly iconic in my memory, as if each scene was etched in stone. The fact that they are yoking three of the best adventure films of all time with a needless sequel starring Shia Labeouf of all people can only make me more and more jaded as the release date approaches.

On the other hand, this next poster has made me *VERY* excited....
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
What a delirious construction of basic arts and craft supplies. Granted that the movie doesn't suck, I plan on buying this poster for Be Kind Rewind as soon as it's available.

Wolverine vs. King Leonidas?

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(Gerard Butler doing what he does best - screaming with an arrow in his chest!)

This story came out a tad bit late for last Thursday's edition of Comic Book Corner, but Chud reports that 300 star Gerard Butler might pit his chiseled abs against Hugh Jackman's adamantium claws in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. According to writer Devin Faraci, Butler is in talks to play none other than Sabertooth.

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(Gerard Butler's abs, a.k.a. 'The Money-Makers' or 'The Reason I Hate Going to the Swimming Pool')

Is it true? Could be, especially since both the Escape from New York remake and The Untouchables prequel that Butler was attached to star in this coming year have stalled out. He would definitely be a much better choice for the role than Tyler Mane, who played Sabertooth in X-Men. Dude's a pro-wrestler, not an actor. What's worse is that Mane looks like a white Klingon on steroids even without the horrible make-up they gave him for the part.

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Co-host Mike would call this an act of 'ret-con,' a comic book term referring to the changing of continuity after the fact. Comic Book writers use this all too often whenever the creators before them have painted iconic characters like Spider-Man, Superman, Batman Et. al into a corner.

If Butler does indeed take over the part for Mane, it won't be the first time an X-Men character was ret-conned in the movies. You may remember that Dr. Hank "Beast" McCoy was played by Canadian actor Steve Bacic during a small cameo in X2, only to be replaced by a blue fur-covered Kelsey Grammer in X3.

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(Steve Bacic)

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(The Cookie Monster)

I wonder why they didn't pull a George Lucas and simply re-shoot the X2 cameo with Grammer for the DVD?

2007 Butt-Numb-a-Thon lineup.

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What is Butt-Numb-A-Thon? It's sort of a film festival put on by Aint-It-Cool-News in Austin, Texas where they play a lot of cult and unreleased films. They play these films back-to-back, 24 hours straight, hence the name. What makes the festival so unique is that no one besides Aint-It-Cool's Harry Knowles knows what the films are going to be playing.

I attended Butt-Numb-A-Thon 3 back in 2001 and had a blast. I got to see Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring nearly a whole month early, but my favorite film of the evening was the Roger Corman quickie Rock All Night. With an hour running time, Rock All Night has some of the best tough-guy dialogue I had ever heard, a hilarious phony beatnik poseur named 'Sir Bop', and last but not least, a youthful Dick Miller (Murray Futterman from Gremlins) in all his sarcastic glory. After that screening, I have probably watched Rock All Night 100 times. Apparently, the movie also inspired Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to make Grindhouse.

Here are the films that played this past Saturday/Sunday:

The Great McGinty
Charlie Wilson's War
Pickup on South Street
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Sweeney Todd
Lonely are the Brave
The Poughkeepsie Tapes
Teen Lust
The City on The Edge of Forever
(episode of Star Trek, broadcast in HD)
Farewell Uncle Tom
Trick 'r Treat

Making up the new films this year were Charlie Wilson's War, Mongol, Sweeney Todd, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and Trick 'r Treat. Nice, but not quite as remarkable considering that last year, they screened a 90% completed version of 300. Rumor has it, they were supposed to play JJ Abrams Cloverfield, too, but the print got lost in the mail. Ha.

I'll definitely have to catch the new films that played, except for Sweeney Todd, which I've already seen.

But the films that intrigue me the most are the older ones. You better believe that Farewell Uncle Tom and The Great McGinty are at the top of my Netflix queue.

Might have to pass on Teen Lust, however.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

[PODCAST] Of Pop-Docs and Carpet-Baggers (Thursday's show)

In order to get ready for last Thursday’s premier screening of Kurt Cobain About a Son, Joe and Mike had to end this episode of “The Movie Show” about two segments early. At any rate, this week’s podcast is bursting at the seams with interesting movie news, reviews, and the boys’ patented brand of geeky, esoteric hilarity.

