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The Big Screen Bulletin 12.17.07: The Pet Peeves of 2007

December 17, 2007 | Posted by Chad Webb

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My Top 10 Pet Peeves of 2007

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My pet peeve list started out as something fun with my friends after author Stephen King did for one year in 2004. He only listed a few, whereas I name 10. Since that time, I have done it ever year, and last year I began posting it in my news report. This usually gets me equal amounts of positive and negative feedback, and this year should be no different. My picks might seem strange, but I don’t like to repeat myself, hence the reason you might not see some people, events, or things that could be on here every year. And so sit back, enjoy, and prepare to be pissed or overjoyed at what makes me tick.

10. Britney/Paris/Lindsay (Hall of Shame Inductees) – I hate to rant about these chicks all the time, but they bring it upon themselves. Understandably, Britney has made more headlines lately, but let us not forget about Paris and Lindsay’s jail time, which was so outrageously covered by the press it makes me sick. Paris Hilton was in jail for exactly 22 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes, and 5 seconds (not actual facts). Seriously, do we need to know everything about the length and specifications of her detention? Who cares? I’m sure it was unbearable for the poor little princess (note: sarcasm). As for Lohan, now her career is suffering (the horrid offerings Georgia Rule and I Know Who Killed Me), so soon she will just be a disastrous nobody who starred in one good film, Mean Girls. Britney is quickly reaching Michael Jackson status as a clown. I don’t have to say anything about her as the pictures and videos posted on 411 tell the tale adequately every day. From now on, I will not list any of these morons as they are honorary members of my pet peeve club. The “Hall of Shame” thing is no doubt ripped off of many other lists, but whatever.

9. The Hogans – You have no idea how hard this is to write, but I just can’t help it. For the record, I grew up worshipping Hulk every Sunday on Wrestling Superstars, but lately, I wonder what the hell happened to this household name icon. It’s not just him though, it’s the entire family. After the Vh1 series Hogan Knows Best, which was interesting at points, officially tarnished Hulk’s reputation similar to that of Ozzy Osbourne on his reality show, The Osbournes. We did not need to watch Hulk’s daily life. Let us imagine him as a wrestler and nothing more. This year has been particularly annoying to be a Hulkamaniac. Of course there was Hulk’s son Nick getting in a car crash, and then all sorts of news comes out that Hulk may have supplied him with alcohol and God knows what else I missed. On top of that, Linda files for a divorce, demanding specific amounts of cash, property, etc. Furthermore, Hulk is set to co-host American Gladiators. While I am in favor of that show making a return, why would Hulk host that show? He is a wrestler, not an actor, and not a host for frigging American Gladiators! He should be involved with WWE somehow, but of course backstage politics, his relationship with Vince, etc. will prevent him from doing so. What the hell, Hulk? It’s getting hard to wear my T-shirt proudly. I forgot Brooke. Her singing blows. That is all.

8. Films on Terrorism and Iraq – You know, I am all for ambitious projects on these topics which are continuing to go on day in and day out, but did we really need them all at once? Personally, I am sick and tired of them already, seeing as how Hollywood felt it must pump as many into theaters as they possibly can. For every In the Valley of Elah,which I quite enjoyed, you’ll have mediocre to horrid action thrillers like The Kingdom and Rendition, preachy dramas like Lions for Lambs, and countless documentaries too numerous to mention individually. Yes, some of these are good, but the fact that there have been so many of them in one year overshadows the films that should be seen like A Mighty Heart, for instance. We need to take our time with these, and hopefully over the years, we will get some classics dealing with certain events that we read about in the news everyday.

7. Cell Phones – Of course I have one, but they are increasingly infuriating devices the more time rolls along. They have become such pieces of junk lately. Not that they were all that perfect to begin with, but it seems as if the companies are concentrating on all the bells and whistles (song catcher, cameras, videos, MP3 players) instead of persistently good signal, long battery life, and so on. Myself, along with many others I know, owned a “Razr”, which might be the biggest waste of money I have ever spent. In all seriousness, I have yet to meet one person who was happy with that phone. I could also talk about how I used to get have decent ringtones upon turning on a new phone, but not anymore. All I have is ear piercingly bad tones because I need to buy new ones for $2.99 or a set amount of credits. This year also saw the release of the iPhone, which from what I heard wasn’t all that special, and should only cause more accidents on the road.

6. The Late Outing of Albus Dumbledore – Ok, first of all, let me get the Seinfeld “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” spiel out of the way. I like gay characters. I have seen and liked the Broadway show Rent. I also love Brokeback Mountain. Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life was a great character because we knew he was sexually confused the whole time. So when he announced it to the world, we were not totally shocked. What bothered me to no end was J.K. Rowling’s little surprise that Albus Dumbledore was indeed gay. My first reaction was…what, why? The reason this irritates me is because it was completely, entirely, and unequivocally unnecessary to say after the series conclusion. The series was over. The final book was excellent the way it was. Why did she need to say anything more? For what purpose did it serve? If she had put it on the last page of the last book, and said as the last line “Oh by the way, Dumbledore is gay”, it would have at least been in print and part of the story. But she said it during a damn reading at Carnegie Hall. Aside from this, aren’t these stories for children!? Do they really need to worry about to whom Dumbledore gets his jollies off on? Did I ever ask myself “Hmm, I wonder if Professor Trelawney is gay or not?” No, because who cares?! Now that we know Rowling slipped a memo to the screenwriter, will Michael Gambon play Dumbledore differently? If so, why? It isn’t necessary. I still love Harry Potter, but I feel this was extremely pointless to say about a series that was damn near invincible.

