Results tagged “Josh Tate”

Weekend Movie Guide: Jump and Dance

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox There's a certain kooky irresistibility to Doug Liman. By many accounts, he's virtually impossible to work with and yet the movies he turns out are often very good (Swingers, The Bourne Identity), and one is even great (Go). That said, I'm hesitant to sign on for Jumper. I'm what some would call the opposite of a fan of Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson looks like she has encephalitis....

LAist Interview: Shawn Roberts, Diary of the Dead

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company George A. Romero pioneered the zombie genre when he wrote and directed the seminal Night of the Living Dead in 1968. He would later go on to make Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985) and Land of the Dead (2005). His latest undead picture, Diary of the Dead hits theaters today after successful screenings at the Toronto and Sundance film festivals. Actor Shawn Roberts...

Oh, no! More Star Wars coming to theaters?

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd Like many fans of the original trilogy, I was relieved that the disaster of the "prequels" mercifully ended after Revenge of the Sith. I can't relate to you the sheer embarrassment I felt when my boyhood hero, Darth Vader--a character to whom I ritualistically sacrificed neighborhood pets as a child!--weakly mewled, "Nooo!" after hearing of his beloved Padme's death. Well, fans of the original trilogy are about to feel...

DVD Tuesday: Affleck Rising

Photo courtesy of Miramax When was the last time an actor executed a more profound career turnaround than Casey Affleck? Gone Baby Gone is his second superb performance of the year. If you don't see it for him, see it for Amy Ryan's breakout, Oscar-nominated turn. The mere presence of the divine Anne Hathaway makes Becoming Jane worth renting. James McAvoy was better in this than in the over-hyped (but still good) Atonement. No...

Box Office Review: America Loves Fools

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers In what can only be seen as a ratification of Mike Huckabee's belief that Satan actually exists, Fool's Gold roared to the top of the box office this weekend with a robust take of $22M. Plans are already underway for a third Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey pairing, tentatively titled Shit Sandwich. In further bad news, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins finished second with a healthy gross of $17.1M in its first...

Weekend Movie Guide: Vaughn-tastic!

Photo courtesy of Picturehouse Entertainment After the awful Fred Claus, Vince Vaughn owes us some laughs and Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland might be just the ticket. It follows Vaughn and four hand-picked comedians as they cross the country to play an exhausting 30 shows in 30 nights. There are a bevy of on-stage celebrity cameos and Vaughn never lets his out-sized persona...

Movie Review: Spiral

Photo courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment Joel David Moore is one of those character actors whose name you can never place but whose face you recognize instantly. He often works in broad comedies (Dodgeball, Grandma's Boy) and--let's be honest--his characters are usually not the sharpest tools in the shed. Given all that, I was surprised by the radical and dark departure taken in his latest film, Spiral, in which Moore not only acts, but...

DVD Tuesday: One of the year's best arrives

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford didn't exactly set the box-office on fire when it landed in theaters. Something tells me, though, that this superb, meditative neo-Western will enjoy a long life on DVD. Across the Universe is the world's longest music video and a treat for any Beatles fan (and only for Beatles' fans!). Elizabeth - The Golden Age was unexpectedly ripped by critics....

Box Office Review: Cyrus family back on top!

Photo courtesy of Mike Schmid via Flickr Not since 1992 when Billy Ray Cyrus sparked an ill-advised cultural revolution with his tuneless "Achy Breaky Heart" has the Cyrus family experienced a moment of such undeserved triumph. Defying all logic and good taste, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour crushed all comers at the box-office this weekend. In only 683 theaters, it amassed a staggering $29M and will likely continue playing despite...

Weekend Movie Guide: One gem, much coal

Photo courtesy of Rialto Pictures This weekend's new movie offererings are so spectacularly awful that I felt compelled to lead with the dreamy 1961 French classic, Last Year At Mariendbad, which opens this weekend at the Nuart. You'll probably walk out of the theater wondering what in the hell you just saw (it's trippy and plotless), but at least you'll be challenged a little bit. That certainly won't be the case with Jessica Alba's...

"Speechless" finally has its own home

Photo courtesy of United Hollywood For those of you who've been reading Nikki Finke's blog Deadlinehollywooddaily, the "Speechless" videos are old news by now. For those who haven't, they are a series of pro-WGA videos that demonstrate just how vital writers are to the creative process. Conceived by filmmaker George Hickenlooper and writer Alan Sereboff, the videos have been appearing sporadically since November. They all feature A-list talent appearing in what are essentially silent...

DVD Tuesday: Does Pure Evil Exist?

Photo courtesy of travelin librarian via flickr One of my favorite films of 2007 arrives to DVD today, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. I know what some of you are thinking--why would I want to watch a documentary about grown men competing at Donkey Kong? To that question I can only say, "Trust me. You won't be sorry." Like all great films, King of Kong is about much more than its...

