Results tagged “Josh Tate”

DVD Tuesday: Oh, Edward!

Vampires casually consider murdering classmates and draining their blood. | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment Who would have ever thought that overlaying a Mormon template over standard teen angst fare and vampire mythology would have proven to be as successful as the Twilight series has been? And more importantly, where are the "porn" versions of this movie (e.g. Shaving Ryan's Privates). Bolt returns John Travolta to an unwelcome state of prominence and further bolsters...

Box Office Review: 'The Rock' Now Bankable...Crap!

Listen! Do you smell something? | Photo courtesy of Disney In the latest blow to Western civilization, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Escape...er, Race to Witch Mountain knocked off the epic and ambitious Watchmen to capture the weekend box-office crown. The entirely unnecessary re-make tallied an impressive $25M to easily vanquish the quickly-fading superhero flick ($18M/$86M). Another re-make, The Last House on the Left slashed its way to a successful $14.6M debut, well ahead of...

Weekend Movie Guide: Keira + Sienna + Love Scene

This sort of looks like fun. | Photo courtesy of Capital Films I'm not sure if The Edge of Love is any good or not, but any movie that puts Keira Knightly in bed with Sienna Miller is worth my time and money. Race to Witch Mountain, on the other hand, does not. The original Escape to Witch Mountain was corny, badly-staged and maudlin -- in other words, perfect. Sunshine Cleaning is supposed to...

LAist Interview: Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development

Jeffrey Tambor leads his workshop last year at SXSW. | Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Tambor For most people reading this, Jeffrey Tambor has always been a part of your consciousness. My first exposure was way back in the day when I -- then a huge fan of Three's Company -- religiously tuned into The Ropers for every episode of its short run. Tambor went from frequent guest-star to (for me) cultural icon when he...

DVD Tuesday: Let This One In!

Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing Let the Right One In was a fiendishly good reimainging of the vampire story. Naturallly, it is now being re-made into what will surely be an inferior, American film. I thought Mickey Rourke gave the performance of the year in The Wrestler, but Sean Penn was almost as impressive with his rendering of the late Harvey Milk. Speaking of fine actors, Anne Hathaway stirs my drink. While I liked...

Weekend Movie Guide: Watch This!

Wow! Billy Crudup is quite the Method Actor. | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers The summer blockbluster season is starting awfully early this year as Watchmen hits theaters. By most accounts, it's a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel. The question is, "Does it have an audience beyond the faithful?" I, for one, am excited to see it. The Fanning family has officially replaced the infamous Culkens as little Elle Fanning stars...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Michel Gondry | Photo courtesy of wv via flickr Japanophiles unite! This week marks not one, but two free previews of Tokyo!, a new anthology work featuring contributions from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), Bong Joon-ho (monster-masterpiece The Host) & Leos Carax (The Lovers On The Bridge). Opening later this month at the Nuart, use these screenings to get the jump on your otaku buddies & save a few bucks along...

DVD Tuesday: A Forbidden Love Story!

Their secret love could not be denied! | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Australia is the sort of sprawling, epic film that I typically lap up like gravy on a biscuit. Something about it just felt flat, though. Probably the presence of the icy, tight-faced Kidman who continues to defy belief by getting prominent roles in big-budget films despite being proven box-office poison. I would have watched London Yorkshire Terriers, but I refuse...

Box Office Review: Drag Queen Beats Teens

Get ready for the scrap pile, boys! | Photo courtesy of Disney In what has to be considered terrible news by all decent Americans, Madea Goes to Jail triumphed at the box office again this week ($16.5M/$64.8M). Many had expected Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience to top the charts, but it only managed a $12.7M debut. The tween audience moves quickly and it appears that the glory days of the Jonas Brothers may...

Weekend Movie Guide: Han Solo Returns, Still Gruff

Ford prepares to get teenagers off his lawn. | Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company I'm a big fan of Wayne Kramer (and my childhood devotion to Harrison Ford lingers) so Crossing Over is clearly at the top of my list. Anyone else getting a strong Traffic feel from this picture, though? Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience was the natural follow-up to last year's Miley Cyrus 3D concert film. I'll say now what...

DVD Tuesday: Hot Nude Action!

Hot chicks laugh at micropenis (link NSFW) | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment You know it's a slow week at the DVD counter when a low-brow flick like Sex Drive is the highest profile release. Didn't see it, but read on Ain't It Cool that it was pretty funny. And apparently there are tons of naked chicks in it (link NSFW). Might be worth a rental. Breaking Bad, on the other hand, is definitely...

Box Office Review: More Grim Economic News

What exactly is the appeal of this drag queen again? | Photo courtesy of Lions Gate On Saturday night -- following yet another brilliant concert by Lisa Hannigan at the Troubadour -- my friends and I headed over to Pink's for a late-night "Mulholland Drive" dog. We ended up speaking to a couple from Covina who had just attended a screening of Madea Goes to Jail. That couple is now dead, as should all...

Interview: Lisa Hannigan, Singer/Songwriter

If you walk my way... | Photo courtesy of PhotoFM via Flickr I will never forget the strange way in which I discovered the music of Lisa Hannigan. Last summer, I was sitting at work trading listening ideas with a friend over IM. I don't remember which one of us suggested Damien Rice, but his name came up and I typed it into my favorite website of the moment (the now lamentably defunct www.mixwit.com)....

