Results tagged “Josh Tate”

Late Night Eats: Mao's Kitchen

Most late-night grub benefits mightily from the drunken torpor we're often in when eating at two in the morning. Let's face it--the places that serve food deep into the night are not usually those we patronize when in full command of our senses. And, yet, there are exceptions. Luckily for me (since it's 50 feet from my apartment), Mao's is one of them. Every dish is prepared a la minute and you can tailor...

Special Event Alert: Screamfest!

As Halloween draws ever close, what better way to spend an evening than having the shit scared out of you in a movie theater? Screamfest, in my opinion the best horror film festival out there, begins tomorrow in Hollywood. Screenings on tap include George Romero's brand new Diary of the Dead, Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D, the director's cut of Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, 30 Days of Night and the terrifically spooky...

Movie Review: The Heartbreak Kid

Though it's opening weekend box office total was surprisingly low, it was no surprise that critics savaged The Heartbreak Kid. Of all the Farrelly Brothers movies, only There's Something About Mary received good notices (the very funny and underrated Stuck on You and the weak Fever Pitch did okay). Comedies, of course, never get the critical respect that dramas do and vulgar comedies typically fare worst of all (with the notable exception of Judd...

DVD Tuesday: Penguins, Zombies, YHWH...

Surf's Up was actually better than Happy Feet but, as my grandpa used to always tell me, the second Penguin-themed animated movie never does as well as the first. 28 Weeks Later may lack the novelty of 28 Days Later, but it's just as tense and terrifying. The fate of Robert Carlyle is truly awful. Amazingly, even Steve Carrell can be unfunny sometimes. YHWH is truly powerful. John Dahl never gets the rich praise...

Box Office Review: It's a heartbreaker...

Despite early expectations that it would top $20 million in its opening weekend, The Heartbreak Kid failed to knock off The Game Plan at the box office. Though it's actually better than its fairly dismal reviews, The Heartbreak Kid could only muster $14 million in its debut frame, while The Game Plan reigned for the second straight weekend with $16.2M ($42.8M) and is now, unfortunately, a bona fide hit. Damn you, America! Can't you...

Weekend Movie Guide: Another dismal Stiller comedy?

There was a time when I thought Ben Stiller was one of the more inventive comic minds in the business (consider these hilarious shorts as proof--1,2,3,4,5,6). He can still be funny (witness his brilliant turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm), but it seems like he mostly wants to play it safe now. Let's hope that The Heartbreak Kid is a return to old form, both for Stiller and the inconsistent Farrelly Brothers (who direct). Swedish...

Special Event Alert: The Jazz Singer

When you list the truly groundbreaking films in the history of Hollywood, The Jazz Singer would be right up near the top (if not at the top). For those who don't know, it was the first successful "talkie"--a film that has synchronized dialogue. It opened in New York on October 6th, 1927 and changed the course of cinema history. Silent films, which until then had dominated the film industry, would eventually become little more...

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Considering its initial mixed critical reception and middling box-office performance, it's sort of amazing how Blade Runner has grown in stature over the last two decades. In 2007, the American Film Institute even named it the 97th greatest movie of all time. Starting Friday, a final version of the film (there have been 7 different cuts) will begin screening in Los Angeles and if you're even half a fan of this movie you should...

Movie Review: Feast of Love

I walked into Feast of Love with high expectations. Despite his reputation in some corners as a lightweight (probably only because he hosted Talk Soup all those years ago), I think Greg Kinnear is a profoundly underrated actor. His recent work, especially in Auto Focus, The Matador and Little Miss Sunshine has been wonderfully understated. That he would be joined by a bevy of equally solid, unflashy actors--Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander, Radha Mitchell, Selma...

DVD Tuesday: Is that you Abe Sapien?

If you've missed Ken Burns' latest sprawling effort on PBS, you can catch it today when it drops on DVD. Silver Surfer was better than the original Fantastic Four, but that's not really saying much. Got to love Doug Jones, though. 1408 was a surprise summer hit. I think it'll work even better when you're watching it alone at home with the lights turned off. Entourage was never the same after the Aquaman arc,...