Box Office Review: Spartans rule

Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox In yet another blow to Western civilization, Meet the Spartans ($18.7M) edged Rambo ($18.1M) to win the weekend box office crown. 27 Dresses proved surprisingly robust in its second frame, adding $13.6M ($45.3M) to its coffers. Last week's winner, Cloverfield, went in the opposite direction, plummeting over 68% and bringing in only $12.7M ($64.2M). The weekend's third wide opener, Untraceable finished fifth with $11.2M, in-line with expectations and...

Weekend Movie Guide: He's back...

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate After successfully resuscitating his Rocky franchise last year, Sylvestor Stallone tempts fate again today by bringing the world a new Rambo movie titled, er, Rambo. Something tells me it may be tougher sledding this time around since John Rambo is hardly a beloved character in the same vein as Rocky Balboa. Personally, I think the franchises should be fused: Rambo versus a Drago/Clubber Lang hydra in a fight to the...

LAist at Sundance: The Big Wrap-up

Photo courtesy of jpchan via flickr For me, the Sundance Film Festival officially ended at the airport in Salt Lake City when I was waiting in line behind Bijou Phillips at the Quizno's in Terminal 1. She was politely arguing with the counter guy about why she couldn't get fresh mustard from behind the counter instead of having to use the the mustard packets by the napkin stand. In a heavy accent, he kept...

LAist at Sundance: A Great Doc Day

Photo courtesy of dmax3270 via flickr While the features and shorts at Sundance are occasionally hit or miss, the documentaries are always strong across the board. Yesterday, I was able to see two that I have had my eye on since the festival schedule was originally released: Made in America by Stacy Peralta and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden by Morgan Spurlock. Considering all the frantic back-and-forths I've been doing since last...

LAist at Sundance: The Home Stretch

Photo courtesy of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival As one of my favorite bloggers Jeffrey Wells recently wrote, "The Sundance Film Festival is a 10-day event, but it's always over as of Wednesday morning...the voltage turns down, there are fewer people on Main Street, all the presumably hot titles (i.e., name casts, advance-hyped) have been screened." Park City actually becomes a manageable town again and tickets that were impossible to get a few days...

LAist at Sundance: Run Like Hell

Photo courtesy of Focus Features Even on the best days, the Sundance Film Festival is an extremely hectic place to be. Screenings and events often overlap and are spread all over town, and even though the public transportation is good (and free!), it can still be a nightmare to get someplace quickly. Cabs can be hard to come by and parking (when available) is expensive. Furthermore, there are always going to be lines waiting...

LAist at Sundance: Tarantino Returns

In 1992, Quentin Tarantino made a huge splash at the Sundance Film Festival with his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs. He didn't return to Park City until this year to serve as a member of the Festival's Jury. Last night, he was honored with the Ray-Ban Visionary Award and LAist was there. Following a short introduction by Dennis Hopper, Quentin took the stage and riffed about his first Sundance experience for about twenty minutes. Following...

DVD Tuesday: Mostly lackluster

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company Even though they are the two big releases today, I just couldn't bring myself to lead with the awful Saw IV and the even worse The Game Plan. Save yourself some money and buy the truly entertaining The Hunting Party instead. Remember that Jessica Simpson movie that made only a few hundred bucks in theaters a few weeks ago? It's out on DVD, ready to be ignored again....

Box Office Review: No surprises here...

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures As expected, Cloverfield demolished the box office this weekend, setting a record for a January opener with $41M in receipts. The final total was $15M+ more than was expected as early as a week ago, establishing Cloverfield as a potential monster of a hit once word-of-mouth starts to flow. Not to be outdone, 27 Dresses surprised to the high side in its debut, raking in a solid $22.4M and...

LAist at Sundance: Packed!

Photo courtesy of Alik Keplicz/AP Saturday is invariably both the best and worst day of the entire festival. It's the best in the sense that there is no shortage of high-profile movies, events and parties to attend. It's the worst in the sense that everyone--and I include the entire under-25 population of Salt Lake City--knows this. Saturday simply has the most intense crowds of the entire festival. It's the perfect day to avoid Main...

LAist at Sundance: Lights Out!

There are usually only two things to talk about at the Sundance Film Festival: the movies and the parties. Last night was unique, though, because everybody was talking about...the blackout! That's right. Around 9:30 last night the whole town just went completely dark for at least half on hour. Periodic blackouts continued for the next hour or so before everything finally returned to normal. It was a surreal scene. Thousands of people were just...

LAist at Sundance: The Big Preview

Photo courtesy of In Between Sessions via Flickr Starting tomorrow and continuing through next week, LAist will be reporting live from the Sundance Film Festival. We'll be covering the films, the parties, the people and the various surreal and pointless events that comprise the most important film festival in the country. With the WGA strike still in full bloom, most are expecting a buying frenzy up in Park City as distributors stock up on...

Weekend Movie Guide: Go see Cloverfield

photo courtesy of paramount pictures I'm shocked at the middling critical response that Cloverfield has generated. Sure, it's only a popcorn movie, but it's a perfect popcorn movie! Plenty of movies are described as a roller-coaster ride, but when Cloverfield finally ends you physically feel like you just got off a roller-coaster. I can't imagine a scenario where Cloverfield is not a huge box-office hit. I also can't imagine there not being a huge...

