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The Big Screen Bulletin 11.10.08: When the Girls are Away, The Boys Will Play

November 10, 2008 | Posted by Chad Webb

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Countdown to Quantum: The Bulletin’s Best of Bond

I must apologize to the movie staff because I would have loved to get them involved in ranking Bond’s best films, but I thought of the idea too late. I was so immersed in Bond this past weekend that I couldn’t pull myself away to do a straight to video nightmare. I elected to rate my favorite Bond installments instead. I love this franchise. Even the movies I put towards the bottom of the list are adventures I can watch again if I had to.

I perused message boards and other lists to see what others felt and came to a conclusion. Most put Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Casino Royale and Goldeneye near the top, but after that, everyone seems to have completely different tastes. While some people detest Timothy Dalton, others like him. That would be me. I grew up in the 80’s so cut me some slack. The same could be said for Sir Roger Moore. Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan are the Bonds I enjoy watching the most. As for Mr. Moore, he can be light hearted, but when nearly every line he utters is meant for laughs, I tend to grow aggravated.

Be aware that many of the Bond films could be rated around 3 stars, so while you may be startled to see Moonraker higher than You Only Live Twice, both were about the same, so I came to my decision based on things I found neat that others may not. The argument could be made that would have not yet seen a spotless Bond film, but a couple certainly come close. The point is this series has lasted throughout the years because Bond’s core has remained the same. He stll walks into a room with a strong presence, still takes his martinis the same way, and still loves women. His missions are an ideal form of escapism. Without further ado, here are the Bulletin’s best to worst Bond movies:

This article may have spoilers

23. Die Another Day (2002) – I hate this movie so passionately. I was so eager to see this in the theater, and all the talk of Jinx (Halle Berry) receiving her own spin-off film had me intrigued. But then Bond surfs, and the concluding fight on the burning plane is insulting in its ludicrousness. Yes, most Bond films push the envelope, but there is a line to avoid crossing, and this one leaps over it.

22. Octopussy (1983) – Bond dresses as a clown. Need I say more?

21. The World is Not Enough (1999) – Denise Richards is curvy and scrumptious, but when she is portraying a nuclear physicist named Christmas (cue one-liners) and Robert Carlyle is a terrorist who feels no pain, my eyes roll instinctively. Give me a break, and Pierce even has a line where he says the title. I really can’t stand that.

20. Diamonds are Forever (1971) – Guy Hamilton returned as director here, and Connery was lured back as the highest paid actor for the time, but this is an unimpressive entry overall. The extended car chase, starting on the moonbuggy is the only genuinely positive attribute I can conjur. Connery is ok, but the script is not.

19. The Man with the Golden Gun (1975) – This is no doubt the funniest Bond had to offer with Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, and his sidekick Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize – “The Plane! The Plane!”), but that is mainly a negative. Parts of it are entertaining and neat, such as the villains desire to kill for sport, but so much is cartoonish that every time you watch, it gets worse…trust me.

18. Never Say Never Again* (1983) – I had juggled with whether or not I should include this since it is not an official entry (and not an EON Production), but Sean Connery plays James Bond, so that was good enough for me. Segments of this remake are extremely satisfactory, but other aspects are almost unwatchable. I laughed out loud during the Domination sequence. Max Von Sydow is solid as Blofeld, but the screenplay is a mess. Something is just off about it I can’t quite put my finger on.

17. A View to a Kill (1985) – How bad can a movie be when Christopher Walken is the central bad guy? Well, other than his chilling performance, there is not much of note about this one besides that it was Moore’s and Lois Maxwell’s last bow. Grace Jones acts as a gargantuan thug named May Day, who is scary to her credit, and the Golden Gate bridge conclusion was marvelous, but the computer geared plot is not intriguing whatsoever.

16. Live and Let Die (1973) – The best part about this movie is the music. The title song, written by Paul & Linda McCartney, and performed by Wings is outstanding, but the rest involves a Tarot priestess, a voodoo doctor, and an endless speedboat chase. This was Sir Roger’s first effort, and transition pieces can be bumpy.