5. O.J. Simpson – I’m not even going to write a lot about this dude. What in the blue hell is wrong with this guy? Why can’t he run away to some island hideout so we can officially forget about him forever? I thought the trials would be the end, but no. He writes ridiculous books, and then gets arrested once again in Las Vegas for armed robbery of his own sports memorabilia. I swear I hate O.J. Simpson. Please sir, leave the public alone. We are tired of seeing your face on a mug shot.

4. Internet Plot Spoilers – I might be totally alone on this one, but I need to speak my mind. When I go to a film, no matter how highly anticipated it is, I like to know as little as possible. It makes it more fun. The trailers give too much away these days as is, but now I must shuffle through endless piles of spoilers, photos, and other crap on huge blockbuster movies. I realize some people just want to find out as much as they can about certain titles, but geez can’t we give it a rest? Certain films are being absolutely destroyed by the time they premiere because we have months, sometimes years, to pick them apart online. I think The Dark Knight will be awesome just as much as everyone else does, but not a day goes by that I don’t have to avoid plot details or seeing some picture from a scene. At least Steven Spielberg knows what I’m talking about. Tyler Nelson leaked information about Indy 4, and now he will never be seen in Hollywood again. Leave Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull alone. I can wait, and so can you.

3. Kanye West and 50 Cent – I am a fan of Kanye West’s music. He has talent for sure. However, I am not a fan of his pompous attitude, and that goes double for 50 Cent, who seems to think he is the best thing since sliced bread. I never cared for his material. The “so-called” battle these two dorks had while preparing for the release of their albums on the same day got on my nerves more and more as each day went by. Every single solitary time I turned on the radio or the television, I could not avoid hearing about it. Kanye did get nominated for a bunch of Grammy’s, but he has a long way to go before he proves himself as a reliable artist. Rap is a tricky game. You never know what will happen from one day to the next. Jay-Z is definitely a rarity. He might not be perfect either, but he seems like a good guy from what I have read and seen on TV. Why is it that these two must always be complete douchebags in any interview or magazine article?

2. Posh Spice and David Beckham – I graduated from high school and college, but I’ll be honest with all of you, I don’t know everything. So, I am asking someone to please explain to me how this couple ever attained the level of popularity they currently possess? Beckham might be a fine soccer player. If soccer is your thing, maybe he is the best, but he is a soccer player don’t forget, not Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan. And Posh was a member of the Spice Girls, who are going back on tour, whooptie dee. Are we forgetting that the Spice Girls couldn’t sing for sh** when they were around before?! I mean, when Beckham came to America, it was like the second coming of the Messiah. I just do not understand why the public is so fascinated with their every move. Is anyone this interesting? I see pictures of these two every day, and it makes me want to pull the hair out of my head.

1. High School Musical – No phenomenon in history, not bell bottoms, not laser pointers, not Scott Baio, ever made less sense to me than these films. And before you jump to conclusions, I have seen both of them so I keep up to date with pop culture. It is the most preposterous, grating, and torturous craze in the history of all mankind. These movies are so indisputably bad, such a waste of our lives, and so utterly idiotic, that it is hard to fathom how so many people became mesmerized with it. No, I don’t think it is “cute” that all these kids have something to love and enjoy. There is nothing wrong with kids being addicted to certain films or characters or whatever. On the other hand, it is very wrong to like High School Musical. It is probably making the children dumber.

Dishonorable Mentions – Amy Winehouse and Michael Vick

The News Bulletin

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Smith Can Still Slaughter the Box Office

Turning into instant box office legends, Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” became the highest grossing December picture of all time with an estimated opening haul of $76.5 million from 3,606 theaters and Twentieth Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” surpassed all expectations in debuting at an estimated $45 million from 3,475 runs. Solidifying Smith’s status as one of the world’s most bankable stars, “Legend” is the new lord and master of the Christmas frame, beating out previous record-holder “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which opened to $72.6 million in December 2003. “Legend,” which Warners produced and co-financed with Village Roadshow Pictures, is the 16th highest opener of all time for anytime of the year.
“Alvin,” showing strength across all age groups, enjoyed the second-highest December opening ever for a film rated G or PG after Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which opened to $65.5 million in 2005. “Alvin” is the eighth highest-grossing December film ever. Combined, the two films jolted the domestic box office back to life after a brutal fall, which has been posted steady declines year-over-year. According to early estimates, the weekend was up by as much as 37% over the same frame last year, when Will Smith drama “Pursuit of Happyness” opened to $26.5 million.