Movie Review: Cloverfield

Since its teaser trailer screened in front of Transformers this past summer, there's been a good deal of buzz surrounding Cloverfield. Unlike most movies that arrive loaded with hype, though (Snakes on a Plane anyone?), Cloverfield completely delivers. It is the most visceral, thrilling movie I've seen in years. Not since Trinity's opening bullet-time fight in the The Matrix have I heard an audience spontaneously burst into applause in the middle of a movie....

Most Terrifying Movie in History Opens this Friday

When Teeth screened at Sundance last year, there was a collective shudder and crossing of legs by the male members of the audience. You see, the subject of Teeth is the cultural myth of vagina dentata. Jess Weixler plays Dawn, a young Christian girl who is struggling with her budding sexuality and the aggressive attentions of the men around her. She soon discovers that she possesses the ultimate weapon against over-familiarity. That's right, she...

DVD Tuesday: Come on! It was a goof!

As a devoted fan of Wet Hot American Summer, I feel it's my duty to give top-billing to the equally hilarious The Ten. I'm not sure there was a more surreal comic moment last year than Liev Schreiber's competition with his neighbor over--what else--CAT-scan machines. I almost resent Ricky Gervais for not sticking with Extras a few more years. There are now only three funny shows left on TV. Between grief and Good Luck...

Golden Globe Review: The Film Awards

Despite being thoroughly outed by Vikram Jayanti in his superb documentary, The Golden Globes: Hollywood's Dirty Little Secret, the Globes do retain some credibility in certain quarters. I don't buy that they are any sort of barometer for Academy Award nominations, but they do give nominees the extra media attention that may tip an Oscar nod their way. That said, here's what I thought about tonight's results and what they may portend. BEST MOTION...

Box Office Review: Old Farts Reign!

In its first weekend of wide release, The Bucket List charged to the top of the box office. Its tally of $19.54 million ($20.9M) just edged Ice Cube's First Sunday which debuted with an even $19M. There was some talk that upstart Juno might win the weekend crown, but it had to settle for a still healthy $14M ($71.2M). It now seems certain to reach $100M while holiday stalwarts National Treasure: Book of Secrets...

Eco-LA to Present "ReVisions"

In 2004, artist Peter Schulberg learned that literally tons of advertising billboards were being dumped into landfills every month. His solution to dealing with all this waste was rather novel: recycle those billboards into art. On Saturday night, the newest exhibition of these pieces is unveiled at Eco-LogicalART. Fifteen local artists have created pieces that will eventually be mounted as billboards across the city. Based on existing traffic patterns, it's estimated that 750,000 people...

Weekend Movie Guide: Uwe is Back!

After a busy holiday season, there's a pronounced lull in the film distribution business this weekend. The lazy plan is just to go wide with a few films that have already been playing in Los Angeles for a few weeks (The Bucket List, The Kite Runner, The Orphanage). As such, we Angelenos are left with only a few scraps (and bad scraps at that) to consider. Take heart, though--the mysterious and intriguing Cloverfield is...

Screening Alert: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

As part of their Golden Globe Foreign Language Nominee series, American Cinematheque is screening The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tonight at the Aero Theater. Director and noted artist Julian Schnabel will be on-hand to introduce the film. It tells the wrenching story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former editor of ELLE magazine who suffered a stroke at the age of 43 and spent the rest of his life able to move only one eyelid....

DVD Tuesday: Zodiac unleashed!

If any film cried out for a comprehensive DVD this year it was Zodiac. Casual viewers probably didn't realize it, but Zodiac was swimming in meticulously crafted CGI. Check out this video and be truly amazed by the subtle work of David Fincher and his team. Then, go out and buy the DVD. You know that it's been a good year at the movies when 3:10 to Yuma is only the third or fourth...

Box Office Review: Juno makes its move

National Treasure: Book of Secrets ($20.2M/$171M) and I Am Legend ($16.3M/$228.6M) continued to rule the box office, but the weekend's big news belonged to Juno. In its first weekend of wide release, the sly comedy raked in $16.2M ($52M) and has now eclipsed the gross of last year's indie-ish* hit Little Miss Sunshine (*both films were produced by major studios). Alvin and the Chipmunks was a hair behind at $16M ($176.7M). Crappy newcomer One...

Weekend Movie Guide: Catch-up time!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the worst opening weekend of the year! Granted, it's only the first weekend of the year but with a mere one movie opening--one!--I think it may hold the title for the next 51 weeks. That movie, of course, is One Missed Call. It's your typical, 'let's trick bored teenagers into seeing another bad re-make of a better Japanese horror film.' I thought that trend had run its course, but...

Movie Review: There Will Be Blood

Legend holds that after seeing Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Tom Cruise jumped to his feet and loudly declaimed, "That rocks!". Some movies take a little longer to process. After watching No Country for Old Men I remember considering the movie for a few days before finally deciding that it was, indeed, a great film with a perfect ending. Likewise, it's only now--a week after seeing it--that I'm ready to write about There...