Weekend Movie Guide: Oh Lord, no!

Cheerleaders dressed in pastels are always the good guys. | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures It's a sad weekend for movie-goers across the country when it's a slam-dunk certainty that Madea Goes to Jail is going to easily top the box-office. I admire Tyler Perry's business acumen, but he is truly an awful filmmaker. Then again, is Madea really any worse than Fired Up!? The only way you could get me to see this...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment Between special screenings, TV tapings & incestual industry conduct, filmmakers are a common appearance in this town. When the New Beverly hosts a filmmaker, it's truly special. Eclectic personalities take complete control of the theater's programming, spotlighting elements of their own work, their influences, or simply their favorite, lesser-known films. Previous hosts include Edgar Wright, Patton Oswalt, Joe Dante & Peter Bogdanovich, and now writer-director Rian Johnson has the...

DVD Tuesday: Singing! Kidnapping! Atheism!

I just want to...sing! | Photo courtesy of Disney How is it that I 100% get the appeal of the Twilight books, but am completely mystified by the massive success of High School Musical 3? As far as I can see, HSM3 has only one thing going for it. Strange that an essentially clunky film like Gran Torino worked so well, while a seemingly fascinating film like Changeling fell flat. Speaking of movies not...

Box Office Review: Jason is Back, Still Annoyed...

Some motherfucker 'bout to get killed! | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers In yet more disquieting economic news, the re-boot of the Friday the 13th franchise enjoyed a record-breaking weekend at the box-office. The stale re-make tallied a staggering $42.2M in its debut which should insure a steady stream of more awful retreads in the future. He Just Wants To Sleep With You placed a distant second with $19.6M ($55M) just ahead of the...

Weekend Movie Guide: Shop! Kill! Kill!

The butt-obscuring nature of this dress is contemptible. | Photo courtesy of Disney Considering the downward-trending turbulence of our current economic environment, now might not be the best time to release a movie that so glories in conspicuous consumption like Confessions of a Shopaholic. Then again, it has the winsome Isla Fisher so it might be worth a look. Clive Owen rules. Naomi Watts sort of rules. Considering that, why can't I get excited...

Melnitz Movies at UCLA

What I miss most about college (besides treatises on gender in the Friday the 13th films) is low/no-cost special events. Live theatre, indie bands, speakers, and movies, movies, movies. UCLA keeps this latter tradition alive through its free Melnitz Movies Series. A mixture of advance screenings, foreign affairs, classics and forgotten gems, the series featured indie darling Synecdoche, New York, global genre cuts Let The Right One In and Timecrimes, and prestigious previews of...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

I would totally bone her. | Photo courtesy of Miramax There's something incredible at the corner of Olympic and La Cienega. Something shocking. And inspiring. Everything in this town traces back to the cinematic, and yet truly independent film promotion is rare (mini-majors like Fox Searchlight don't count). Which is why I'm entranced with Polanski, opening this Valentine's weekend at Laemmle's Sunset 5. Taking its cue from The Room, the brazen billboard sports writer/producer/director/actor...

DVD Tuesday: Best Movie Ever!

Conducting "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail" | Photo courtesy of the Saul Zaentz Company I could talk for hours about it, but I'll simply say that Amadeus is the finest movie I have ever seen. From the amazing performances by F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce to the script by Peter Schaeffer (a superior revision of his stage play) to the direction by Milos Forman (who never again came close to this level of...

Box Office Review: America is Into You

An all-star cast was enough to propel newcomer He Only Wants To Sleep with You to the top of the weekend box-office. The generic romantic comedy tallied an impressive $27.4M to easily beat last week's champ Taken ($20.3/$53.3M). The superb Coraline managed to snag $16.3M worth of kiddie dollars as parents weren't scared away by the film's dark themes. After that it was the unnecessary and dreadful The Pink Panther 2 ($12M) followed by the equally boorish Paul Blart: Pathetic Fatso ($11M/$97M).

Weekend Movie Guide: The Death of Steve Martin

Did anyone else see Martin's creative soul flee from his body? | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Do you remember the days when you looked forward to the new Steve Martin movie? Is anyone anywhere looking forward to The Pink Panther 2? Speaking of bad movies, Push is proof that you shouldn't try to do effects-driven films on a tight budget. I'm just not that into He's Just Not That Into You. Fanboys was...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of Marianitux via Flickr By now, everyone's sick of hearing about how the economy's in the toilet. But hey, sometimes it nets you cheap dinner and a free movie. If you're unemployed, that is. Then you'll want to be heading over to the old Aero, for the uncanny Boris Karloff's spookiest performances, the highly flappable combination of Laurel & Hardy & Fields, and more Ginger than a Shirley Temple - all on...

LAist at the Santa Barbara Film Festival - Take 2

One of the best things about attending a festival isn't the films you get to see, but the industry panels the organizers assemble to give the public a glimpse into the inner workings of show business. On Saturday in Santa Barbara I was lucky enough to attend two dynamite panels. The first featured producers from five of 2008's most lauded films (The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire and Rachel Getting Married. Moderated by...