15. You Only Live Twice (1967) – In terms of gadgets and set design, this film beats them all, regardless of Connery’s Japanese disguise. However, Donald Pleasance is not the menacing Blofeld we were hoping to see (though the volcano lair is rad), and the number of times Bond comes so close to dying only to be saved by some preposterous turn of events is annoying.

14. The Living Daylights (1987) – The fact is, Timothy Dalton played Bond according to the time period, and for that matter, the movies were made to favor the 80’s style. I didn’t mind this actioner either. However, this one is not flawless. Joe Don Baker was not the greatest villain, but it does have a foxy Maryam D’Abo as the love interest.

13. Moonraker (1979) – Is this the campiest of all Moore’s Bonds? Yes, it most certainly is, and that is exactly why I don’t mind watching it. It was the answer to the Star Wars popularity, and it packed a great space battle, giant snakes, cable car fights, and mean Dobermans. Jaws falling in love was silly, and Michael Lonsdale looked tired at times, but the special effects make up for it. It was also Bernard Lee’s last performance as M.

12. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – I have to admit I love this movie. The song by Sheryl Crow was fantastic, and Teri Hatcher is a sexy Bond girl. This showcased Bond’s vulnerable side again, plus Michelle Yeoh made a hard-hitting Chinese spy, and the action is excellent.

11. Quantum of Solace (2008) – Although tarnished by an over abundance of action sequences, this direct-sequel to Casino Royale is gripping, well-acted, and fast paced. This takes the franchise in a risky new direction, but Marc Forster’s direction shined in the spots it needed to.

10. Dr. No (1962) – The introduction to James Bond was simple, modest, but gripping and deserves respect for setting the standard. Sean Connery was a bit rough around the edges, but this is one that does not get old as the years go by. And Honey Ryder emerges from the water. Nuff said. Check out my review of the new Blu-Ray edition here.

9. For Your Eyes Only (1981) – I’ll be truthful, this is one I have not seen in quite some time, but I do remember that it was Moore’s most serious turn. The cliff climb was terrific, as was the subcompact chase and the parrot.

8. License to Kill (1989) – Whether you love him or hate him, this was a unique Bond film for Timothy Dalton. Dalton’s version of Bond was a tough SOB that took shi* from no one. It’s the 80’s, so you have drugs of course, but come on, Robert Davi and Benicio Del Toro are in the cast.

7. Thunderball (1965) – An underrated Bond for sure that has so many unforgettable sequences, including a crazy underwater battle, Golden Gratto sharks, Blofeld’s exploding chair, and Bond’s best escape in the jetpack. This was Terence Young’s final hurrah at the helm, and one of Connery’s best outings as 007. Check out the Blu-Ray review here.

6. Casino Royale (2006) – I initially disliked the idea of a blonde Bond, but Daniel Craig proved to all the naysayers that he could fit well into the series with this riveting action thriller. This was a spectacular reboot, and the only reason it isn’t higher is due to the fact that it has not had the opportunity to age just yet, and in this franchise that is important.

5. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – It took a second viewing, but of all the Roger Moore films, this is the one I found most likable. The storyline is basically You Only Live Twice with submarines instead of spaceships, but it is also more believable, and the relationship between Bond and Major Amasova. Oh, and Richard Kiel is awesome as Jaws.

4. Goldeneye (1995) – The first adventure with the Bros. No one calls him that, but this is one of the juiciest plots, that also has neat gadgetry, and a masterful Dame Judi Dench as M. If that weren’t enough, you have Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, and Alan Cumming in superb supporting parts.

3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – Honestly, the first time I watched this, I was unimpressed. But out of all the Bond movies, this is definitely one that gets better with repeated viewings. Like Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a new layer can be discovered each time with Peter Hunt’s magnificent direction. On the bad side, George Lazenby is a rather bland Bond, but you get used to him.

2. From Russia with Love (1963) – The second film was so very polished, and began to accentuate the panache of the character, and of its Director Terence Young. The plot is also very grounded. And who can forget Rosa Klebb’s poison tipped shoes, and the fight between Connery and Robert Shaw? Read the Blu-Ray review here.