Screening Alert: Honeydripper with John Sayles Q&A

John Sayles has enjoyed one of the more respected careers in film over the last twenty-five years. By some estimates, he is the king of the uncredited re-write and has used the large fees he's garnered as a script doctor to further his own career as a writer-director. His resume is studded with several superb pictures (Sunshine State, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out, The Brother from Another Planet) and one masterpiece (Lone Star). Tonight...

DVD Tuesday: Wow...almost nothing

You know it's a light week when I lead off with the DVD of a TV series. The Tudors wasn't great television, but it was pretty good and Natalie Dormer was fantastic as the doomed Ann Boleyn. Am I the only one who confuses Shoot 'Em Up with Smokin' Aces? War is Jet Li's last martial arts flick...until the next one. Weird Science lasted two whole seasons? Amazing. Consumer alert!: Indie Sex is mostly...

The Ten Worst Movies of 2007

The most distressing thing about the ten worst movies of the year wasn't even the movies themselves. True, they were all extremely depressing--especially the "comedies"--but nothing was more deflating than the immense amount of money that so many of them made. Their runaway success ensures that 2008 will have no shortage of Grade-A shit. Having said that, here are my ten worst. I can't believe I couldn't find room for Next. 1. Balls of...

Ten Best Movies of 2007

I had originally planned to forgo a "best of" list and just talk about all of the movies I enjoyed in this very deep and rich year. After some consideration, though, I decided I should stick my neck out a little bit and go with the best of the best. I'm sure I went with a few outliers and even ignored some consensus picks, but that's why you do these things, right? The hardest...

Weekend Movie Guide: Best Horror Film of the Year?

The list is a little long this week since I'm including the Christmas Day openers. Having already raved about There Will Be Blood yesterday, I'll lead off with what some are calling the best horror film of the year, The Orphanage. For any horror fan who's tired of torture porn and bad Japanese re-makes, this is the movie for you. Grim and spare, it's a horror film for adults and Spain's foreign-language entrant for...

There Will Be Blood is here at last!

I certainly can't speak for anyone else, but There Will Be Blood is my most anticipated film of the year, and it finally starts today at the Arclight. Part of me doesn't want to even mention this since it will only spur more people to crowd the theater tonight. The better half, though, thinks it's worth announcing since Blood is sure to go down as one of the best films in what has already...

DVD Tuesday, uh, Wednesday: The Dickhouse Experiment

After debuting last week on the Internet, Jackass 2.5 is coming to DVD tomorrow. I'll be watching, laughing and drinking--in that order. If you missed Eastern Promises in theaters, pick it up immediately. Viggo has never been better. I enjoyed The Kingdom, but I think I would have preferred the original ending (spoiler warning!). The Heartbreak Kid was funnier than critics gave it credit for and had the best last line of any movie...

Box Office Review: Treasure indeed!

In a crowded weekend of new movies, it was National Treasure: Book of Secrets that topped the box office with a haul of 45.5 million dollars. I Am Legend showed good strength in it second weekend ($34.2M/$137.4M) as did Alvin and the Chipmunks ($29M/$84.8M). Charlie Wilson's War managed fourth place in its debut ($9.6M), just ahead of fellow opener Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ($9.3M). P.S. I Love You had a...

LAist Interview: Hilary Angelo, Charlie Wilson's War

Though most film coverage focuses on the stars of a particular movie, there is a large legion of supporting actors who give shape and weight to the world of that film. Before Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the stars of Charlie Wilson's War, he had a brief but memorable role many years ago in Scent of a Woman. Now, also in Charlie Wilson's War, Hilary Angelo jumps off the screen as one of the...

Weekend Movie Guide: Rock Hard, Cox!

One day the golden touch of Judd Apatow will fade and one of his films will bomb (Drillbit Taylor is the likeliest culprit). For now, though, he can seem to do no wrong and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story looks to be his latest triumph. It's a bit of a departure for Apatow--there's a strong Zucker vibe coursing through Walk Hard--but I'll be piling into the theater along with everyone else this weekend...

Francis Ford Coppola at the Landmark tonight!

Though his recent output has been sparse and not particularly memorable, there can be no argument that Francis Ford Coppola has left one of the larger imprints on the history of film. This is a man who once directed, consecutively--consecutively--The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II and Apocalypse Now. Tonight, he'll be at the 7:40 screening of his latest, Youth Without Youth at the Landmark Theater at Pico and Westwood. Incidentally, if you...

Movie Review: Charlie Wilson's War

Like American Gangster earlier in the fall, Charlie Wilson's War tells a fascinating and (mostly) true story that's so improbable you wonder what's taken it so long to reach the big screen. If you don't already know, Charlie Wilson was a fairly nondescript Congressman from Texas (known more as a hedonist than a legislator) who almost single-handedly provided the money and weapons that the Afghan Mujahideen used to defeat the seemingly invincible Soviet Union....

Hellboy 2 Trailer is Online Right Now!