DVD Tuesday: Porno!

Seth Rogen is definitely a grow-er and not a show-er. | Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company In more able hands, Zack and Miri Make A Porno could have been a funny and insightful movie about sexual commerce, exhibitionism, friendship, financial desperation, etc. With Kevin Smith writing and directing, though, it was a shallow, dirty joke that had a scene where a guy was shit on by a constipated whore. I laughed a few...

Box Office Review: America taken by Taken

Okay, this picture is from 'The Fog' but Maggie looks hotter here. | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures The Liam Neeson thriller Taken ended the box office stranglehold of Paul Blart: Loser at Life this weekend by scoring a big win on Super Bowl weekend. Taken pulled in $24.6M to easily outpace the Kevin James non-laugher ($14M/$83.3M) and restore some semblance of sanity to the universe. Crappy re-make The Uninvited tallied up $10.5M in...

Weekend Movie Guide: More January Dumping

Can't you see she's fucking evil, you fools! | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures January is historically one of the worst months for movie-going. Studios typically drop their crappy product on the unsuspecting. This month is no exception. The Uninvited at least features Elizabeth Banks, but she's not naked or being funny so I'll pass. Good to see Maggie Grace back onscreen but would prefer to see her in something less crappy than Taken....

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of rhobinn via flickr Viddy well, Long Beach! This weekend, your humble narrator strongly advises you attend Stanley Kubrick's real horrorshow picture A Clockwork Orange, unspooling at the Art Theatre. Dress as one of those dashing droogs and get in for only $5. Bring your own moloko. If you prefer your milk with Kahlua, Insomniac Cinema presents the Coen Brothers' midnight mainstay, The Big Lebowski. Last week, founder Andrew Gualtieri broke the...

DVD Tuesday: The Woodman Riseth!

Yeah, actors do have a tough life. | Photo courtesy of the Weinstein Company After several lean years (anyone care to remember Deconstructing Harry or the laughless Hollywood Ending), Woody Allen is on a pretty good roll lately. Vicky Cristina Barcelona may be his best film since the fantastic Bullets Over Broadway. Kirk Cameron. Christian Action Star. Pride and Glory wasn't great, but it hit all the right notes of your standard cop corruption...

LAist at the Santa Barbara Film Festival

Photo courtesy of Trinitas via Flickr After enduring the brutal weather, constant partying, general sleeplessness and large, unruly crowds of Sundance, it was a welcome change of pace to head up the 101-N and attend the considerably more peaceful Santa Barbara Film Festival. Rather than having to wait out in the cold for a shuttle bus to take me from Main Street to the Eccles Theater, I could just park my car on lovely...

Box Office Review: More Blart

Oh, great. This means there will be sequel. | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment To the great dismay of the human, vampire and lycan kingdoms, Paul Blart: Mall Cop once again triumphed at the box office this weekend ($21.5M/$64.8M). Underworld: Rise of the Lycans made a game effort, but only managed a close second-place finish ($20.7M). After that it was the resilient Gran Torino ($16M/$97.5M), the silly Hotel for Dogs ($12.3M/$36.9M), the surging...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of Vardhana via Flickr My first month in Los Angeles, I worked a short stint at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre, and one of the Mouse's lesser-known secrets is the large number of foreign exchange workers employed at the snack bar. I remember the Thai teens best; they were all sweet kids, and it's in their honor that I recommend the Thai Film Miracles Festival at the Arclight. Well, them and Tony Jaa,...

Weekend Movie Guide: I'm Back!

How is it that when I cause mayhem, no one talks about my great performance? | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers In anticipation of the Oscar Best Picture nod that never came, The Dark Knight is back in theaters today. If you are one of the 113 people who somehow didn't see this movie over the summer, now might be the time. You know how you can tell when a franchise is completely and...

LAist at Sundance: Day 5

Ah, to be young and in love and stuck in a dead-end carnie job. | Photo courtesy of Miramax Similarly to last year (and probably owing to the largely liberal bent of the festival's programmers), there were a significant amount of films about the Iraq War at Sundance this year. Perhaps the most despairing (both in content and execution) was first-time director Oren Moverman's The Messenger. The film stars Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson...

LAist at Sundance: The Big Wrap-Up

A quick shot of postcards from the Press Office. | Photo by Josh Tate The first time I attended the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, I stayed until the festival's conclusion on Sunday. Never will I make that mistake again. While it did allow for a more leisurely pace, all the excitement (and most of the people) had left Park City by mid-week. So this year I once again planned an early Friday morning...

LAist at Sundance: Day 4

Photo courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival My fourth day at the Sundance Film Festival began bright and early at seven am. Thankfully, the night before had been a fairly casual one so I was actually feeling full of bounce and vigor. That energy was quickly sapped by a twenty minute wait for the shuttle bus (in twenty degree weather) but soon enough I made it to the Festival Headquarters and quickly jumped into...

LAist at Sundance: Day 3

Lizard King and Co. | Photo courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival Perhaps the biggest challenge when attending the Sundance Film Festival is determining how on God's green earth you are going to do everything that you want to do. Film schedules don't always sync up, travel on the city shuttles--while free--can be slow and there is always the temptation to stay out till all hours of the night at any one of the...