Joe drops the scoop on Morgan “Super-Size Me” Spurlock’s hunt for Osama, Mike reviews Frank Darabont’s The Mist, and both of them send a special radio ‘Thank You’ to all the carpet-baggers who unselfishly made the South a more cultured - and less cannibalistic - place to live. Plus they drop another edition of Comic Book Corner.

This week’s Soundtrack Selections include:
“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople from Juno;
“Something on Your Mind” by Karen Dalton from Margot at the Wedding;
“White Christmas” by the Drifters from Home Alone.

Click here!

Working on the 'ole top 10.

I've got one week from tomorrow to decide which of this year's films were good enough to make my top ten. And if that wasn't bad enough, I've also got to rank them, and declare my number one. This was so easy last year. I watched Sympathy for Lady Vengence on DVD, and it blew me away. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a movie since then that has given me the same feeling.

Now, I'm not saying that there weren't any good movies this year. There were even a few great ones, but I can't help but to admit that none of them, to borrow a phrase from the internet, really OWNED me. There are still a few '2007 films' I haven't seen yet, meaning movies that will be coming out early next year, but will campaign for various critics' top 10 lists so as to be considered for Oscar recognition. For me, those films include The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Copolla's Youth Without Youth, Persepolis, and Chop Shop. If you or someone you know has a way for me to see any of those films before next Saturday, or if you have a suggestion for another 2007 film I should see let me know.

Here is the list of movies I've seen this year. I posted something similar last year, however, this year's list is going to be a little more productive. First, I am going to mark all the films I really enjoyed in bold. These will be the films vying in my head for my top 10. I'm also going to mark all the horrible ones that stand no chance of breaking in my list with a strike mark. Although, some films were so bad this year, I wish an HTML programmer had developed a double strike, a triple strike, and sometimes even an embedded java function that shoots a dull pain into a filmmaker's body every time someone clicks on the title for his horrible movie. As for the rest of the films, the ones I left unmarked, those are pretty much the movies I either felt neutral about or just liked.

Here's the list, in no particular order:

No End in Sight
Kurt Cobain About a Son
Margot at the Wedding

The Host
Rocket Science
Alpha Dog
Epic Movie
Smokin' Aces
Hannibal Rising

Ghost Rider
The Astronaut Farmer
The Number 23
Black Snake Moan

Reign Over Me
Blades of Glory
The Lookout
Meet the Robinsons
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
In the Land of Women

The Condemned
Spider-Man 3
28 Weeks Later
Delta Farce

Black Book
Pirates of the Caribean: At Worlds End
Knocked Up
Mr. Brooks
Hostel: Part II
Ocean's Thirteen
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Evan Almighty
Live Free or Die Hard
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Rescue Dawn
The Simpsons Movie
The Bourne Ultimatum
Hot Rod
September Dawn
Death Sentence
3:10 to Yuma
Shoot 'Em Up
In the Valley of Elah
Eastern Promises

Across the Universe
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Into the Wild

Feast of Love
Lust, Caution
The Darjeeling Limited

The Heartbreak Kid
Michael Clayton
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Wristcutters: A Love Story
30 Days of Night
Gone Baby Gone
Things We Lost in the Fire
Dan in Real Life
American Gangster
Fred Claus
No Country for Old Men
Bee Movie
Balls of Fury
Sweeney Todd
Starting Out the Evening
The Savages
There Will Be Blood

The Mist
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me. Wish me luck, or give some helpful suggestions if you can.

Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer (the trailer, that is)!

Warning: This trailer you are about to see was obviously intended to recreate the feelings one might experience while under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

Wow. Larry Washowski has undergone a sex change, and the Washowski Brothers (or Siblings?) co-directed Speed Racer. After seeing this trailer, I am sure you will agree that the later story is the most bizarre of the two.

I think it was ballsy of the Washowski's to attempt this film with such bright and vibrant colors. They're basically replicating the process used to make 300 and Sin City, two movies which used almost no color whatsoever so as to blur the fact that everything on-screen besides the actors was faked. With all of its colors, Speed Racer doesn't have that luxury, meaning there are several scenes where the actors simply don't match the color and the lighting of their backgrounds. Plus, some of those cars look like Hot Wheels.