One film unable to enjoy the ride over the weekend was New Line’s pricey fantasy epic “The Golden Compass,” which declined 65% in its second frame to $9 million from 3,528 locations for a cume of $41 million. Placing No. 4 for the frame was Disney’s princess tale “Enchanted,” which declined 44% in its fourth frame to $6 million from 3,066 runs for a cume of $92.3 million. Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men” moved up the chart to No. 5, dipping 27% to an estimated $3 million from 1,348 runs for a cume of $33.6 million.

I think I’m getting better at predicting these now. I Am Legend toppled the chipmunks by a good $30 mill, but Jason Lee and his trio of critters did alright for themselves. The Perfect Holiday chose a bad week to come out. It performed poorly compared to other comedies of that genre. The Golden Compass may be doing ok over seas, but it is taking a nosedive in the US. Not what New Line was hoping for. I am glad to see No Country holding its own, and finally, next week, August Rush will be out of the top 10 forever. Otherwise, Enchanted is still spreading its magic, and somehow, people still want to see Fred Claus. Next week, Nicolas Cage will be the king of the box office with National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

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Grab My Golden Globes

For the record, I dislike the Golden Globe ceremony, but there is no better movie news this week, so I’ll discuss my thoughts and my picks for the film categories.

Picture, Drama:
“American Gangster”
“Eastern Promises”
“The Great Debaters”
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Did they just say “Hmm, all these film are supposed to be good, and just pile them all in the category? I have not seen There Will Be Blood yet, but No Country should be the winner here. I could easily delete two or three from this list.

Actress, Drama:
Cate Blanchett, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie, “Away From Her”
Jodie Foster, “The Brave One”
Angelina Jolie, “A Mighty Heart”
Kiera Knightley, “Atonement”

Julie Christie and Angelina Jolie will be fighting it out for this one. It is a tough call, but right now I am going with Julie Christie barely nudging by Jolie. Jodie Foster? Could they not think of anyone else? She was fine in that movie, but not award worthy.

Actor, Drama:
George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”
James McAvoy, “Atonement”
Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises”
Denzel Washington, “American Gangster”

I have a rule. Whenever Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated, vote for him. He usually brings more than his A-game to each film he contributes to. As I said though, I have not seen There Will Be Blood as of yet, so James McAvoy is a definite contender. His best performance so far.

Picture, Musical or Comedy:
“Across the Universe”
“Charlie Wilson’s War”
“Sweeney Todd”

Across the Universe? Are they kidding? This is another difficult one since at least 20 films are being released around Christmas. I think is a criminal act that Hairspray is on here. I still don’t understand how that was so critically acclaimed. No vote this time. Ask me again in 2 weeks.

Actress, Musical or Comedy:
Amy Adams, “Enchanted”
Nikki Blonsky, “Hairspray”
Helena Bonham Carter, “Sweeney Todd”
Marion Cotillard, “La Vie En Rose”
Ellen Page, “Juno”

No question about it. Marion Cotillard blows every other female actress out of the sratosphere, even Amy Adams. She is my pick, but knowing the Globes, they will probably choose Adams. She is deserving, but not the best.

Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd”
Ryan Gosling, “Lars and the Real Girl”
Tom Hanks, “Charlie Wilson’s War”;
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Savages”
John C. Reilly, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

If you needed any reason to suspect the folks who select the nominations for the Golden Globes were a bit crazy, look no further than John C. Reilly appearing in this category. Maybe the movie is funny, but seriously, no nominations for Once, Superbad, or Knocked Up? This should be between Hanks and Hoffman.

Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
Julia Roberts, “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement”
Amy Ryan, “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton”

Cate Blanchett was just so astoundingly convincing as Bob Dylan that she should be a lock for this one. Any other year, Amy Ryan would have won for Gone Baby Gone though.

Supporting Actor:
Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Charlie Wilson’s War”
John Travolta, “Hairspray”
Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton”

This is certainly a stacked category, but one stands out from the pack. Javier Bardem will go down in history as one of the greatest villains of all-time.

Tim Burton, “Sweeney Todd”
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Ridley Scott, “American Gangster”
Joe Wright, “Atonement.”

Despite some who would quickly vote for the best film of this grouping, the winner should be Joe Wright for Atonment. No director did more brilliant work than he did.

Diablo Cody, “Juno”
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Christopher Hampton, “Atonement”
Ronald Harwood, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Aaron Sorkin, “Charlie Wilson’s War”

I think Joel and Ethan Coen have the best chance at coming out victorious for the screenplay category. A few strong opponents could challenge them, but I’ll stick with the Coens.

Foreign Language:
“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” Romania
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” France and U.S.
“The Kite Runner,” U.S.
“Lust, Caution,” Taiwan
“Persepolis,” France

Another tough one to call since The Kite Runner was sold out this weekend, and I missed it. As of now, I would say The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but perhaps the others are better.

Animated Film:
“Bee Movie,”
“The Simpsons Movie.”