DVD Tuesday: Feel the Payne

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Max Payne [Blu-ray] Repo! The Genetic Opera Moonlight - The Complete Series King Kong [Blu-Ray] The Powerpuff Girls: The Complete Series - 10th Anniversary Collection Saw V [Blu-ray] National Lampoon's Stoned Age - Unrated Ghost (Special Collector's Edition) Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger Election [Blu-ray]...

Box Office Review: Who Blarted?

Dismal "comedy" Paul Blart: Mall Cop tricked thousands of Americans into buying tickets as it easily topped the weekend box office chart ($33.8M). Last week's champ Gran Torino had another strong week ($22.2M/$73.2M) as it held off three new releases: the bloody My Bloody Valentine 3-D ($21.9M), the bloody Notorious ($21.5M) and the bloody Hotel for Dogs ($17.7M). The second half of the top 10 was led by the awful Bride Wars ($11.7M/$37.5M) which bested the amazing Odette Yustman's The Unborn ($9.8M/$33M).

LAist at Sundance: Day 2

Yes, that is Gob in the background. | Photo courtesy of Salty Features I was planning to hit the Festival Press Office right when they opened at eight to jump into one of their four viewing booths and catch a quick movie on DVD, but fate (or more likely, last night's unusually intense hangover--I blame the altitude) intervened and I didn't get there until just after ten. Luckily, a booth was still open and...

LAist at Sundance: Day 1

The Egyptian Theater around midnight on Friday, January 16th. | Photo courtesy of Josh Tate The first day at the Sundance Film Festival is always a frantic rush. We arrive in Salt Lake City at the reasonable hour of noon and are on our way to Park City in our rental car within 30 minutes. Once we reach town, we decide to quickly shoot down to Main Street and grab a bite at one...

Weekend Movie Guide: No Biggie

Uhhh....can we get a doctor in Room 311? Might have a little problem. | Photo courtesy of Lionsgate My Bloody Valentine 3D marks a welcome return of the standard horror elements of gore and nudity. Say it with me, America: no more PG-13 horror films! Since I am firmly in the 2Pac camp, I will not be spending money to see Notorious. Is it possible for Kevin James to star in something less funny...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of ario_j via flickr Barack Obama bested the Presidential campaign by reaching across all places and people. It seems only fitting that his inauguration week bears a similarly dynamic platform: from the earliest cinematic pioneers to the latest digital technologies, from campy cult comedies to maverick macho westerns, from classic actors to Jean Claude Van Damme, from sea to shining sea. This is why I love L.A. Nay, this is why I...

DVD Tuesday: Horses, Weed, Costner

Please don't fuck up this guy's to-go order! | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers I'm a huge fan of the revisionist Western movement currently threading its way through our culture, but didn't Deadwood do it so well that everything else feels tired (fine films like Appaloosa included)? Conversely, can anyone name a good Kevin Costner film in the last decade? And you can't say The Upside of Anger because he was just a co-star!...

Box Office Review: Clint Rising

Clint over-reacts to production assistant looking him in the eye | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers After a month in limited release, Gran Torino finally rolled out nationwide and easily won the weekend box office crown ($29M/$40M). The sexist Bride Wars finished a distant second ($21.5M) followed by yet another dull PG-13 horror flick, The Unborn ($21M). Marley & Me slipped from the top spot but still had a decent weekend ($11.3M/$123.7M) as did...

Catch Up on the Golden Globe Nominees with the Yerke-Robins Weekly Film Dispatch

With the Golden Globes just days away, now's your last chance to catch up. Best Picture contenders Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon duke it out with directors in tow and--in the red corner--Best Supporting Actress nominee Marisa Tomeiiiii! The Best Foreign Language noms continue their rounds of the American Cinematheque; the films at the Aero and the filmmakers at the Egyptian. Swedish director Jan Troell is particularly vigilant, blazing a one-man invasion through these events...

DVD Tuesday: Battlestar 4.0!!!

I've said it over and over again but Battlestar Galactica really is the best show on television, and Katee Sackhoff is as good an actress as there is. What a crime that this fabulous show is ending this year. I implore everyone to not only buy this DVD but tune into the second half of Season 4 when it begins airing on Sci-Fi on January 16th. Pineapple Express was plenty funny, but may have...

Box Office Review: America Still Loves Marley!

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Christmas darling Marley & Me had a second strong week as it easily won the box-office race again ($24M/$106.5M). Bedtime Stories surged ($20.3M/$85.3M) ahead of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($18.4M/$79M) while Valkyrie enjoyed a strong weekend, too ($14M/$60.6M). After that it was the very unfunny Yes Man ($13.8M/$79.4M), the awfully shitty Seven Pounds ($10M/$60M) and the cute-ish The Tale of Despereaux ($7M/$43.7M). Doubt enjoyed another strong...

Weekend Movie Guide: Not Bond, James Bond

The New Year's weekend is typically very slow since most people either went to the movies over Christmas or are still too hung-over from New Year's Eve to bother leaving the house. As such, it's a light release schedule this week. Defiance is the story of three Polish brothers who escape from a Nazi concentration camp and join forces with a group of Russian resistance fighters to build a safe refuge from which to...