Only Bryan Singer has directed a better superhero movie than Guillermo del Toro's original Hellboy. It was one of the real surprises of 2004 and starting next July the whole gang is back for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Early details about the film have been sparse (expect Del Toro compadre Harry Knowles to have the lion's share of exclusives), but today at noon the first trailer for the film rolls out simultaneously on...

Movie Review: Sweeney Todd

Having never seen the stage version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, I can't speak to the fidelity the film shares with the play. That said, let there be no doubt that Tim Burton has crafted a true piece of musical cinema from Stephen Sondheim's bloody masterpiece. To their discredit, early previews have hedged a bit regarding the singing in the film. In them we only see Johnny Depp canting some...

David Milch speaks today at the WGA Theater

I think reasonable people would agree that Deadwood was one of the best shows on television over the last few years. It never got the pub that The Sopranos did, but I know which show I was more excited to see (Tony Soprano's lucky he never had to face Al Swearengen). And while John from Cincinnati was confusing as hell sometimes (okay, most of the time), I still tuned in for every episode. Anyway,...

DVD Tuesday: Once is the one

There are two movies that are being scandalously left off the year-end best lists. The first, Rescue Dawn, is already out on DVD. The second, Once, is available today. Simply put, this is one of the best musicals and love stories in years. Buy it and watch it immediately. The Simpsons Movie was much better than I expected. If only the same care was put into the TV series. Why did Stardust bomb? It...

Box Office Review: Record-breaker!

I Am Legend proved to be legendary, indeed, as it opened with a staggering 76.5 million dollars--an all-time record for a film in December. Considering it exceeded estimates by over $30M, I think it's safe to say that Will Smith is now officially the biggest movie star in the world. I can't remember the last time I typed out such a depressing statement. Alvin in the Chipmunks surged unexpectedly, bringing in an even $45M,...

Weekend Movie Guide: Legend? Meh...

Of all the big holiday releases, I Am Legend is probably the one I'm least excited to see. And that's saying a lot considering National Treasure 2 is on the docket. As for Legend, I just get the feeling that there's absolutely nothing in the movie that will surprise me. And I'm sure that the dark ending of Matheson's source novel has been scrapped in favor of something more life-affirming. Because Will Smith never...

Screening Alert: The Pixar Story

Who has been the most potent force in filmmaking over the last twenty years? Steven Spielberg? Tom Hanks? Tom Cruise? Joel Silver? How about John Lasseter? His Pixar films have enjoyed unparalleled critical and commercial success since the debut of Toy Story in 1995. Tonight at the Egyptian you can see the whole story of Pixar unfold when the American Cinematheque screens The Pixar Story. Featuring never-before-seen material from the Pixar library, archival animation...

DVD Tuesday: New Lord Voldy-thingy!

The Harry Potter series of films may be due for a bit of a letdown now that the books are all done and the secrets are out. Nevertheless, something tells me I'll be curling up with the family to watch Order of the Phoenix over Christmas. If Paul Greengrass isn't the best director working right now he's definitely on a very short list and Bourne Ultimatum is the proof. What was Vanessa Hudgens thinking?...

Box Office Review: Golden Compass loses its way

For those of you who enjoyed The Golden Compass this weekend, it looks unlikely that you'll have the chance to see the second installment of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Compass only managed to take in 26.1 million dollars at the box-office, below what were already reduced expectations. Considering its budget was rumored to be above $200M, it's looking like Compass may rival Evan Almighty as the flop of the year. Shame. Since Compass...

Movie Review: The Golden Compass

Let's get this out of the way immediately--if you are a fan of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, you will be disappointed by some of the elisions and excisions made in this movie. The degree to which it bothers you will largely determine how much you enjoy The Golden Compass. I won't get into the details too much since it would spoil the movie for those unfamiliar with the novels. Let's just say...

Weekend Movie Guide: And the Oscar goes to...

Atonement hits theaters this weekend as one of the few, definite contenders for an Academy Award. It bears all the traditional hallmarks of an Oscar-caliber film: lavish period piece (check), excellent source novel (check), epic scope (check), high-powered English cast (check), nude scene from Keira Knightley (double check). Those critics who've already seen it have been generous with praise, so I'm expecting nothing less than a winner. It's virtually certain that The Golden Compass...

Appointment Television: Sand and Sorrow

The past year has given us two searing portraits of the human crisis in Darfur: Darfur Now and The Devil Came on Horseback. Tonight on HBO, a worthy third film joins them. In Sand and Sorrow, director Paul Freedman and narrator George Clooney follow John Prendergast, Samantha Power and Nicholas Kristof as they explore the tragedy of the genocide in Sudan. They journey through refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border, visit mass graves inside...

DVD Tuesday: Screw Pirates--new Galactica is here!

So, yeah, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Superbad are the big releases this weekend. Honestly, I liked both movies well enough, but neither deserves the #1 slot in the weekly rundown like Battlestar Galactica: Razor does. Since new episodes of the best show on television won't air until March 2008, we'll have to make do with this 2-hour movie that follows the adventures of the Pegasus after the treacherous Cylon attack against the...