Anyone who doesn’t say Ratatouille will get a lump of coal, and something else in their stocking this year.

Original Score:
Michael Brook, Kaki King, Eddie Vedder, “Into the Wild”
Clint Eastwood, “Grace Is Gone”
Alberto Iglesias, “The Kite Runner”
Dario Marianelli, “Atonement”
Howard Shore, “Eastern Promises.

Not everyone loved it, but the score on Atonement was fabulous.

Original Song:
“Despedida” from “Love in the Time of Cholera”
“Grace Is Gone” from “Grace Is Gone”
“Guaranteed” from “Into the Wild”
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”
“Walk Hard” from “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

Could this be a year where an Eddie Vedder tune (“Guaranteed” – Into the Wild) brings home an Oscar? My money is on him.

Credit: Access Hollywood

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It’s My Release Date and I’ll Cry if I Want to

Multiple projects have begun moving around next Summer and Fall with some pretty high profile titles being shifted or slotted into new slots. Most notable is the Bryan Singer-directed Tom Cruise Hitler assassination drama “Valkyrie” which has been delayed a full fourth months from its prime June 27th slot to the generally quiet October 3rd weekend. “Religious”, the Larry Charles-directed Bill Maher-led documentary satirizing religion, has set a June 20th 2008 release date.

“Body of Lies”, the Ridley Scott-directed crime thriller starring Russel Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, will come out October 10th 2008. “Where The Wild Things Are”, the Warner Bros. Spike Jonze-directed adaptation of the children’s classic, has been delayed from October 3rd 2008 to 2009. To take its spot, Warner Bros. will release “RockNRolla”, a Guy Ritchie-directed crime comedy starring Gerald Butler, Thandie Newton, Jeremy Piven, and Tom Wilkinson. Woody Allen’s new flick “Cassandra’s Dream” has given up on its planned expansion after Christmas and will now come out in limited release on January 18th 2008.”Elegy,” Milo Ventomiglia thriller “Pathology,” and Uwe Boll’s “Postal” have all been delayed indefinitely.

“Charlie Bartlett” has moved from February 1st 2008 to February 22nd. “The Poughkeepsie Tales” will now come out February 8th 2008. “Penelope”, the IFC fantasy drama starring Christina Ricci as a pig-nosed girl, will come out February 29th 2008. “Get Some”, an action-drama starring Djimon Hounsou, will come out March 14th 2008. The blatantly titled “Sex Drive”, a road-trip sex comedy, will come out October 10th 2008. “Twilight”, a vampiric-themed romance starring Kristen Stewart, will release on December 12th 2008. “College”, a Lionsgate comedy, has been moved up two weeks from April 25th 2008 to April 11th. Subsequently, the studio has delayed their animated feature “Foodfight!” from April 11th to an undisclosed date. “Nights in Rodanthe”, a romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, has been delayed from June 6th 2008 to September 12th. Jim Carrey comedy “Yes Man” has taken the December 19th 2008 slot.

I am not surprised. As the strike wears on, get used to many changes of release dates, especially in the fall of 2008. Who knows where we will be then, or how the quality will suffer. I think Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream made the wise decision to not come out until early 2008. It would have been totally overlooked otherwise. Obviously the Valkyrie camp is eyeing the 2009 Oscars by moving, as is Body of Lies from Mr. Ridley Scott. Someone must be given a hand shake and present for delaying a Uwe Boll picture indefinitely. There is a God. Most interesting to me is the Guy Ritchie crime comedy, RockNRolla (superb title) with Jeremy Piven, Gerard Butler, and Tom Wilkinson. That should be terrific. Even if the strike ended tomorrow, the Fall would still be weird.
Credit: Dark Horizons

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Wasn’t Cloverfield the Title of the Unmade Chinatown/Two Jakes Sequel?

With a month to go before release, press for the much-anticipated “Cloverfield” monster movie has begun and Director Matt Reeves has been out talking with IGN and IESB about it. Do we see the monster? “But in this movie, you do see a lot. At the end of the day, it still has that huge scale, it’s just that it’s shot from this point of view. So you’re going to see the monster, you’re going to see huge-scale destruction, you’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff!”

What about the Slusho viral tie-in? “It’s a connection, obviously, back to a reference to Alias and it’s part of the involved connectivity between that and there’s a – I don’t know what you could call it – a sort of “meta-story” that is part of – almost like an origin story – that is connected. It’s almost like tentacles that grow out of the film and lead, also, to the ideas in the film.”

The title? “There were various titles along the way, but the first title and the end title has always been Cloverfield. When I read the outline it was Cloverfield. And ‘Cloverfield’ is the case designate. And when the first draft of the script came out it was Cloverfield. It’s always been Cloverfield. There was this other title that we really loved, and it was again another title that had to do with an aspect of the movie… you would have to see the movie to understand what it was called. And so it was in a way another mysterious word.”