DVD Review: An American Carol

Slap-stick humor and racially-charged jokes suck and succeed in An American Carol, the latest release from Airplane! director and cult classic veteran, David Zucker. The film boasts overtly conservative arguments as it blasts acclaimed documentarian, Michael Malone (Kevin P. Farley, a dead ringer for Michael Moore), for his out-and-proud, anti-American values. Society, it seems, disgusts Malone, and he embarks on a mission sparked by true, patriotic ambition: boycotting the Fourth of July--forever! However, fate...

This Week in Film

What better way to celebrate the birth of baby New Year than with emerging talent? This week, the Egyptian hosts the 4th Annual Focus On Female directors, a shorts program spanning animation, environmentalism & waxing. Considering how Hollywood lauds female filmmakers as it casts them aside (witness the recent Twilight debacle), nights like this are vital opportunities to support double-X auteurs. For those more interested in emerging technology, the Beverly Hills Hi-Def Film Fest...

The Best (and worst) Films of the Year

While 2008 was no 1999 in terms of truly amazing films, it was better than most may think. Last year, I went with a top 10 that was headed by the wondrous and magical Once. This year, I decided to be a little more liberal with my selections and included 15 films that were all fantastic in their own unique ways. For me, though, two films really stood out above all the rest: Tell...

DVD Tuesday: The Prodigal Farley

An American Carol seems to lack that genuine mean-spiritedness that makes conservatives like P.J. O'Rourke and Mark Steyn so funny. It's a shame to see an old lion like David Zucker (see here, here, here, here) wither into comedic senescence. Then again, it will happen to us all. Towelhead seems to have that "shock for the sake of shocking" vibe warning against it. Still, Alan Ball is always worth a look, right? Whither the...

Box Office Review: America loves Marley!

In a bit of a surprise, Marley & Me peed and barked its way to the top of the weekend box-office chart ($37M). It easily topped early favorite Bedtime Stories ($28M) and critical darling The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($27M). Mediocre reviews didn't damage Valkyrie too badly ($21.5M) nor did the fact that star Tom Cruise is, in fact, crazy. Last week's winner, Yes Man had a decent weekend ($16.4M/$49.5M) as did runner-up...

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

If only Pitt had Blanchett's talent. More importantly, if only I were dating Cate Blanchett. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Making a great film is truly an act of alchemy. How else to explain how an exquisitely and sumptuously crafted film like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button falls well short of the mark set recently by two other films made for a relative pittance: Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler. This is not to say...

This Week in Film

Don't spill water on him! (You may damage the plush) | Photo courtesy of lemonfridge via flickr Now that those goody-goody holiday bills of It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story have lain down all snug in their beds, it's time for a real holiday party: Gremlins, gore & Bill Murray. For an even creepier Christmas, the Cinefamily presents "Mondo Xmas", collecting Christmas Evil (John Waters' favorite holiday film), its writer/director Lewis Jackson, a...

Movie Review: Valkyrie

Hi, I'm Tom Cruise and I'm playing a Nazi. A good Nazi! | Photo courtesy of United Artists The one question most people will ask about Valkyrie--fairly or unfairly--is, "Does Tom Cruise ruin this movie?" The answer--as fairly as I can state it--is that he doesn't ruin it, but he also doesn't particularly add anything significant to it which is a shame because Valkyrie should have been a good picture. The source material is rich...

DVD Tuesday: Oh, Keira!

May the Queen of the Corset reign forever! | Photo courtesy of Paramount Vantage Yes, Keira Knightley has many detractors, but I think she's just fabulous. Period pieces like The Duchess are right in her wheelhouse. It's no Brideshead Revisited (see that movie!) but--except for a curiously inert performance by Ralph Fiennes--it's definitely worth a rental. The same can't be said for either Eagle Eye or Ghost Town. The phrase "big-budget misfire" seems about...

Box Office Review: No! Yes!

Zooey looks embarrassed; Jim looks tired; audience looks bored. | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers In a down weekend due to bad weather across the country, middling Jim Carrey "comedy" Yes Man ($18.1M) topped middling Will Smith "drama" Seven Pounds ($16M) to capture the weekend box-office crown. The week's other big newcomer, The Tale of Despereaux, failed to really ignite its needed kiddie base and only came in with a haul of $10.5M. The Day...

Weekend Movie Guide: Wrestle with this!

Years of steroid and HGH abuse finally paying off with meaty role. | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight The Wrestler marks the return of Mickey Rourke to prominence and, to a lesser extent, Darren Aronofsky. I think both are welcome occurrences. Be warned, though--the squeamish should avert their eyes during the meat slicer scene. The Tale of Despereaux is just the sort of broad, silly tale of redemption that a sucker like me always enjoys...

DVD Tuesday: Yes, I liked The House Bunny

She likes to laugh. | Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures You know how some movies are better because of the audience in the theater with you? I think that's why I enjoyed The House Bunny so much. I sat next to the prettiest girl that ever was that night and God damn if Anna Faris wasn't cracking me up. After the monumental No Country for Old Men, it's understandable that the Coen Brothers would go...