Box Office Review: America is still Enchanted

Enchanted joined the small circle of films that have topped the box office over consecutive weekends this year. It brought in 17 million dollars, raising its cume to a healthy $70.6M. This Christmas was second to Enchanted once again. It made an extra $8.4M and--considering its meager $13M budget--is now a bona fide hit with a gross of $36.9M. Beowulf was third in its third week, adding $7.9M to its $68.6M worth of treasure....

Sunday Morning at the Movies

For over 60 years, the Monday Evening Concerts program has been a tradition in Los Angeles. This Sunday, they've decided to add a new wrinkle by screening documentaries and hosting discussions that tie into the Monday concert. If you're looking for a refined way to spend tomorrow morning, head down to the Goethe-Institut Media Lounge and enjoy a screening of Casa Scelsi: A Voyage into Sound along with a performance by violinist Vincent Royer...

So Bad It's Good Film Fest: Road House

Everyone has a guilty pleasure when it comes to terrible movies (mine is Autumn in New York--don't ask). Tonight at the glorious old Vista in Los Feliz, the good people from the So Bad It's Good Film Fest will be screening one of the true standards of the genre: Road House. Patrick Swayze stars as James Dalton, a "cooler" who is brought in to tame the rowdy Double Deuce bar in Jasper, Missouri where...

This December at the Silent Movie Theatre

One of the great things about living in L.A. is the profusion of movie choices available. You can see everything from Beowulf in 3-D at the Bridge's IMAX theater to Into the Wild in one of the Landmark's Living Rooms to a revival screening of Bananas at the New Beverly. One of the best choices for more eclectic fare is the Silent Movie Theater. Every month they program several series, any of which is...

Weekend Movie Guide: Savage beauty!

With the big Christmas season movies still a week away (The Golden Compass, Atonement), it's a rather soft schedule of new releases. That's not to say there aren't any quality films coming out, though. At the top of the list is The Savages. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney and Philip Bosco star in Tamara Jenkin's acerbic drama about two siblings forced to care for their not altogether pleasant father as he slips further into...

DVD Review: Hearts of Darkness...

When you consider the numerous fiascoes that afflicted the production of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, you realize that it's sort of a miracle it was ever even finished (much less that it turned out to be a minor epic). What seems even more improbable, though, is that two relative newcomers like George Hickenlooper and Fax Bahr would be hired to cobble together footage shot by Coppola's wife, Eleanor, and that the resultant documentary...

LAist Interview: George Hickenlooper

Though hardly a mainsteam name, George Hickenlooper has managed to carve out a long filmmaking career full of varied and fascinating work. From documentaries (Mayor of the Sunset Strip, Monte Hellman: American Auteur) to narrative features (The Man from Elysian Fields, Factory Girl), Hickenlooper has always delivered unexpected and satisfying stories. Two of his best documentaries are also two of his first: Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas and...

The Wright Stuff at the New Beverly Cinema

For me, Edgar Wright is one of those directors whose films I see the moment they hit theaters. Both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz share a comic spirit that never diminishes even after many viewings. This past August, Wright hosted several sold-out screenings of his films at the New Beverly Cinema and starting December 2nd the New Beverly will turn over its programming reins to him for what is sure to be...

Movie Review: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

I'm ashamed to admit how long it took me to finally catch Sidney Lumet's latest film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. After all, Lumet is one of the true grandmasters of the craft (he directed his first significant film, 12 Angry Men, over fifty years ago!). What's more, the cast he brought together for Devil is absolutely top-notch: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris. Worst of all,...

Box Office Review: Enchanted, uh, enchants!

To no one's surprise, Enchanted handily won the weekend box-office crown. Though early estimates ranged as high as 58 million dollars for the 5-day holiday weekend, the actual returns were a still robust $50.048M. Excellent word of mouth and a strong appeal to families should ensure that the Disney fantasy flick continues to do good business during the Christmas season. Speaking of which, This Christmas surprised somewhat with a strong $27.1M since its Wednesday...

DVD Tuesday: Keri is so very...

It's such a great shame that Adrienne Shelly's life was cut so tragically short last year. Her last film, Waitress, was one of the true, unexpected delights of the summer season. Hot Rod, however, was one of the bigger disappointments. Maybe Andy Samberg is better in two minute increments. I Know Who Killed Me may one day rival Showgirls as a guilty pleasure. It's odd. I really like Rowan Atkinson as a performer...except when...

Weekend Movie Guide: Farewell to privacy, Amy!

The buzz on Enchanted--and especially Amy Adams--has been high for the last few weeks. Weren't they saying the same thing about Adams, though, after Junebug? Either way, I'll see Enchanted this weekend. In a strange way, it reminds me of Galaxy Quest. Stay with me here. I thought Galaxy Quest looked horrible when I saw the previews, but I ended up loving it. Will the same hold true for Enchanted? I'm actually a fairly...

DVD Review: Ratatouille

I decided to hold this review (and the Pixar Short Films DVD) for as long as I could because I wanted it to be fresh in everyone's minds as they prepared for the start of the Christmas shopping season this Friday. Whether you are looking for something for a girlfriend or a nephew or even a grandparent, Ratatouille belongs in your basket. It is another in the increasingly long string of delightful movies that...