Box Office Review: Ah, shit! The Rock is bankable!

In yet another blow to the human race, Dwayne Johnson's The Game Plan was this weekend's box-office champ, taking in a richly undeserved 22.6 million dollars in its debut. You know what that means--an even worse sequel (assuming that's possible) is virtually certain to be made. Let's hope it goes straight to DVD and doesn't rob theater space from better, less life-affirming movies. In second place, also in its first weekend, was Peter Berg's...

Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James...

With a title almost as long as its 160-minute running time, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of those movies that just seems destined to fail at the box office which is too bad really because if you make the time to see this movie you will be treated to a somber, revisionist Western that is both tender and violent in its portrayal of an era that is...

Weekend Movie Guide: Passage to India!

Though it opens Wednesday, I'm including The Darjeeling Limited in this guide because Wes Anderson is a director whose films you just automatically have to see and the more advance warning, the better. His latest jewel box follows three brothers (Wilson, Brody, Schwartzman) who decide to travel together across India in an effort to mend the rift that has grown between them all. Expect fantastical plot twists and plenty of whimsy. Though many critics...

The Hotel Chevalier or: Natalie Portman is finally nekkid!

As if Wes Anderson didn't already have the undying respect of fanboys across the world for directing Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he has now done the ultimate: convinced Natalie Portman to do her first nude scene for his short, The Hotel Chevalier. The film is a companion piece to Anderson's forthcoming The Darjeeling Limited and stars Portman and Jason Schwartzman. They are ex-lovers who meet...

Are you ready to go into the wild?

First of all, if you haven't seen the wonderful Into the Wild make plans to do so right away. It is one of the rare films that exploits the full power of cinema to transport you into another world and into the consciousness of another person (my enthusiastic review of it is here, tickets here, preview here, music here). After seeing it, I imagine you'll be ready to go on a little adventure of...

DVD Tuesday: Gangbanged by Knocked Up

So is anyone NOT buying Knocked Up this week? There's something like 5 different versions in Amazon's top 25 bestsellers right now. Wow. The TV Set is a great movie that about 400 people saw when it was in theaters. I had a near-private screening one afternoon at the Santa Monica Laemmle. Next is really only interesting if you're a Nicholas Cage hairpiece connoisseur (like myself). Evening has an incredibly raunchy nude scene with...

Box Office Review: Cynical marketing reigns!

To no one's surprise, the awful Resident Evil: Extinction claimed the weekend box office crown, debuting with a surprisingly robust 24 million dollars and spanking the equally vapid Good Luck Chuck ($14M). While discerning patriots were sad to see Paul W.S. Anderson's "vision" further validated, they were somewhat cheered by the continued deterioration of "comedian" Dane Cook's film career. Also, failed starlet Jessica Alba is one flop closer to what now seems an inevitable,...

Movie Review: Into the Wild

It's rare that a movie can change a hardened opinion and yet that's exactly what Sean Penn has done with his sublime adaptation of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. When I originally read the book in 1997, my view of Christopher McCandless was essentially in-line with those--largely Alaskans--who considered him an ill-prepared, arrogant fool who died needlessly. The romance of his life and death was entirely lost on me. But no longer. Penn's film...

Weekend Movie Guide: The West is the Best

The fall tradition of releasing prestige films continues tomorrow as Resident Evil: Extinction opens wide. Milla Jovovich stars as the beneficent Alice, a latter-day Tess of the d'Urbervilles who is charged with the stygian task of killing armies of the undead--and the joke is now over. Anyone dumb enough to see the latest chapter of this awful series probably didn't notice anyway. At least there's nudity. But not from Ali Larter. Dang! Into the...

DVD Tuesday: Okay, who forgot to say cut?!!