Box Office Review: The Day the Earth Was Stupid

Look at the emotion on Reeves' face! Oh wait, there isn't any. Ever. | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Despite sucking and being overwhelmingly patronizing, The Day the Earth Stood Still battled its way to the top of the box-office this weekend by taking in a decent $31M from gullible Americans. The equally bad Four Christmases continued to hover far too high on the charts ($13.2M/$87.9M) while horny but confused teenage girls kept Twilight...

Weekend Movie Guide: Don't Doubt Clint!

Those better not be teenagers on my lawn! | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood has finally fused his many previous cinema personas into something both grand and elegant. It belongs in the Oscar conversation (plus Clint sings!). Doubt was timelier when it opened onstage years back, but how do you miss anything featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep (Along Came Polly and Mamma Mia excepted)? The Day the Earth...

DVD Tuesday: Dark indeed!

Who's afraid of the Batman? | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers While Heath Ledger seems assured of winning Best Supporting Actor at next year's Oscars (and should have won for Brokeback), don't be surprised if The Dark Knight sneaks in to win Best Picture, too. Plenty of folks insist that The Wire is the best show ever to air on television, but I'll stick with Deadwood if asked to choose. Ian McShane gave one of...

Box Office Review: Two for Four

Vince Vaughn astonished by Four Christmases undeserved success. | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Since the weekend following Thanksgiving is an historically slow one for business, the major studios were hesitant to release anything on Friday. As a result, the witless Four Christmases topped the box-office again ($18.1M/$70.8M). Twilight regained some footing after a steep drop last week ($13.1M/$138.5M) while Bolt sank ($9.6M/$79.2M). Australia will struggle to recoup its $130M cost ($7M/$30.8M) unlike Quantum of...

Weekend Movie Guide: Punishing

Titus Pullo is here to kick your ass! | Photo courtesy of Lions Gate Films The first iteration of The Punisher basically sucked, but I think that's mostly because Thomas Jane (and I like Thomas Jane) isn't nearly so perfect for the part as is Ray Stevenson. He's the best thing that Punisher: War Zone has going for it. For any who never watched Rome (and you should!), expect to be blown away by this...

DVD Tuesday: Not Wanted

I could do this same effect in Corel Paint 4 back in the fuckin' 90s! | Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures Wanted may very well be the worst movie ever to have made $100M (unless it's another Jolie groaner, Gone in 60 Seconds). Yes, she shows her bare ass in Wanted, but you can just as easily see that here and save yourself some money. The first two Narnia movies suffer from the same malady...

Box Office Review: Bad Movie Wins Again

Get ready not to laugh! | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Despite not being terribly funny, Four Christmases managed to wrest the box-office crown from last week's winner, Twilight. The new "comedy" hauled in $31.6M ($46.7M) to top a resurgent Bolt ($26.5M/$66.8M) and a fading Twilight ($26.3M/$119.6M). Quantum of Solace stabilized in week 3 ($19.5M/$142M) while Australia debuted to a higher than expected number ($14.8M/$20M). Madagascar 2 continued to print money ($14.5M/$159.5M) while Transporter 3:...

I am Thankful for HER

Changed my life. | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Maybe the best thing about writing for LAist is that we are constantly encouraged by our extraordinarily generous editors to reach out into the scary ether and be personal with our stories. Sure, it doesn't always work out as we intended--we always eventually, clumsily embarrass ourselves a bit by being too personal--but it's great that we have such a liberal outlet for our thoughts. Earlier this...

Holiday Movie Guide: Love Is Strong!

Does it sort of look like she's jerking him off? A little bit? | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Australia is the sort of sprawling, historical epic that just isn't made much anymore. For that reason alone, I'll go see it (since Nic and Baz don't otherwise do it for me). Four Christmases, on the other hand, is the type of movie that is made all too often these days by skittish studios. Vince...

DVD Tuesday: Will Smith Sucks

if Will Smith fell down in the forest, would anyone care? | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Hancock wasn't a terrible movie, but--like everything in which Will Smith meddles--it was mediocre and toothless. It would have been a better movie if superhero Jason Bateman had played the, uh, superhero. I don't get 24. Never have. Never will. I mean, don't people realize that it's Kiefer Sutherland up there on the screen. Anyone really scared of...

Box Office Review: Wow!

All your base are belong to us! | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment As little as a week ago, forecasters were estimating that Twilight would bring in $45-60M in its opening weekend. Those guesses have proven to be way low as the teen vampire romance stormed the box office with a stunning haul of $70.5M. As you might expect, plans are already underway for multiple sequels. Quantum of Solace slumped badly in its second weekend...

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

If only the woman I loved looked at me like this. | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Whereas a minor film like Twilight (and I liked me some Twilight!) employs adolescents to tell a story about adolescent love, a truly powerful film like Slumdog Millionaire succeeds magnificently at the much trickier challenge of using adolescents--and even children--to convey the realmless and redemptive power of unconditional love. Furthermore, it shares with the audience one of the...

Movie Review: Twilight

When you can live forever what do you live for? | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment It's difficult to review a film that is so purposefully intended for an audience other than myself. With its focus on chaste and forbidden love, Twilight is clearly aimed at those young teenage girls for whom actual, physical love is still some spectral thing and for whom dizzying romance is all. From the first moment that Bella Swan's eyes...

Weekend Movie Guide: Buy Advance Tickets!