I know Cloverleaf was the title of the Detective Gittes sequel, but for some reason, Cloverfield makes me think of that. Some intriguing details on this anticipated project have unraveled. I personally cannot wait. However, I was unaware that this was the permanent title. Perhaps I was living under a rock, but I thought this was a working title to add hype, and then the real title would be revealed somewhere down the line. Oh well, it works I guess. I love monster movies, so this should be a blast. I didn’t watch Alias so whatever Slusho means sailed way over my head.
Credit: Dark Horizons

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No, This is Not the Remake of Rin Tin Tin

Andy Serkis is reteaming with director Peter Jackson in DreamWorks’ “Tintin,” the movie trilogy collaboration from Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Although DreamWorks would not confirm, it is believed Serkis will play the role of Capt. Haddock, a temperamental sea captain, in British scribe Steven Moffat’s adaptation of the European comic strip created by Herge. (HR 10/2) In the comics, Tintin is a young Belgian reporter and world traveler who is aided in his adventures by his faithful dog Snowy and later accompanied by characters like Haddock, Professor Cuthbert Calculus and bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson. The books, hugely popular in Europe, have been translated into 50 languages with more than 200 million sold.

Kathleen Kennedy is producing the three feature films, which will be made using performance-capture technology and produced in digital 3-D. Jackson and Spielberg are each directing an installment, with the director of the third movie yet to be determined. Serkis, who played the wretched Gollum in Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films and appeared in Jackson’s remake of “King Kong” will also appear in the upcoming adventure film “Inkheart” and the crime thriller “Sugarhouse.” He is repped by Gersh, Principal Entertainment and the U.K.’s Lou Coulson Associates.

Andy Serkis is a talented actor, and Jackson undoubtedly brings out his best efforts, so this should be a proper casting choice. I hadn’t paid any attention to the development of this trilogy, but it should be cool to see how they all play out with Jackson and Speilberg each directing an installment. I vote for Scorsese on the last one. The premise sounds fairly entertaining, and since they are using performance capture technology in 3-D, the viewing experience should rule. I’ll have to check out some of the books soon.
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And That’s the Bottom Line…Because the WGA Said So!

Faced with the indefinite suspension of negotiations, the union representing striking Hollywood writers told its members Saturday it would try to deal directly with Hollywood studios and production companies, bypassing the umbrella organization that has been representing them. The news was welcomed by the company that produces David Letterman’s “Late Show,” which said it hoped to broker a deal that would put the talk show host and his writers back to work. Talks broke off Dec. 7 after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, insisted it would not bargain further unless the Writers Guild of America dropped proposals that included the authority to unionize writers on reality shows and animation projects.

Both sides in the strike, which began Nov. 5, have said the central issue is compensation for programs, movies and other content streamed or downloaded over the Internet. “As you know, the AMPTP is currently unwilling to bargain with us,” the guild said in a letter delivered to its members Saturday. “The internal dynamics of the AMPTP make it difficult for the conglomerates to reach consensus and negotiate with us on a give-and-take basis. We believe this multi-employer structure inhibits individual companies from pursuing their self-interest in negotiations.” While saying the guild still hoped the producers would return to the bargaining table, the union added that it had decided to approach production companies individually and would begin doing so on Monday.

“We want to do everything in our power to move negotiations forward and end this devastating strike,” the guild said in a letter signed by chief negotiator John Bowman and others. The union said it was delivered to members of both the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East. “This is merely the latest indication that the WGA organizers are grasping for straws and have never had a coherent strategy for engaging in serious negotiations,” alliance spokesman Jesse Hiestand said in a statement. “The AMPTP may have different companies with different assets in different businesses, but they are all unified in one common goal to reach an agreement with writers that positions everyone in our industry for success in a rapidly changing marketplace.”

One independent company, Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, indicated it was willing to negotiate individually. Letterman himself is a member of the WGA, as is his show’s executive producer, Rob Burnett. “Worldwide Pants has always been a writer-friendly company,” Burnett said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the strike, we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the guild consistent with its positions in this dispute. We’re happy that the guild has now adopted an approach that might make this possible. It is our strong desire to be back on the air with our writers and we hope that will happen as soon as possible.”

Well now, we shall see how discussions progress now that the Writer’s Guild will be bypassing the AMPTP and speaking directly with the individual companies. I think that if this proves nothing else, it is that the WGA does want to move negotiations along and end the strike as soon as possible. Is it me, or does the AMPTP really sound like the bad guy in this whole scenario? Obviously most of us are siding with the writers regardless, but the quotes from representatives of the AMPTP seem pretty snotty in my opinion. I have heard that the late night talk show hosts want to be on the air by early next year. I hope that it happens. I miss Leno and Conan.
Credit: Yahoo Movies