DVD Review: Pixar Short Film Collection, Vol 1

In the world we live in now, Pixar is nothing less than an institution. Every film it releases is an event and each of them receive excellent reviews and make piles of money. Of course, Pixar wasn't always so admired and ubiquitous. It was once a money-losing division of LucasFilm that was sold off to Steve Jobs for a paltry 5 million dollars. All of this is laid out in a behind-the-scenes feature on...

DVD Tuesday: Apocalypse Then

Hearts of Darkness is such a perfect complement to Apocalpyse Now that it's hard to watch one without thinking of the other. Though it's not the greatest print, the former is finally available on DVD. Now that the year is coming to an end, people are starting to talk about Oscar contenders. Why is the superb Rescue Dawn being left out of the mix? Live Free or Die Hard doesn't play like a Die...

Box Office Review: Geats win!

While it easily won the weekend box-office crown, Beowulf disappointed somewhat with a 28.1 million dollar opening. If it's anything like Zemekis' last film Polar Express, though, the amazing 3-D will continue to pull in audiences for weeks to come. Having seen it at the IMAX theater at the Bridge, I can say that it is totally worth the price of a ticket. Bee Movie stayed strong in its third week, adding $14.3M and...

Weekend Movie Guide: That! Guy! Is! Beowulf!

It almost feels like summer again as Beowulf comes crashing into theaters with a huge amount of hype. From where I'm sitting, though, that hype actually looks deserved. If 3-D is (once again) the future of film, consider me an early adopter. Combine a technical innovator like Zemekis with two--and I mean this as a true compliment--odd birds like Avary and Gaiman and you get a movie that is relentlessly beautiful and compelling. Love...

Movie Review: No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men is so profoundly good, so rich in depth and meticulous in craft that if someone were to ask me what I thought of it, I would only be able to stammer, "Just...go see it. Quickly!" Adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name (its title lifted from Yeats' Sailing to Byzantium), No Country for Old Men tells the deceptively simple story of a man who finds a...

DVD Tuesday: Like pigs at the trough!

Two of the four big summer three-quels hit DVD shelves today. Neither is worth your money. Better to spend it on La Vie en Rose, featuring one of the best performances in years by the amazing Marion Cotillard. Better yet, make it a French double-feature and pick up Paris Je T'Aime, too. If you haven't yet, invest a weekend watching Berlin Alexanderplatz. And, yes, it will take the whole weekend. Christmas and South Park...

Box Office Review: Surprise!

Covering the weekend box office race can sometimes be a tedious job for the simple reason that there are rarely big surprises. Typically, a movie opens on a bunch of screens, makes a large portion of its money in its opening frame, then drops 50% in each successive weekend before finally disappearing from theaters. There are, however, occasional outliers who don't follow the normal pattern and make life much more interesting. Bee Movie is...

Weekend Movie Guide: One diamond, much coal...

With one very notable exception, it's a fairly dull weekend in the movie world. That exception, of course, is the sterling No Country for Old Men. After several misfires (Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, The Man Who Wasn't There), the Coen Brothers are back with their best film since The Big Lebowski. Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones all give superb performances in this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name....

DVD Tuesday: Rats for you!

Pixar's long streak of superb movies is starting to feel vaguely satanic, but I'm willing to keep embracing evil as long as it's this rich and funny. Ratatoille is the latest and resides in the very top tier. Michael Moore's Sicko didn't rouse as much rabble as Fahrenheit 9/11, but it's a better movie. Interesting that Seinfeld: Season 9 is dropping on the same day as Flight of the Conchords: Season 1 since Murray...

Box Office Review: Gangster robs theaters!

There was a welcome flight to quality this weekend as movie-goers finally gave some love to a good flick. American Gangster blasted its way to the top with an impressive haul of 46.3 million dollars. Bolstered by positive reviews and the stellar box-office power of Denzel Washington, Gangster should continue to thrive in the coming weeks. Jerry Seinfeld's initial foray into the motion picture business can certainly be called a success. Despite mediocre notices,...

Weekend Movie Guide: Clear your schedule!

This weekend is one of those weekends where--if you love movies--you'll be hard-pressed to choose which one (or two) to see. Most will probably settle on American Gangster, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Couple two powerhouse actors (Denzel & Crowe) with a reliable director (Ridley), add a compelling story that has slipped through the cracks for years and you have what looks to be a great, studio picture. If, like the...

Movie Review: Sharkwater

The opening moments of Sharkwater promise what appear to be little more than a beautiful film about the kingdoms of the deep. Plants sway with the current, silver schools of fish move as one and sharks glide effortlessly through the clear water, remote and menacing. Then, one of the more remarkable images I've ever seen suddenly appears: a man is standing on the ocean floor cradling a six-foot shark in his arms and stroking...