Beyond that, Speed Racer looks like it could be really exciting. But then again, what movie with ninja assassins doesn't? Count me excited with a twist of caution.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Kurt Cobain About a Son article.

As seen in this week's issue of GoTriad!:

Nearly everyone who spent part of their adolescence during the '90s did so hearing the crackly, almost mumble-like quality of Kurt Cobain's voice through his music and limited TV appearances before his suicide in 1994.

However, it wasn't until I saw the documentary "Kurt Cobain About a Son" that I actually had the chance to really listen to him speak.

That's because A.J. Schnack the film's director, chose early on to chronicle the late rocker's life without interviewing friends, family or celebrity fans. He also didn't incorporate the music Cobain recorded with his now legendary band, Nirvana, nor use pictures of his face until the very end of the film.

"Kurt Cobain About a Son" simply allows viewers to hear the rocker's life story through his own words. The result is a documentary that steals Cobain away from the media-carved image of a tragic, grunge-rock martyr and restores a sense of his humanity.

"My nephew was turning 13 when I was first thinking about the project," Schnack says via telephone.

"And I could tell that the Kurt he knew was this constructed caricature of a guy and was completely dominated by the terrible end to Kurt's life.

"(Kurt) was interesting for a lot of reasons, and almost none of those reasons have anything to do with heroin use or Courtney (Love) or the variety of issues that we still deal with today."

(Click here to read the rest of the article.)

Hopefully everyone who reads this page knows the film will be screening tonight at 9:30 p.m. Mike Compton and I will be on hand to give away a few prizes, so bone up on your Kurt Cobain trivia.

There was a surge of ticket sales for the film yesterday, and so I am going to repeat myself: If you want to see this film tonight, you must, MUST, pre-order. It's as simple as that. You can do that by driving over to the Carousel Luxury Cinemas box-office this morning, or if you want to save gas and time, you can purchase the tickets online. I don't want to see anyone I know crying because they couldn't get in.

So get on the ark, people - the flood is a comin'.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Prince Caspian trailer.

This looks less goofy than the first movie - God, I hope that's the case.

Monday, December 03, 2007

JoBlo's exclusive Pineapple Express trailer!

JoBlo posted an extended clip from NCSA alum David Gordon Green's upcoming comedy, Pineapple Express. The film stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as a pair of stoners who bumble their way into the path of a murderous drug ring in the desert. Sounds like Cheech and Chong meet Anton Chigurh, but anything with David Gordon Green's involvment automatically gets me interested.

Check it out:

I'm guessing that whoever rang the doorbell was apart of that murderous drug ring, but we'll all have to find out for sure when the movie's released on August 8th of next year.

Brett Ingram's Rocaterrania trailer.

Brett Ingram is unstoppable. Here is the trailer for his second film:

On the scale of a locally-produced indie, Rocaterrania looks pretty epic. I can't wait to see it.

International Juno trailer.

More Diablo Cody goodness can be enjoyed in the trailer below. So, uh, enjoy.

After checking this film out last week, Mike declared Juno his favorite film of the year. His declaration was pretty much instantaneous, and while I am holding out hope that PTA's There Will Be Blood will blow my mind away, I enjoyed Juno about as much as I enjoyed any other film this year. A great film. If you didn't think actress Ellen Page was great after Hard Candy, nor Jason Reitman after Thank You For Smoking, you will after this film.

As for screenwriter Diablo Cody, it pretty much goes without saying that she has made for herself the debut of the year. I am instantly looking forward to all of her future projects. This film could have been unbearably sarcastic, anti-parents and anti-men in general, but Juno is surprisingly sweet, and in a way, wholesome. I would argue that even right-wingers could enjoy this film if they could get over the fact that it's about a pregnant teen who uses swear words from time to time.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Holy promotional photos, Señor Batman!

On the topic of The Dark Knight publicity coming from unlikely sources, Spanish website just released six nifty photos from the project, five of which feature Heath Ledger as The Joker.

Check them out:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Every time I get ready to post something non-comics related this morning, a new story, image, or video keeps popping up. It's almost like the ads for an online dating service. At any rate, if you want to see the rest of the publicity photos and read the original article written in Spanish, simply click here.