The Raw Sermon

So this week I thought I would change things up with my thoughts on the Raw 15th Anniversary special. Just in case any of you were wondering, I have been obsessed with wrestling since I was like 3 years old, and that’s why I found this site initially, so there you go. I had stopped watching new shows a while back, but after the deaths, suspensions, and steroid controversy I could take no more. This would mark a pleasant return after a long hiatus from watching. I was anxious to see what WWE had to offer. Unfortunately the 3 hour show was rather unremarkable. The nostalgia went overboard. Triple H was out for an Evolution and DX reunion. Why both? The battle royal would have been fun had everyone but Steve Blackman not looked out of shape and slow. The matches were lackluster and basically the same old song and dance numbers I have seen countless times before. Even Hogan’s segment was bad. I was waiting for his inevitable entrance, and it occurs for Hornswoggle and the Great Khali? Of course the only reason he was there was to promote American Gladiators. That’s fine, but it was too blatantly obvious for me. No red and yellow, just black with the classic theme song. Nothing meshed during this 15th Anniversary. Marty Jannety was a huge disappointment as he looked like sh**. The crowd was dead, hardly any reactions. Sunny was pretty hot considering the last photo I saw of her she was fairly chunky. As I stated, Steve Blackman is still chiseled, and could probably kill us all. Nobody said or did anything new. Chris Jericho’s bit with Eric Bischoff was dumb and contained excessive rhyming, The Million Dollar Man’s appearance was weird (even IRS looked confused), the crowd actually chanted for Hornswoggle, and Bob Backlund was wearing gym shorts. On the positive side, Hogan’s Savage taunt was humorous, Taker’s ugly choke slam on McMahon was awesome, playing all the raw openings was cool, and Triple H’s in-jokes with Stephanie was smart. This was a Raw anniversary, correct? When I think Raw, two names come to mind first, Stone Cold and The Rock, and the Rock’s presence was greatly missed here. Austin did his standard routine, and that was ok..yadda yadda yadda. This should have been a show that reminded everyone how entertaining WWE can be. Instead, it reminded us of how great things were, and how lame they are now.

What’s Coming to DVD….Buy or Avoid?

DVD Headline of the Week

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Once – This my DVD Highlight of the week because not everyone will want to spend the money on Blade Runner. Stay on the lookout for my review of the DVD!

The Simpsons Movie – Despite some occasional funny lines, I was unimpressed with this overall. It felt like an extended episode, and considering that we waited so long, it should have been better. Avoid

Blade Runner – 5 Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition – I’m not even the biggest fan of this movie and I want this set. It is packed into a briefcase. What more reason could you need to own this? Buy

Stardust – They chose a bad week to release this, but it was still entertaining enough to recommend. I was drawn this fantasy a lot more than I expected. Buy

Kiss – Kissology, Volume 3 (1992 – 2000) – These sets are great. A friend of mine has them, and I wish I could buy them also, but unfortunately, I do not have an unlimited money supply to buy all the DVD’s I want.

Underdog – Wow, Jason Lee did this and Alvin and the Chipmunks in the same year. It’s sad really. I have not seen this, so I should keep my mouth shut.

Halloween – Unrated Director’s Cut – I didn’t hate this as some of my colleagues did, but I certainly wouldn’t buy it. Zombie has talent as a director, but he needs to refine it. Stay with the original. Avoid

Rush Hour 3 – Here is one film you’ll find on my top 10 worst list. Every single part of it sucked in a big way. Avoid

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Vol. 2 – The War Years – I really do want to buy these sets, but George Lucas had to go an make them expensive as all hell. Still, I need to fulfill my Indiana Jones saga.

Braveheart (Special Collector’s Edition) – It’s about damn time we get a new edition of this with some extras. I’m looking forward to getting this one. Buy

National Treasure – 2 Disc Collector’s Edition – Of course they double dip this for the sequel. I’m going to say no to this one since the first edition had plenty of extras on it. Avoid

The Last Legion – This was released shortly after 300 so it was pushed under the rug and forgotten. I didn’t see it, but would like to see if it is worthwhile.

Hatchet (Unrated Director’s Cut) – I could probably watch this online somewhere. It was only released in a limited capacity so I missed it.

Balls of Fury – This could have been hilarious, but it was dumb if you ask me. Dan Fogel has potential, but reminds me too much of Chris Farley. Avoid

Bring It On: In It to Win It – Are you kidding me? Another one? This stars Jennifer Tisdale. The sister of Ashley? I’ll have to let Tony Farinella know.

The Evil Dead (Ultimate Edition) – Ok, who loves this series, but hates the constant re-release of the DVD’s…raise your hand. First we have normal editions, then the strangely packaged books, now this. What gives? Just end it already! I’m saying avoid because anyone who owns this is satisfied.

Illegal Tender – Aside from the crummy title, I didn’t hate this as I thought I would. I would never purchase it mind you, but I have seen worse. Avoid

Tool: Vicarious – I remember hearing years ago that Tool wangted to do a movie with an album. I wonder if this is it. Either way, Tool kicks major ass, and their videos are awesome.