Those of you who didn't get enough of Death Proof at the theater (and that would be 37 of you) now have the chance to experience Quentin Tarantino's complete and unedited cinematic vision--oh, whatever. Matthew McConaughey almost refused to do We Are Marshall because he thought his character should always be shirtless. Would Carly Schroeder turn 18 already so I can stop feeling so creepy (Kristen Stewart, too). Lucky You deserved better. Daniel Auteuil...

Special Event Alert: Pedro Costa Retrospective

Considering his films are rarely screened at theaters in the United States, most people haven't heard of the great Portuguese auteur and digital video innovator, Pedro Costa. Happily, a remedy for that is arriving tomorrow when the first comprehensive retrospective in North America of his work unspools at REDCAT. His documentary-style films often center on life in the slums of Lisbon and have received wide international acclaim. Screening schedule and extensive film info after...

Box Office Review: Foster wins at box office, in life

Jodie Foster's rather inexplicable box-office appeal was on half-display this weekend as The Brave One pulled in a mediocre 14 million dollars to top the charts. Early forecasts had suggested a 17-20 million dollar haul but mixed reviews, an R-rating and rather dark subject matter cut into those expectations. 3:10 to Yuma held strong in its second weekend, stealing an additional 9.15M and raising its treasure chest to 28.5M. The pitifully-reviewed Mr. Woodcock came...

Special Event Alert: AFI's 40th Anniversary Celebration

Though my allegiance has switched over to the Landmark, many film lovers in Los Angeles regard the Arclight as the best multiplex in town. It programs studio pictures right alongside esoteric indies, it offers great concessions, its screenings are commercial-free and it schedules cool events with celebrated films and filmmakers. This Wednesday, tickets go on sale for one of those very events. In fact, this one may be the coolest in awhile. To celebrate...

Weekend Movie Guide: Jodie is back, pissed

It's a fairly busy release schedule tomorrow with a few studio pictures and a bunch of indies hitting the screens. Neil Jordan directs Jodie Foster in The Brave One (or, as it was originally titled, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang: The Lady Bernie Goetz Story). Reviews are mostly positive and it does have the supremely underrated Nicky Katt (and the formerly underrated, now probably properly rated Terrence Howard), so I'll give it a...

Movie Review: I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With

Though its title suggests exceedingly humble aspirations, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With really is an unexpected little gem. Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin writes, directs, produces and stars (whew!) as the Marty-esque James, an overweight, under-employed, 39 year-old actor who still lives with his mother. His biggest concerns in life appear to be extolling the virtues of rice pudding to a convenience store clerk, keeping a great parking space near Wrigley Field...

DVD Tuesday: Hoffman, Costner, O'Toole, Dirty Sanchez

Away From Her is one of the best movies I never want to see again. As if getting old and losing your mind weren't depressing enough! Still, Sarah Polley (already a superb actor) is now a director I'm planning to watch. Are you like me? Were you deeply in love with Barbara Crampton as a young lad? Has The Graduate aged well? I think not so much, but find out for yourself with this...

Box Office Review: Shitkickers top gunslingers!

In the slowest weekend since the early spring, 3:10 to Yuma blasted its way to the top of the box office with a decent haul of 14.1 million dollars. Considering its largely positive reviews and the general softness of the September schedule, the Russell Crowe-Christian Bale western should hang around for a few weeks and approach its 55 million dollar budget. Last week's winner, Halloween suffered a precipitous decline in its second weekend, tumbling...

Movie Review: The Nines

We need more movies like The Nines. While it may only make complete sense to its creator, John August, there's enough in it to puzzle and delight that I recommend it without reservation. It raises and (sort of) answers questions about the nature of existence, the multiplicity of universes and the role of a Creator in both. It features one of the best performances of the year by--of all people--Ryan Reynolds and heralds the...

DVD Tuesday: It's a TV Blowout!

With the fall TV season just around the corner, a flood of your favorite series hit the stores today. What better way to whet your appetite for what promises to be a long, great Season 4 of The Office, than to check out Season 3 again. I should finally catch up with Sunny in Philadelphia. 30 Rock would be even better without the unfunny Tracey Morgan and the creepy Jack McBrayer. Is Desperate Housewives...