1. Goldfinger (1964) – Perhaps the only perfect James Bond film. It is the best example of the franchise. This installment has the most memorable characters such as the titular villain and Pussy Galore. Plus, it has a dead woman covered in gold and a super neat car. Few would argue that this belongs at the top.

The News Bulletin

Animals Rule the Box Office
There was no escaping the strength of DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” as it bowed domestically to an estimated $63.5 million from 4,056 theaters. Family pic narrowly scored the best opening of the year for an animated title, besting the $63 million for Disney-Pixar’s “Wall-E,” according to the preliminary results. “Escape 2 Africa” — which also the saw the seventh best opening of all time for a toon — marked a rollicking start for the holiday box office. But the biggest surprise of the weekend was Universal’s Seann William Scott-Paul Rudd laffer “Role Models,” which grossed an estimated $19.3 million from 2,792 runs, according to Rentrak.

Most, including U, thought the raunchy R-rated comedy would gross $10 million-$12 million, given that the Weinstein Co.’s R-rated “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” debuted to $10 million the week before. The other new release of the weekend, “Soul Men,” was the odd man out. The MGM/Dimension Films comedy, starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, underperformed in grossing an estimated $5.6 million from 2,044 runs to come in No. 6 for the sesh. Among new specialty releases, Miramax’s Holocaust drama “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” based on John Boyne’s book, posted a per screen average of $15,000 in grossing an estimated $225,000 from 17 theaters in eight markets.

Rocco also noted the playability of Universal’s “Changeling,” the Angelina Jolie starrer directed by Clint Eastwood. Pic placed No. 4 for the frame, dipping 22% to an estimated $7.4 million from 1,855 theaters; cume is $20.6 million in its second weekend in wide release. Among other holdovers, Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” remained a powerhouse in its third weekend, coming in No. 3 and declining 39% to an estimated $9.3 million for a cume of $75.7 million. Lionsgate’s “Saw V” placed No. 7 in its third frame, declining 57% to an estimated $4.2 million for a cume of $52.3 million.
–From Variety

To nobody’s surprise, Madagascar 2 easily got the #1 spot. I didn’t expect Role Models to score such a high number, but I have been hearing positive things through the grapevine, so maybe I will check it out. Elsewhere, HSM3 is staying strong at #3, as are Saw V and yes, even Eagle Eye which is hanging on for dear life at #10. Zack and Miri Make a Porno took a huge hit this week, while Changeling is climbing the ladder steadily. Soul Men debuted about as well as expected. Although I hope it does win the weekend, I am betting that Madagascar 2 maintains its position over Quantum of Solace.

Remaking a Modern Masterpiece
Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are in early discussions to collaborate on a remake of Chan Wook-park’s highly acclaimed 2003 Korean action hit “Oldboy” reports Variety. In the original, a man gets kidnapped and held in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. Suddenly, he’s released and given money, a cell phone and clothes and is set on a path to discover who destroyed his life so he can take revenge. Smith who would play the kidnapped man if all the pieces fall into place and Spielberg is looking for a writer to begin the development process. The film will likely get underway once Spielberg finishes his directorial duties on the first “Tintin” film. DreamWorks is in the process of securing the remake rights and the new film will be distributed by Universal.
–From Dark Horizons

Oldboy is one of my favorite films of all-time, and if I had my wish, a remake would not happen under any circumstances, no matter who the filmmaker is. However, if one must occur, I will bite my tongue since the Director is Steven Spielberg, and the star is Will Smith. If anyone could transfer the profundity of the script, and layers of the characters to the US, it would be these two. This is not a complete shock since rumors have been flying for many years that Oldboy would get the remake treatment. In an age of endless remakes, I am a bit disappointed at this news, but at least they are tackling it with the best of intentions.

Release Date Changes!
The 20th Century Fox drama-thriller starring Liam Neeson has moved back one week from January 23rd 2009 to January 30th.

The Gerard Butler-led sci-fi thriller from the team behind Crank will finally come out on September 4th 2009.