LAist Interview: Rob Stewart, creator of Sharkwater

In a year of great documentaries, Sharkwater resides in the very top tier. It is a passionate advocacy film about the immense slaughter of sharks currently going on in the world's oceans. Sharks are caught in 60-mile long lines, have their fins cut off and then are simply dumped back in the ocean to rot. I recently had the opportunity to speak with the film's writer, director and narrator, Rob Stewart. You originally started...

Movie Review: Control

Like Jim Morrison before him, Ian Curtis exists in the mind's eye as more of an idea than a real person. Certainly, his early death contributes mightily to this perception. Anton Corbijn's Control, however, rescues him from the murky fog of legend and restores him to a state of full humanity. It is, simply, a remarkable film, as much for what it is as for what it is not. It resists the temptation towards...

LAist Interview: Orian Williams, producer of Control

Whether you are a devoted fan of Joy Division or simply a casual listener, Control should be high on your must-see list of movies. It is a masterfully and intimately told story about one of the more opaque musical figures of the last thirty years, Ian Curtis (my LAist review of the film is below). Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with one of the film's producers, Orian Williams, who spent ten years...

DVD Tuesday: First bloated summer 3-quel lands!

Spider-Man 3 would have been an immeasurably better movie if it had just stuck to one villain. Seriously, Venom should not be sharing the screen with anyone else. No End in Sight received ecstatic reviews when it was released in theaters so, naturally, no one saw it. Correct that mistake when it lands on DVD shelves. Talk to Me was better than I expected; Wendell Baker was worse; Day Watch was unwatchable nonsense. The...

Box Office Review: Torture is the ticket!

To no one's surprise, Saw IV handily topped the box office this weekend with a haul of 32.1 million dollars. It's the third consecutive year that a film from the Saw franchise has won the Halloween weekend. I'm sure we all know what to expect next year. Dan in Real Life had a reasonably good debut, taking in $12M and re-establishing Steve Carell as a box-office force after the disaster that was Evan Almighty....

Weekend Movie Guide: The bad, the ugly and the good

After the disaster that was Evan Almighty, Steve Carell seems to have recovered (albeit slightly) with Dan in Real Life. Carell stars as a widower who inadvertently falls in love with his brother's girlfriend--hey, who fucking hasn't?! Celebrated French hellcat, er, actress Juliette Binoche stars as said girlfriend (which is good). Dane Cook is the brother, though, which is bad. Which is awful. Which sucks so hard there's no way I'm seeing this movie....

DVD Tuesday: Silliest movie of year now available!

There were probably worse movies released this year than Mr. Brooks (see Norbit, The Game Plan). However, Mr. Brooks was undeniably the most absurd. Everyone plays against type--to hilarious results. This is definitely a must-rental, but only if you plan to get really stoned. The final episodes of The Sopranos are finally available. What really happened to Tony during the much-hyped finale? I think it was all a dream inside an autistic boy's head....

Box Office Review: Vampires Reign!

To no one's surprise 30 Days of Night topped the box office this weekend, though its 16 million dollar take hardly qualifies it as a hit. Year-over-year, it is the fifth down weekend in a row and relief doesn't appear to be in sight for a few more weeks when American Gangster and Bee Movie should pull some asses into seats. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? held up fairly well in its...

Weekend Movie Guide: Drinking human blood is cool!

For what seems like the 300th time this year, Hollywood is giving us a movie based on a graphic novel. That movie is 30 Days of Night and stars the lethally inexpressive Josh Hartnett as a small-town sheriff charged with the task of protecting Barrow, Alaska from a rampaging horde of hungry (or is thirsty?) vampires. All I can say is, "at least it's rated R". I'll probably sit this one out and wait...

Movie Review: Reservation Road

Despite the presence of a fine cast, compelling material and a promising director, Reservation Road is further proof that there's a certain amount of alchemy involved in the creation of a good movie. While Reservation Road isn't terrible, it is relentlessly mediocre which--considering the high level of talent involved--can only qualify it as a deep disappointment. The script hits a profoundly false note so early in the film that you spend the rest of...

DVD Tuesday: Great! More damn money for Michael Bay!

Transformers would have been perfect as a 20-minute demo reel for ILM. Instead, it's a long, dull live-action cartoon. And I still don't understand all the fuss about Shia LaBeouf. He's good. Not amazing. Good. No one saw A Mighty Heart at the theater, but it's worth a rental. Angelina Jolie the Actress has been replaced by Angelina the Star, but she doesn't get in the way of a gripping, horrifying story. No one...

Box Office Review: Perry now bigger star than Clooney!

In a shocking upset, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married easily topped the box-office with a much higher than expected $21.5 million haul. Ordinarily, I'm on the side of the underdog, but Perry's movies are so aggresively mediocre that I'm not looking forward to the glut of his product that is now certain to follow. Then again, Why Did I Get Married is hardly worse than The Game Plan which finished second in...

Weekend Movie Guide: Prestige Film Season Continues

It's a strong weekend for new releases. After a long break, Jim Gray is back in the director's chair with We Own the Night. Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix star as brothers on opposite sides of the law. Reviews have been 50/50, but critics were equally blase about Gray's last flick, The Yards, which I loved. Cate Blanchett is back as Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Reviews have been weaker than those...

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