Movie Review: Deep Water

One of the enduring myths of Western culture is that of the amateur who triumphs against insurmountable obstacles. From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to Rocky II, it is a myth that has informed cinema for decades. Deep Water, a fantastic new documentary from Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell, reveals it for the absurd fantasy it is. The fate of the novice, when matched against the might of an uncaring universe, is typically oblivion....

Box Office Review: Awesome! Another re-make!

I'm not sure which is more confusing: that Halloween was released over Labor Day or that there are apparently a lot of people who wanted to see it. Obviously (for the first time in awhile) the Weinstein brothers knew what they were doing as Rob Zombie's "re-imagining" of the Michael Myers' franchise took in a better-than-expected (record-setting, in fact) 26.5 million dollars for the weekend. Thankfully, in a rare show of taste, audiences chose...

Movie Review: Balls of Fury

Upon leaving the theater after seeing Norbit way back in February, I was fairly certain that I had just seen the worst movie of 2007. A few months later, however, I staggered out of Evan Almighty and felt compelled to change my mind. Norbit may have had only one real laugh in it, but Evan had zero. Now, a few months after that supremely dull afternoon, I'm forced to revise my opinion again. Balls...

DVD Tuesday: Buy this DVD, save NBC!

It's too bad that Ali Larter's power in Heroes isn't the ability to seduce Hayden Panettiere. Is Blades of Glory the last funny Will Ferrell movie? His act is getting ripe. Make Anchorman 2 quickly, damn it! Year of the Dog was one of the most depressing movies in years. Everyone says I should watch Friday Night Lights. Is it better than Greek? How could it be? Jamie Kennedy may have finally reached the...

Movie Review: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

After weeks of trying to see it at screenings around town, I finally got the chance to see The King of Kong. My expectations were high as I walked into the theater, and I'm thrilled to say they were not only met, but exceeded. Seth Gordon has made one of the most ridiculously entertaining documentaries in years. Sure, it's about Donkey Kong and the genuinely weird subculture of Golden Age Arcade Game competition, but...

Box Office Review: Biggest Summer Ever!

Superbad became the first movie since late May to win back-to-back weekends, owing as much to a weak slate of openers as to its own relative strength. The Judd Apatow-produced dick montage hauled in 18 million bucks and helped push the summer box office to a record 4.003 billion dollars. It's the first 4 billion dollar summer ever, though higher ticket prices (and not increased admissions) account for that big, shiny number. The Bourne...

Movie Review: Resurrecting the Champ

In a marked departure from his previous, politically-charged directorial efforts, Rod Lurie delivers a thoughtful, often poignant film about family and morality in Resurrecting the Champ. Based in part on a Los Angeles Times Magazine article by J.R. Moehringer, Resurrecting the Champ tells the story of Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett), a sportswriter living in the shadow of his late father, a legendary broadcaster. Erik is your classic hustler--quick with a lie and unwilling to...

Películas Gratis!

In conjunction with the exhibition The Arts in Latin America: 1492:1820, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be screening a series of selected classics of Latin American cinema this weekend. Best of all, thanks to a generous grant from the Getty Foundation, all of these screenings are 100% FREE! Make the trip to the LACMA this weekend and enjoy films rarely seen on the big screen in this country. Two of the...

LAist Interview: Rod Lurie

To conservatives in the media, Rod Lurie may be the ultimate bête noire of Hollywood filmmakers (he would compete with Oliver Stone and Aaron Sorkin). His two highest-profile projects, The Contender and Commander-in-Chief, fully reflected his Democratic politics and were both harshly labeled by Republican commentators as little more than sops to the (then) presumptive presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. How strange then that Lurie's new film, Resurrecting the Champ, is a morality play...

DVD Tuesday: Serenity Now!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Serenity is not exactly "new" to DVD this week, but I don't care. This just-released collector's edition is the best DVD available today so do yourself a favor and check out Joss Whedon's underrated sci-fi flick (and marvel at the wonder that is Summer Glau). The tenth season of South Park is one of the best in years. Chef, how could you join the Super Adventure Club? I never thought...