Joining Game will be the Overture sci-fi horror starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, which is also now scheduled for September 4th 2009.

The Crazies
The Overture Films remake of the George A. Romero cult classic will come out September 25th 2009.

Let The Right One In
The Matt Reeves-directed remake of the acclaimed foreign-language horror will come out January 15th 2010 against Warner Bros’ The Book of Eli.
–From Dark Horizons

I saw an image of Ben Foster from Pandorum that was bad ass. Foster always seems to act like an insane maniac at some point in every one of his movies or TV show appearances now. Any sci-fi is welcomed since we received very little of that genre this year. Since The Crazies will not be on its way until next Fall, I don’t have to rush my Netflix queue for the original, which I have yet to see. Let the Right One in is already receiving a remake?! Isn’t the original still in theaters? I detest when studios pull this crap. Let the original percolate with audiences first. They made the same announcement when The Lives of Others won the Oscar. Syndey Pollack wanted to remake it immediately. Mercifully, I have not heard much about that lately. Matt Reeves is the Cloverfield director, who expressed some talent, so what does he do? A remake, which shows no creativity or ambition whatsoever.

Another Trip Down the Yellow Brick Road
Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion will be off to see the Wizard of Oz again in a new CG-animated retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel. Variety reports that Excalibur and The Tailor of Panama helmer John Boorman will make his feature animation directing debut on the $25 million The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Unlike the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland, this version will not be a musical. Boorman scripted Oz along with Robots scribes Ron Mita and Jim McClain. The trade says it’s slated for a 2010 release.
–From Variety

Director John Boorman, the same man who gave us Excalibur, Exorcist II, and Zardoz is 75 years old, and decides to dive into a CGI adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. What in the blue hell would propel him to do this? It doesn’t matter if it is a musical or not. Their have been dozens of adaptations of this story (both live-action and animated), and all have been forgotten except one…and you know what it is. Amidst all of these spin-off tales like the Tin Man mini-series, the Wicked musical, and the rest of Gregory Maguire’s novels, someone thought this was a wise choice. Wow, the level of intelligence is just amazing.

Twilight doesn’t open until two weeks from tonight (at midnight), but Fandango is reporting that nearly 100 show times for the November 21 release are already sold-out across the nation, from Sacramento, Calif. to Gainesville, Florida. Twilight accounts for 63% of all ticket sales on Fandango, the nation’s largest movie ticketing destination, outpacing those of High School Musical 3 at the same point in that film’s sales cycle (two weeks before release date). A few new stats from our ongoing Twilight moviegoers survey on (as of 11/6/08):

87% of respondents said they saw the trailers and clips online
92% said the trailers and clips made they want to buy a ticket to the movie
73% are most excited to see Robert Pattinson as Edward (respondents were asked to choose one Twilight character they were most excited to see portrayed on the big screen)
31% of Twilight moviegoers are 17 or under; 28% are 18-24; 22% are 25-34; 16% are 35-49; 3% are 50 or over.

Twilight is an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has always been a little bit different, never caring about fitting in with the trendy girls at her Phoenix high school. When her mother re-marries and sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she doesn’t expect much of anything to change. Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a boy unlike any she’s ever met. Edward is a vampire, but he doesn’t have fangs and his family is unique in that they choose not to drink human blood. Intelligent and witty, Edward sees straight into Bella’s soul. Soon, they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance. To Edward, Bella is what he has waited 90 years for -– a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. But what will Edward & Bella do when a clan of new vampires -– James (Cam Gigandet), Laurent (Edi Gathegi) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) -– come to town and threaten to disrupt their way of life? If that’s not enough of a primer for you, check out this extensive Twilight Character Guide at Rotten Tomatoes.
–From IGN

I know of a lot of people that are excited to see this, but I did not realize the anticipation was this high. The books are approaching a Harry Potter level of popularity, and this will likely mean this film will turn into a franchise. What gets me is that so many people want to see this based on the trailer, which I thought looked terrible. I’ll bet a good percentage of the people polled received extra recommendations from friends who enjoy the books. I hope the final result is better than the footage I’ve seen so far.