The Critic’s Quickee

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The Golden Compass – All controversy aside, this new fantasy adventure, striving to be another successful franchise, has problems beyond religious implications. Every time a new film of this genre is released, the fans of the book are always primed and ready to strike. In this case, all I can say is that it is obvious the source material is better. The movie is convoluted and poorly constructed. As many reviewers on this site have stated, many questions are raised but unanswered. While some will say this is a trilogy, so the questions will be addressed in future installments, I maintain that the introduction to this universe should have been clearer. I need to care about what is going on since I did not read the book. Don’t get me wrong, this is nowhere near as bad as The Seeker or Eragon, but it could have been so much more. The flaws do not rest with faithfulness though. The acting is certainly a mixed bag. Daniel Craig is fantastic as Lord Asriel, but he barely makes an impact. Nicole Kidman is a goofy villain, or whatever she is, yet also gorgeous. I was unconvinced that she could be a long term opponent. Dakota Blue Richards is an intriguing heroine, who is an average child actor. I envision her progressing if the series continues. And then I noticed Sam Elliott! And I was like oh, it’s Sam Elliott. Literally, it seems as if he walked onto the wrong set with his cowboy getup. It’s either that, or he and Robert De Niro’s character from Stardust accidentally switched. I read that many religious groups are taking credit for the low box office performance of The Golden Compass. That’s funny. The real reason in my mind that this did not do as well as New Line hoped is because the public is growing weary of all these fantasy trilogies and franchises springing up monthly. Writer/Director Chris Weitz needed to take the amiable traits of the novel, and convey them to audiences unfamiliar with the story. He didn’t quite reach that goal, and the lack of adequate character development was no help. If I wasn’t a critic, I could care less about where this tale goes. I thought the armored polar bears were striking, as well as the Daemons traveling with each person, but more groundwork needed to be laid. What decided my rating was the CGI, which is excellent in some areas, and incredibly weak in others. This can best be compared to a baseball player calling a homerun, only to realize they didn’t have the vigor to knock the ball out of the park. The desire was a trilogy right off the bat, but they don’t have Peter Jackson, they don’t have the stellar cast, nor the attention to detail. Final Rating = 6.5/10.0

Atonement – This hot new romance epic should definitely be on your list of movies to see. Check out my review by clicking here.

Movie Dictionary: Word of the Week

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Other Hollywood Inspired Names
Hollywood is such an iconic name that various other locations are nicknamed with Hollywood-inspired names. Most end in the letters “ollywood”, leading to the alternative designation *ollywood.

• Bollywood is the informal name given to the Mumbai (Bombay) based film industry in India.
• Borehamwood near Elstree in the English home counties. Real name of the town.
• Chollywood refers to the Peruvian film industry. It is also spelled “Choliwood.”
• Dhaliwood refers to the Bangladeshi film industry, based in the city of Dhaka.
• Dollywood is an amusement park owned by Dolly Parton. It may also be used as an alternative spelling for Dhaliwood.
• Etyekwood is the informal name given in the media to Hungary’s new Korda Studios under construction in the wine-making village of Etyek near Budapest.
• Hollyhammar refers to the film industry in Hallstahammar, Sweden.
• Hollywood North refers to film and television production in Toronto and Vancouver and (more recently) throughout Canada.
• Kollywood is a name often applied to Tamil cinema, based in the Kodambakkam district of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India .
• Lollywood refers to the Pakistani film industry, based in the city of Lahore.
• Mollywood may refer to the Malayalam film industry in India.
• Mollywood may also refer to the Mormon film industry.
• Nollywood is the Nigerian film industry.
• Pinewood, name given because of the pine trees surrounding it. Is located in Buckinghamshire, England
• Pollywood is the colloquial name given to the Pashtu language movie industry in Peshawar, Pakistan.
• Sollywood has been used to refer to the Sindhi film industry.
• Tollywood may refer to the Telugu film industry in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
• Tollywood may also refer to the Bengali film industry in Tollygunge, West Bengal , India.
• Trollywood is the informal name for a film production facility in Trollhättan Municipality, Sweden.
• Valleywood is the informal name for the Dragon International film studio complex in Wales.
• Wellywood is a film studio located in Wellington, New Zealand .
Credit – Wikipedia

Based on the Trailer…

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Newest Trailers
Leatherheads – George Clooney directs and stars in this football film with Jim from The Office and Renee Zellweger. I think it looks fun and entertaining. Clooney is a fine filmmaker. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – What a shame that Adam Sandler’s films seem to be getting worse. I have no interest in seeing this, and I did not laugh once during this trailer. Same old song and dance from him. Trailer Rating = 4.0/10.0

Horton Hears a Who – CGI might be the best way to adapt a Dr. Seuss book to the screen. This doesn’t look all that bad I guess. I’ll give it a shot. Carell and Carrey should be funny together. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Persepolis – This animated foreign film is definitely striking enough to catch your interest. I am anxious to watch this. Whether or not I see before the year’s end remains to be seen, but it looks good. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

The Band’s Visit – I’m not sure about this. It looks kind of bizarre. Still, if it gets enough positive reviews, I’d be happy to seek it out. I am sure it will be limited. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

Cassandra’s Dream – This new Woody Allen film will suffer from two things: the similarities to Before the Devil Knows Your Dead and the trailer which gives away too much. Nevertheless, it is Woody, so I’m there. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