Okay, wait! Rosalie should have been so much hotter! Alice is perfect. | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment No one is really sure what's going to happen at the box office with Twilight this weekend. My personal take is that it will radically over-perform the early guesses of ~$45M. America, never underestimate the desire and resolve of teenage girls. Didn't you learn anything from Titanic?! Bolt is worth seeing just to hear the grating but...

DVD Tuesday: Wall-E or Thunder?

Johnny 5 experiences late-career resurgence! | Photo courtesy of Pixar Pixar continues its phenomenal string of delivering fantastic films with Wall-E. It may be their best yet. Ben Stiller recovers some of his lost comedic magic with Tropic Thunder (though it's really Downey who owns the movie.) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 would have benefited from more Blake Lively and changing the setting to a Swiss nudist colony. Werner Herzog may not be the...

Box Office Review: Solace shoots to top!

Craig is so Method that he actually uses real bullets. | Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures Quantum of Solace raced to the top of the box office this weekend taking in a huge $70.4M to become the biggest opener in the history of the James Bond series. It easily eclipsed the former record of $47.1M set by Die Another Day. Madagascar 2 was a distant second but still managed to haul in a very healthy...

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace

Doorless cars never really caught on, did they? | Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures The real stars of Quantum of Solace aren't Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko, but stunt coordinator Gary Powell and his army of crack stunt performers. From the thrilling opening car chase along narrow mountain roads to the explosive and fiery conclusion in the desert, rarely does so much as five minutes pass before yet another huge spectacle is splashed across the...

Weekend Movie Guide: Bond...Jimmy Bond

Keep your head down while I pull off this latest impossible shot! | Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures Its story may not be as strong as that of Casino Royale, but Quantum of Solace delivers some true spectacle in its wonderfully creative stuntwork. Go ahead and see Slumdog Millionaire now because it's the movie everyone will be telling you to see in a few weeks. Christmas Tale is a richly cynical film about a...

DVD Tuesday: Go to Hell, George Lucas!

All right, let's show this pre-historic bitch how we do things downtown! | Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures After the disaster that was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I think we can finally all agree that George Lucas has abdicated filmmaking in favor of fattening his already bloated wallet. Guillermo Del Toro, on the other hand, shows such a pure love of cinema that I can't imagine him ever following the same path. Let's hope...

Box Office Review: Madagas-go!

Is there anything funnier than animals who can talk? Yes. Many things. | Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation Madagascar 2: Escape to Witch Mountain blew through expectations this weekend as it hauled in a huge $63.5M from easily fooled children. Similarly, Role Models topped early estimates by bringing in a cool $19.2M and further validating Universal's strategy of pitting R-rated fare against family films. HSM3 slipped in its third frame, but not too badly ($9.2M/$75.7M)...

Weekend Movie Guide: Carpe Diem!

At the end of the day, isn't being with someone who makes you laugh the most important thing? | Photo courtesy of MGM I doubt that Soul Men will be very good, but I'll watch it just to see the late Bernie Mac. His untimely death teaches all of us not to do tomorrow (or months from now) what you can do today! I know the perfect girl to take to the ghoulish Repo! The...

DVD Tuesday: Smart Panda

Yum! Infanticide! | Photo courtesy of DreamWorks It ain't Pixar, but Kung Fu Panda isn't a half-bad flick. The voice-over talent makes up for the relatively uninspired animation. Get Smart looked like a total bomb coming out of the gate, but Steve Carell did a decent job as Maxwell Smart and is Anne Hathaway ever not fun to watch? Shrek-branded prostitution alert! Before there was The Dark Knight there was the grim and great Batman:...

Box Office Review: Crap Reigns!

We're screwing! Yay! | Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios The moronic High School Musical 3 dipped badly in its second week of release but still managed to top the box office this weekend ($15M/$61.7M) as it easily bested funny-ish newcomer Zack and Miri Make a Porno ($10.6M). Saw V also plummeted in frame #2 but still managed to haul in an undeserved $10.1M ($45.8M) from an assortment of psychopaths and degenerates. After that it...

Weekend Movie Guide: Porno!

On a scale of 1 to 10, Elizabeth Banks rates a 14 on my personal bang-ability scale. | Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company I don't know about you but I am steamed--DAMN STEAMED--that Kevin Smith made a movie called Zack and Miri Make a Porno and exempted Elizabeth Banks from what I feel is a compulsory nude scene. Fail, Kevin Smith! Fail! The Haunting of Molly Hartley looks generic, stupid, unscary--you name it. Listless...

DVD Tuesday: Tinker Bell! Yay!

Hey kids! Make your parents buy me! | Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Tinker Bell continues Disney's long and successful tradition of re-packaging characters from other films and presenting them cheaply to children. In other words, corporate evil 101. Brendan Fraser is a fantastic actor who constantly makes mediocre to bad movies. Journey to the Center of the Earth is entry #16. Guy Pearce, on the other hand, is a fine actor who constantly...

Box Office Review: Tweens Rule!

Erect nipples digitally removed to preserve tween innocence. | Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Disney's decision to move the High School Musical series from television to theaters paid off handsomely this weekend as HSM3 raked in $42.5M to win the weekend box-office race. The vile Saw V continued the success of previous installments as future rapists and sociopaths flooded theaters to the tune of a $30.5M weekend. Last week's champ Max Payne slipped to...