The 20 Second Sermon

According to Bloody Disgusting, a sequel to 30 Days of Night is in the works. I actually enjoyed the first film, and wish it would be left alone. This will go straight to DVD unless they have another star with status like Hartnett on board. James Cameron’s Avatar will officially be in IMAX 3D. I still can’t wait to see this. I will have to preorder a ticket when the time comes. Steve Carrell is set to play the lead role in The Beaver, about a man who has a Beaver puppet on his hand and treats it like a real creature. We’ve seen this sort of storyline before, but Carrell is funny, so this should not be a total loss. The CW and Warner Brothers have ditched plans for The Graysons, which would have focused on Robin and filled the void left by Smallville because it doesn’t the current film universe. Good. Someone is using their head. Plus they don’t want to irritate Chris Nolan.

What’s Coming to DVD….Buy or Avoid?

DVD Headline of the Week

The General (The 2-Disc Ultimate Edition) – It is one of the best and funniest silent films ever made, and finally Kino has given it the treatment it should have received ages ago. Please buy this. Everyone should own it. Buster Keaton is the man. Buyable

Hellboy II: The Golden Army – You can get this on Blu-Ray, a single disc, and a 3 disc edition. I’ll probably just go with the standard 3 disc. This is a superb sequel that definitely deserves praise. Buyable

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – I’m still not sure why this was put in theaters. It would have resonated better as a DTV release. I hated this, and thought it had little to do with “The Clone Wars.” It was just a bland kid’s film. Forgettable

Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Vol. 4 (1951-1961) – Another glorious round of treasures box sets, and Donald never gets old. These are always special. Look for Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh and The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette (1957-1958 Season), which I know little about.

Quo Vadis (Two-Disc Special Edition) – This is another Roman period piece. I still need to see The Fall of the Roman Empire as well. This stars Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr.

The Boys in the Band – This was directed by William Friedkin, and was one of the first films to openly address gay issues. I am intrigued for sure.

Beer for My Horses – I have no clue what this is about, but it involved Toby Keith, the best candidate for Captain America. Sorry, I had to insert a podcast in-joke.

Warner Brothers Classic Holiday Collection, Vol. 1 – This contains four films: Boys Town, A Christmas Carol (1938), Christmas in Connecticut, and The Singing Nun. Only two of those have anything to do with Christmas. Oh well I guess.

Warner Brothers Classic Holiday Collection, Vol. 2 – This also contains 4 films: Holiday Affair, It Happened on 5th Avenue, Blossoms in the Dust, and All Mine to Give. Sorry, but I have seen approximately none of those. They will be released individually also.

Sukiyaki it during the brief limited run, but did not. Miike is a filmmaker I need to tackle soon.

Planet B-Boy – I remember this at Tribeca like 2 years ago. It is about break dancing. Not my cup of tea. I can’t dance.

Sunset Boulevard – The Centennial Collection – It is certainly one of the best film noirs of all-time. Personally, I give the edge to Double Indemnity, but I own this as well. I’m not sure what, if any, new extras are available. Centennial Collections of Roman Holiday and Sabrina are on sale too. Buyable

WWE: Viva La Raza – The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero – I already own Cheating Death, Stealing Life, but this has a few more matches that easily make it worth the upgrade. I’ll wear my Scarface shirt proudly when I pick this up. Buyable

JFK (Ultimate Collector’s Edition) – This is a double-dip with an added documentary disc, hardcover book, and reproduced Kennedy letters. I don’t own this yet, so this might be worth picking up. Buyable