Box Office Review: Superbad Supergood!

Exceeding even the most optimistic of expectations, Superbad hauled in a huge 33.1 million dollars to top the box office this weekend. Seth Rogen can do no wrong right now. The terrible, awful, unfunny Rush Hour 3 dipped precipitously in its second weekend, pulling in 21.8 million and bringing its total to 88.1M. The Bourne Ultimatum stayed strong in its third week, finishing third at 18.9 million and now standing at 163.8M. The Simpsons...

Does the Pope shit in the woods?

There probably isn't a city in America that has more The Big Lebowski fans than our own beloved Los Angeles. So why not spend a weekend commingling with dozens of other Lebowski devotees? While the event isn't until October, tickets for the 2007 Lebowski Fest go on sale tomorrow at 1 p.m. through Ticketweb.com. Trust me, this event will sell-out quickly so buy your tickets soon. There'll be bowling, costume contests, celebrity appearances, white...

Movie Review: Stardust

One of the great shames of this summer's movie season is that, despite glowing reviews, Stardust failed to find an audience when it opened this past weekend. With the exhibition marketplace being what it is right now, this sprawling, wonderful fairy tale will almost certainly disappear quickly from theaters. Movies just aren't allowed to linger anymore waiting to be discovered. Studios figure they're only throwing good advertising money after bad. I hope Stardust will...

DVD Tuesday: Norbit impresario delivers magical Hogs

I can understand your John Travolta or your Tim Allen going for the good paycheck and doing a Wild Hogs, but Bill Macy? The universe is a little less bright today and many fairies are dead. Inland Empire is three hours long, shot on video and makes Lost Highway seem overly coherent. If you're a Lynch fan, that's probably music to your ears. Ryan Gosling's hype took a big hit with his ordinary turn...

Box Office Review: Tucker and Chan score big, suck

Even though Rush Hour 3 did top the box office this weekend, I take some solace in the fact that it underperformed at 50.2 million dollars. Considering that New Line gave away so much profit to get the movie made, there's hope that we've seen the last of the never-funny pairing of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. Bourne Ultimatum had a solid second week, adding 33.6 million to raise its cume to 132.3 million....

DVD Tuesday: Angelenos! Vent your spleen!!

In the last year, HBO has lost four of my favorite shows for various reasons--The Sopranos, Extras, Deadwood and Rome. Do you hear that sound, HBO? That sound is Showtime creeping up on you. At least the second season of Rome is now available on DVD. If you like gratuitous sex mixed with your gratuitious violence (and who doesn't?), then Rome is the show for you. One of the last great seasons of The...

Movie Review: The Ten

I'm not really sure how to review a movie like The Ten. It's more a collection of skits than a movie anyway and much like, say Jackass or Borat, there's really only one question to answer: is it funny? I would enthusiastically say 'yes' to all three, but the humor in The Ten is so specific that I expect a lot of people won't like it. This was definitely the case in the screening...

Box Office Review: Jason Bourne kills everybody!

In what the Wall Street crowd might call a flight to quality, North American audiences made The Bourne Ultimatum this weekend's box office champ by spending 70.1 million dollars on the superb third installment of the Matt Damon franchise. Expect across-the-board great reviews and excellent word-of-mouth to keep Bourne afloat for the rest of the summer, especially now that the release schedule is lightening up a bit. The Simpsons Movie nose-dived 65% after an...

Movie Review: Black Dahlia Movie

In recent years we've seen a spike in films about the death of Elizabeth Short, aka "The Black Dahlia". From Brian DePalma's glossy The Black Dahlia to Ulli Lommel's no-budget Black Dahlia, interest in the 60 year-old murder continues to wax. The newest entry in the Dahlia niche is Ramzi Abed's Black Dahlia Movie. Kristen Kerr portrays Lisa Small, an actress recently cast in a movie about the Dahlia. As the plot advances, the...

Screw Eric Clapton, Simon Pegg is God!