I've been BLOGGED!

Check it out!

Roving movie geek Attila Gokbudak - whose name might lead one to think he was a Hunnic raider with a time machine, that is until you find out his nickname is 'Tilly' - plugged our December 6th screening of Kurt Cobain About a Son.

I'm just glad it didn't hurt.

Snyder's Watchmen is looking good.

Maxim ran a photo comparison from Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie and the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons:

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The art design looks very similar to Gibbons' artwork without getting weighed down by all the shot-for-shot remake nonsense of Rodriquez's Sin City. But I've never doubted Snyder's ability to recapture the design of the original book. It's the story and themes that I am most concerned with. And now that Snyder hired Transformers (2007) scribes Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman to revise and finish his screenplay, I'm a little worried.

Anyway, here are some more pictures from the production:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wait a minute, who's that guy walking towards the left of the screen? Let me use my Bat-Computer to get a closer look:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Tim Burton's Superman.

Long before Bryan Singer supposedly screwed up with Superman Returns, Tim Burton had his own Supes flick in the works entitled, Superman Lives!. The movie was to be based on the death and re-birth of Superman, and had a script by Kevin Smith. The craziest part, however, was that actor Nicholas Cage had signed a pay or play contract to appear as Superman. Basically, this meant he was able to keep the $25 million they gave him, even if the project fell apart in pre-production.

Well it did.

And now that I've had a chance to gaze at this production design from the project, the only thing I can think to say is, "Thank God!":
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While a great director, Burton clearly had no business making a Superman film. If they had actually made Superman Lives! with this particular look for the title character, they might as well have called it Edward Superhands. Sure, Mr. Blue Tights would have been re-born in the film, which would technically mean he was part of the walking - and flying - undead, but that's not a good enough reason for him to look like a zombie. Actually, he kind of looks like Bizarro in a way.

Part of the reason that Superman Returns cost so much to make is because Singer & co. had to absorb most of the money spent on the Superman Lives! project. And while Superman Returns made all of that money back plus more in the theaters and on DVD, many people still consider it a flop.

But anyone who was able to take a production that lingered in the lowest rung of development hell for more than ten years, and who in the process rescued its iconic hero from looking like the picture above, deserves major kudos in my book. Way to go, Singer! And hurry up already with your sequel, The Man of Steel.

So who got the exclusive Dark Night interviews?

Was it online movie site Aint-it-Cool?


Wizard Magazine, the monthly comic books guide?


60 Minutes?

Wrong again.

Then who?

Al @%$!@-ing Roker, and you can see for yourself how very little he knows about Batman by watching the video below:

My favorite line was when Al Roker said to Christian Bale, "When we last saw Batman, you had gotten rid of...THE VILLAINS. There was a homicidal guy...THE JOKER out there. Where do we pick up here?"

It's funny because you can tell Roker is attempting to remember the names of Batman Begins villains Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul, and couldn't. Then there was a brief moment where he almost didn't even know the Joker's name. Thank God he was able to right that part at the last second.

And yes, perhaps I am being too hard on the guy. He is basically just a weatherman/reader of old ladies' birthdays. If someone offered me seven figures per year to tape interviews with celebrities on subjects I had not researched, I would probably have a hard time saying no, too. Also, despite Roker's obvious ignorance on the subject of Batman, the clip had some interesting sneak peaks into the film. I just really hope they don't pull another Spider-Man 3 come July 18th.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

'The Co-Dependent Spirit Awards' (or Last Thursday's Show).

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On this week’s episode of “The Movie Show,” Joe Scott gears up for next week’s Kurt Cobain About a Son premier by speaking with its director AJ Schnack, Mike reviews No Country for Old Men, and both of them laugh at the low DVD sales of “Spider-Man 3.”

There’s also news on Sundance ’08, the Independent Spirit awards, and a pair of upcoming movies starring Sam ‘The Man’ Jackson. Joe doubles back to review Enchanted, and Mike gets the idea for the ‘Co-Dependent Spirit Awards.’

Soundtrack Selections include:
“Loose Lips” by Kimya Dawson from Juno;
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Dylan cover) by Anthony and the Johnsons from I’m Not There;
“Happy Working Song” by Amy Adams from Enchanted.

Click here!