December Releases
National Treasure: Book of Secrets – I loved the first film, despite harsh reviews. They are entertaining. This one looks more of the same adventure of history. It’s right up my alley. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – This might be mildly humorous, but probably nothing more. My respect for John C. Reilly will get me into the theater, but the plot looks blase. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – This Tim Burton musical looks to be a perfect mesh with his dark quirks and a great story. I am looking forward to it, especially with such a wonderful cast. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep – The “loch ness” angle in the story intrigues me, but I’d bet this is a Free Will tale all over again. No thanks. Trailer Rating = 6.5/10.0

Charlie Wilson’s War – I didn’t expect this to be more of a comedy, but it still looks great, with a terrific cast, and a brilliant director. It is on my predictions for Best Picture nominees. Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem – I disliked the first one because of the trivial human plot, and this appears to be more of that sludge. I’ll see it out of curiosity, but I’m not expecting anything out of this world. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

The Great Debaters – Denzel stars in and directs this film, and it looks to be carried by a powerful cast. I’m not sure how original the story is, but I think it looks good. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

January Releases
Cloverfield – Sorry I haven’t gotten this one up yet. The footage here is intriguing because of all the mysteriousness regarding the premise. I am officially ready for this to come out though. Trailer Rating = 8.5/10.0

Rambo IV – The trailer is not nearly as awesome as the unrated clips that leaked earlier this year, but I am still counting on this to rock. Trailer Rating = 9.0/10.0

Be Kind Rewind – Michel Gondry usually makes films that original if nothing else. I like his style of directing, and this plot looks to be a lot of fun. Jack Black and Mos Def should be an interesting duo. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

27 Dresses – Katherine Heigl stars in this predictable looking film that is sure to have more females attention than males. It might be ok because of Heigl, but I doubt it will deliver anything special.

One Missed Call – Another horror flick remade from a Japanese film. I’m sorry, but this just looks agonizing. Would it kill Hollywood to have an original idea for this genre? Trailer Rating = 2.0/10.0

Jumper – Boy does look retarded. Doug Liman must have thought applying these nifty special effects to a story would work out. I doubt it. This should be pretty dumb. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Untraceable – A new thriller starring Diane Lane and Colin Hanks. Not a cast you dream of every day, but hey, this premise sounds intriguing to me so I’m in. It’s likely to rely on a twist at the end, but oh well. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

February, TBD, and Beyond Releases

The Eye – This is a horror remake starring Jessica Alba. I think she has talent, but no as a lead, and this movie doesn’t impress me. Trailer Rating = 5.0/10.0

Funny Games – I’ll give credit to whoever created this preview. It’s different and gets your attention, but also annoying. Still, Tim Roth seems to be his share of projects lately. This should be worth a look. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Fools’ Gold – This Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson flick is either a bad adventure story or a sappy romantic comedy. Either way, I could care less. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

Strange Wilderness – This comedy looks weird. It has Ernest Borgnine and Jo Don Baker in the cast, besides the Happy Madison crew. It should be good for some laughs. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Vantage Point – Hmmm. I’m not sure about this political thriller. The cast is fine, but will that matter if the film blows hard? Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Wall-E – Another Pixar classic is under our belt, and I can’t wait for the next one. This robotic adventure should be great, and easily superior to Robots. Trailer Rating = 10.0/10.0

10,000 B.C. – I’m not sure if this wants to be Apocalypto or Pathfinder. Either way it is helmed by Roland Emmerich, so it is likely to blow aside from the special effects. Trailer Rating = 6.0/10.0

Drillbit Taylor – Another movie from the people who brought us Superbad and Knocked Up, and this one has Owen Wilson as bodyguard to high school kids. It looks ok I suppose. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

Semi-Pro – This is only a teaser, but it was certainly funny. Ferrell seems to be doing the same film over and over again, but people like him. I’ll see this. It will be good for laughs. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Iron Man – I must admit, any trailer that has Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” is ok by me. This looks funny and could be a decent blockbuster. Trailer Rating = 7.5/10.0

Speed Racer – This film looks weird. I mean, it should visually amazing like only the Wachowski’s know how, but I’m not sure about this one yet. It should be entertaining though. Trailer Rating = 7.0/10.0

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – I must admit, after disliking the first one, this trailer actually has me anticipating the sequel. Perhaps they improved with age. Trailer Rating = 8.0/10.0

Other Stuff to Read

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The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From A to E
The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From F to J
The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From K to O
The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From P to T
The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From U to X
The Best Movies of the Alphabet – From Y to #

411 December Roundtable – This month I compiled the thoughts of the movie zone staff on the summer releases of December!
Fact or Fiction – Ben Piper gathers the thoughts of Jeffrey Harris and Nick Wallander this week!
Furious on Film – Arnold Furious gives you his opinions on new and old films every week.
What!!-This-Column!?? – Bryan Kristopowitz continues his column about…stuff.
Two Tivos to Paradise – Al Norton brings all the news and updates in television that you can handle.
Ask 411 Movies – Leonard


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Chad Webb
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