The Critic’s Quickee

Zack and Miri Make a Porno – This is indeed a good representation of all the strengths Kevin Smith brings to the table. This film is hilarious with an inventive brand of humor, the storyline is unique, and it has heart. However, it is also a good representation of Smith’s major weakness, that being the ending. As a View Askew fanatic from the onset, I can definitely say that Kevin Smith has more trouble with conclusions than he has anything else. For instance, Miramax was the one who is responsible for the Clerks ending. Mallrats, as much as I love the movie, has a very silly ending, and even though I felt it was underrated, Jersey Girl was disappointing because of its ending where Affleck arrives at the school right on time. This is again the case with Zack and Miri Make a Porno because this is an unfinished story, and the way it stops, it should be titled Zack and Miri. If Kevin Smith was as magnificent closing his films as he is opening them, he would be ten times as popular, and I mean that. I enjoyed this a great deal though. As a male who has seen his share of porno, Smith’s aim was right on as he captured all the comedy possibly of this industry. Brandon Routh and Justin Long were fabulous. The entire high school reunion sequence was great actually. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks made a terrific pair. They had chemistry, and were consistently entertaining main characters. Granny Panties was funny bit. Seth Rogen seems to have annoyed some with overexposure, but I say this is another homerun for him. He is getting all this attention for a reason. I loved how Smith used Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson in a new capacity because they are capable of more than just the “Clerks” personas. Craig Robinson was solid as Delaney, the producer, and his exchange with Tisha Campbell-Martin was hysterical. Yes, their are sex scenes in this film, and a lot of nudity, but it is not porno level graphic people. It is no worse than Boogie Nights. Now, I can certainly see this getting funnier with repeated viewings, and yes Smith has kept his gross-out, vulgar shtick alive, but he can mature, and he needs to soon. This was an adept way of disguising the typical romcom with Smith’s trademarks. He even includes a lot of minor references for films buffs. He has a knack for comedy obviously, but he has talent in other areas. I still say Chasing Amy stands atop the pack as his finest film to date. This is another notch in the positive column, but as I said, the ending hurts it for sure. Final Rating = 7.5/10.0

Rachel Getting Married – I realize I saw this a bit late, but I had to because of the buzz Anne Hathaway is receiving, and boy is it justified. She has just delivered a deadly blow to the female competition. Every year, a performance comes along that grabs your attention from the onset, similar to what Marion Cotillard did with La Vie En Rose. Hathaway is the front runner for an Oscar as of now, but a tad less than 2 months are still left, and some heavy hitters will have their own say. Director Jonathan Demme, who also is responsible for The Silence of the Lambs, stood at the helm for this story about Kym, who has been in and out of rehab for many years, and did some terrible things, and is now returning for her sister’s wedding. Of course weddings are a favorite topic for filmmakers. This gives them ample opportunity for drama, a lot can happen all at once, and almost everybody can identify with the event. This particular wedding film is more like a slice of life than a regular motion picture about the big day. It struck me as very Altman-esque. I already mentioned Anne Hathaway, but other superb turns are handed in by Bill Irwin as Kym and Rachel’s father, and Debra Winger as their mother. I won’t delve into excessive detail because I want to urge all readers to see this and experience it for themselves. I found it to be very touching, especially one moment where the groom sings. Every single sequence has an aura of authenticity and produces genuine emotions and I’ve been to a lot of weddings. Demme has made a powerful return to fictional films after a few documentaries. Jenny Lumet, daughter of Sidney, will have a fruitful career as a screenwriter because she has inserted so much heartfelt and realistic dialogue. This is one of the finer movies I have seen this year, and I really hope more can get out to the art house theaters and see it, Final Rating = 9.0/10.0

Based on the Trailer…

Newest Trailers

The Pink Panther 2 – This has a great cast, but I did not like the first remake, so I probably won’t be rushing to the theater for this either. Not my cup of tea. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

November Releases

Quantum of Solace – I saw this weeks ago, but forgot to rate it here. The new Bond movie looks to be just as awesome as Casino Royale. I can’t wait. Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

Transporter 3 – I know George’s buddy is looking forward to anything Statham, but this franchise has never been all that outstanding to me. Statham is hit or miss. I’ll see this I guess, but only out of curiosity. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Australia – The new epic from filmmaker Baz Luhrman seems to have left out his usual exaggerated flair. Kidman and Jackman will make a fine team. I think this looks rather good, and the trailer has a splendid piece of music accompanying it. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