Weekend Movie Guide: Let's all go to Synedoche, New York

How can you resist a movie written and directed by Charlie Kaufman? | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics I'm a little concerned about the middling reviews for Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York, but something tells me I'll completely love it. I've Loved You So Long is the other film high on my list this weekend. Kristin Scott Thomas--always good--is supposed to be amazing. How good is Let The Right One In? They are...

DVD Tuesday: That's Incredible!

Anger management issues continue to vex Hulk. | Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures I'll never understand why Ang Lee's The Hulk was so ruthlessly pilloried. While the end of the script had its issues, the comic-style visual presentation of the movie was brilliant. Ed Norton's re-boot of the franchise wasn't up to the earlier, high standard set by Iron Man, but it was still an excellent adaptation of the fearsome Marvel hero. The Strangers was...

Box Office Review: Max brings the Payne!

Now stand aside, sir, so I can go make love to this Ukrainian prostitute!! | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox As expected, Marky Mark's Max Payne easily won this weekend's box office race, tallying $18M in its debut to top the persistent and nefarious Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($11.2M/$69M). Two other newcomers, the dull The Secret Life of Bees and the great W., filled the next two slots with respective grosses of $11M and $10.5M....

Weekend Movie Guide: Feel the Payne!

Frustrated by constant criticism, Marky Mark prepares to kill director. | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Judging by the sour critical reception, it sounds like Max Payne probably sucks. They did cut one hell of a trailer, though. Harry Knowles loved Sex Drive, but then again he also loved Godzilla. How do you not go see W.? I mean, a film about George W. Bush directed by Oliver Stone. The curiosity factor alone will...

DVD Tuesday: We named the dog Indiana!

The poor eyesight of an aged Indy causes terrible car accident. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures Plenty of people were disappointed by the latest Indiana Jones adventure, but I thought there were enough vestiges of the original character to make it worthwhile. Note to George, though: you should have stuck with the Darabont draft. Small, foreign films need critical attention to draw in audiences and the AMPAS really blew it by not recognizing 4...

Box Office Review: U.S. Continues Cultural Decline

Dogs relax prior to coke-fueled gangbang. | Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures Beverly Hills Chihuahua topped the box-office for the second week in a row, pulling in an impressive $17.5M ($52.5M) and validating a little-known prediction by Nostradamus regarding the imminent collapse of civilization. Newcomer Quarantine hauled in a surprising $14.2M as Jennifer Carpenter fans stormed en masse into theaters. The same can not be said for Body of Lies which disappointed badly with...

Weekend Movie Guide: Lies and RocknRolla

'Did you bang her, too?' 'Yeah, I banged her.' 'Cool! We should hang out more often!' | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers I was excited about Body of Lies until I started to see some very middling reviews. Still, Russell Crowe is always worth the price of admission. As for Leo...eh. Word is that Guy Ritchie returns to Lock, Stock and Snatch form with RocknRolla. As with Crowe, Gerard Butler is always rock-solid (literally!). Ernie...

DVD Tuesday: Not Really Happening

One of the many exciting action sequences from 'The Happening' | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox M. Night Shyamalan continues his increasingly rapid descent towards irrelevance with the silly, overblown The Happening. Note to director: long shots of people staring off-screen isn't intrinsically gripping. Despite being sort of absurd, The Visitor was an excellent and long overdue starring role for the always perfect Richard Jenkins. With respect to the earlier comments about M. Night,...

Box Office Review: Society goes to the dogs...

Yet another link removed from chain that supports civilization. | Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures Presaging the imminent arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Beverly Hills Chihuahua raced to the top of the box office this weekend. The cuddly piece of shit hauled in $29M from the borderline intelligent, easily outdistancing last week's champ (and fellow turd) Eagle Eye ($17.7/$54.6M). The wonderful, life-affirming Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist pulled in $12M (go...

Weekend Movie Guide: It's Nick and Nora

All hail his holiness, the great Michael Cera! | Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist looks like an ideal date movie for confused and annoying teens. The presence of the awesomely talented Michael Cera, however, insures my aged presence. Beverly Hills Chihuahua looks so awful that it will probably be hilarious. Stoned. I don't much like Bill Maher, but I do like that Bill Maher exists and has a platform on...

DVD Tuesday: I am Iron Man

Wouldn't the fire heat up the suit to about 1200 degrees? | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures For the 86 people who didn't see Iron Man when it was in theaters, today is your chance to see it on DVD. Trust me--the movie will be just as good on your 26-inch TV as it was on the silver screen. Forgetting Sarah Marshall gets better on the second viewing, though I'm still not sure what the...

Box-Office Review: It's a Shia world!

All hail the box-office power of Shia the Beef! | Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures It almost felt like summer again this weekend as a bloated, crappy movie rang up a huge number at the box-office. Despite seriously sucking balls, Eagle Eye tallied an impressive $29.2M to lead all comers and cement Shia LaBeouf as a guaranteed draw. Aimed squarely at middle-aged women stuck in shitty, loveless marriages, Nights in Rodanthe raked in a very...

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