Bolt – It takes exactly two seconds to decipher the Disney CGI to the Pixar Disney CGI. This has John Travolta as the lead voice. The hamster seems funny, but the rest doesn’t impress me. Trailer Rating = 5.5/10.0

Milk – Sean Penn as a gay man. At least we know he wants an Oscar. I love Gus Van Sant, so this should be fabulous no matter how many Oscars they want. The cast has some outstanding young guys in it, so I’m there. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

Four Christmases – Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in a holiday comedy. Yippee. I generally dislike modern Christmas movie because they all go way overboard on the slapstick. This appears to be up that same alley with typical Vaughn shtick. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Twilight – I realize this is a bit of a cheat since the link goes to all the trailers, but I did watch all of them. My conclusion is that a lot of Matrix like action and a lame romance angle will produce a mediocre vampire flick no matter how unique it may seem. Sorry for those who enjoy the books, but this cannot be what you wanted. Trailer Rating = 5.5/10.0

December Releases

Doubt – A great looking drama with great performers. This trailer was riveting. I’m looking forward to it. How can you go wrong with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman going toe to toe? Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

Frost/Nixon – Wow. I was glued to my seat. This is an amazing trailer that shows right away how brilliant the performances are. Ron Howard is a superb director, and I really hope this is a hit for him. Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

Yes Man – A new Jim Carrey comedy where he must say yes to everything. Sounds a bit like Liar Liar, but this is the Carrey humor I have missed for years. It looks pretty funny to me. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Delgo – I’ve seen this one twice now, and it amazes me how studios think. If we stack as many stars that are willing to join, it will be a hit right? No. The animation looks sloppy, and the story sounds forgettable. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Defiance – This new Edward Zwick film looks outstanding with Daniel Craig leading the cast in World War II story. This gave me chills. I can’t wait. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Seven Pounds – I’m not quite sure what to make of this yet, but it looks compelling, and it also looks like Mr. Smith is aiming for another Oscar nom. We’ll see, but this is worth a ticket price. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Punisher: War Zone – This is only a teaser, but I get the impression I have seen all I need to. This sequel (or whatever is in relation to the previous film) looks like an comic action nightmare with cliches up the wazoo. I’m not a fan of the Punishers movies thus far, and this does not look to change that. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Gran Torino – Clint’s second release looks good primarily because he is in it. Otherwise, the plot would seem average at best. But since he is the star and the director, my interest goes up considerably. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – This film looks amazing. David Fincher is the man, I will be waiting to purchase my ticket. A plot about someone who ages backwards has all sorts of possibilities. Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

The Spirit – This is the new adaptation from Frank Miller. I’m anxious to see this, but from this teaser, it looks a bit too similar to Sin City. Oh well. I loved that film, so maybe this will be just as entertaining. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

The Spirit (2) – This revealed a lot more than the teaser, and while this film looks like a blast, I have some doubts, and they start with Samuel L. Jackson. Can Frank Miller hit a homerun for a third time? Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

The Day the Earth Stood Still – This teaser illustrates how a classic sci-fi film will probably not update well for this era. I am curious because Keanu Reeves is a suitable choices, but I noticed too much CGI just from this, so that’s not a good sign. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

The Tale of Despereaux – This new Universal CGI film has some cute lines and some exquisite animation, but the plot strikes me as dull. You never know, at least it isn’t filled with poop jokes. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

January Releases

Paul Blart: Mall Cop – Kevin James stars in a Happy Madison production about a mall security guard. This looks like it will provide a few chuckles, but not much more. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Bride Wars – Kate Hudson has gone downhill as much as possible after her great role in Almost Famous. This looks dreadful, and not because it is targeted at women. I’m sure it will be #1. Trailer Rating = 2.5/10.0

Notorious – You can access both trailers from here. The newest offers a larger glimpse. This movie looks ok with inspired casting decisions, but my question is how sugarcoated will it be? Even those a little familiar with Biggie will see through the phony scenes. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

The Uninvited – A crappy looking horror film with some sort of lame twist at the end. Yay. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – I have never been a big fan of this franchise. The first film was ok, but the second was weak. I like Rhona Mitra, she’s hot, and has talent, but needs to pick some dramas. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

February, TBD, and Beyond Releases

Che – Granted, this is in Spanish, which I do not speak fluently, but this trailer looks amazing nevertheless. Soderbergh’s epic should be fantastic. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

The Escapist – A British prison break film starring Brian Cox. This is my favorite genre, so I can’t wait for this, but in order for this to make a splash, it will have to be something special. The critic quotes being from random guys worries me. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

Friday the 13th – This looks about as bad as any Michael Bay produced remake, but the mother voice over was eerie. Trailer Rating = 4.5/10.0

Terminator Salvation – I love Christian Bale, and the Terminator franchise, but I have serious doubts about this. I believe it will be terrible, but I must admit, this teaser was well constructed. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

Watchmen – This was the best trailer attached to my Dark Knight screening. Hopefully Zack Snyder can continue to improve his skills after 300. I must read this graphic novel soon. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

Star Trek XI – The teaser was superbly placed before Cloverfield, and this causes me to be amped for the next installment despite my doubts about the cast. I hope it’s as good as we deserve. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Wolverine – Not the finest quality of trailers, but you can still see and understand it. Gavin Hood is directing, so that is intriguing. The preview is ok, and I am still unsure. Can the character carry a whole film on his own? Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

The Perfect Game – Though I’m not a baseball fan, I always enjoy watching the Little League World Series. The problem with this film, despite a bad title, is that the preview reveals way too much, so hopefully it has more going for it besides the story, which I’m sure is inspirational. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

Outlander – Hmm, I’m not sure about this, but the cast alone is enough for me to buy a ticket. James Caviezel is so talented, but his script choices continue to boggle me (not in a bad way mind you). The idea is shaky, but the effects and acting look good, so I’m in. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

The International – Sadly, this will be released early in 2009, which is not a good time of the year. Still, I like both Owen and Watts, and since Tom Tykwer is helming, it should be at least halfway decent. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Fast & Furious – Is that the best title they could come up with? Well, I hate this franchise, and everything it stands for, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a step up from the previous installment. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

The SoloistAtonement’ Joe Wright changes his British period drama material for something new. This looks a bit like Resurrecting the Champ, only with better actors. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

Knowing – This has Number 23 sort of approach, which is fine, but why is Nicolas Cage doing all these mediocre thrillers? He’s a great actor, and should be showing that more. Anyway, this looks ok. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

New York, I Love You – The first film, Paris, Je T’aime was one of the best films in recent memory that few knew about. So I am very excited about this second installment. The cast and directors look amazing. It should be a terrific experience. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – This was a great book, the darkest of the set, and this trailer rocks. I’m anxious to see this. The franchise has not decreased in quality, and here’s hoping this continues that trend. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2) – Yes, I am a bit skeptical of the director, but this looks very good. This teaser gave me hope that Yates knows what he’s doing. The comedy part at the end was terrific. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

1=MOVIES1 target=new>Angels & DemonsThe Da Vinci Code was a superb thriller, and this looks to be outstanding as well. This teaser has me amped for Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon again! Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Other Stuff to Read

The Best Movies of the Alphabet
411 October Roundtable – This month Owain J. Brimfield continues as roundtable host and compiles the thoughts of the movie zone staff on the releases for October!
The MeeThinks Friday FreeThinks – Thanks again to John Meehan for providing my banner here, and for the Alphabet feature.

Also, keep an eye out for more comic book character timelines in the future. Here are the first two:

The Ultimate Batman Timeline
The Ultimate Daredevil Timeline

411 My Space!
The 411 Wrestling Zone
The 411 Music Zone
The 411 Politics Zone
The 411 Games Zone
The 411 Sports Zone

The 411 Movie PODCAST – This week we discuss new releases, political films, and favorite movie President’s!

Make sure to check out all of this week’s reviews of DVD’s, Movies, Music, and more!
And of course read every movie review with the name Chad Webb attached to it.
Thanks for reading the whole way through, and make sure to tune in next week.


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