A hat tip to Quint over at AICN for alerting me to this little bit of coolness happening next week. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of my absolutely favorite movies from the past few years. Shaun has been in heavy rotation at home and Fuzz will surely follow now that it's out on DVD. Starting next Sunday night, you'll have the chance to see them both as God intended--back-to-back and...

The late, great Kate is back...

Katharine Hepburn is considered by many to be the finest actress ever to grace the screens of Hollywood. That she was also a firebrand of a personality only added to her considerable legend. To commemorate the 100th year of her birth, The Los Angeles Museum of Art is running a long series of her films starting tonight. Do yourself a favor--go to the LACMA after work to see the George Kahn Quintet at 6...

Movie Review: The Real Dirt on Farmer John

In the opening scene of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, the eponymous farmer, John Peterson, kneels down in a plowed field and chews on a good-sized clod of dirt. It's exactly the sort of thing you might expect a true farmer to do when gauging the quality of his soil. Soon enough, though, John is riding his tractor dressed in a feather boa and being followed by a nude woman who appears to...

DVD Tuesday: Spartans! Tonight! We dine! In WeHo!

Ten years from now we may look back at 300 as the movie that heralded the final shift away from the star-driven, mega-budget blockbuster paradigm. In an increasingly risk-managed world, why not spend 60 million dollars on a whole movie instead of 25 million on Tom Cruise or one of the Wills? Hot Fuzz signals the definite arrival of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg that was so strongly hinted at in Shaun of the...

Box Office Review: Simpsons jumps back over shark

For what seems like the first time in years, The Simpsons actually exceeded expectations. The first movie of America's first animated family took in a whopp(er)ing 71.8 million dollars at the box office this weekend, demolishing even the most optimistic of estimates. Credit Fox's clever marketing campaign and the opportunity to finally see Bart's shrimpy doodle. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry finished a distant second, making 19 million bucks to raise its...

Movie Review: Rocket Science

It always feels strange to walk out of a movie knowing you were probably the only one in the theater that didn't like it. It feels stranger still when you get home and look up that movie on Rottentomatoes--hoping for some sort of petty vindication--only to find out that the film in question has received an astonishing 100% positive reviews! Nevertheless, that was my experience with Rocket Science. While I recognize the obvious craft,...

DVD Tuesday: New Fincher! Nobody call me tonight!

David Fincher's obituary will likely refer to him as the director of Fight Club, but Zodiac is his most complete work. Luxuriate in its full 157 minutes this week when it reaches stores. The Number 23 had a pretty good trailer, but unfortunately the actual movie was longer than 90 seconds. Bring back Lloyd Christmas, Jim! Sure HBO seems to have the best shows on cable, but Showtime is quickly closing the gap. Weeds...

Box Office Review: Sandler still defying logic, taste

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry eked out a win this weekend, just besting Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The moronic Sandler vehicle earned 34.7 million versus 32.1 million for the latest, infinitely superior Harry Potter installment (now at 207.5M). My guess is that the release of Deathly Hallows cost Order of the Phoenix a second consecutive weekend crown (I still can't believe that Voldermort turned out to be Harry's...

Movie Review: Goya's Ghosts

Since it is the last Harry Potter weekend, allow me to open with a relevant quote from the late (or is he?) Albus Dumbledore, "I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being--forgive me--rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger." This sentiment applies very well to Milos Forman and his new movie, Goya's Ghosts. In his long career, Forman has directed numerous superb films, deservedly winning Oscars for...

Movie Review: Interview

Steve Buscemi really is a minor miracle. As I'm looking through his prolific resume on IMDB, I can't find an instance where I didn't enjoy his work. Sure, he's had his clunkers (Mr. Deeds, Domestic Disturbance) and has even fallen under the dark spell of Voldythingy, er, Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Island), but somehow Buscemi always seems to emerge untainted by the mediocrity surrounding him. And when he gets a great role (here, here,...

DVD Tuesday: Bullock sinks, Miller rises

Remember when Sandra Bullock set aside her flourishing, if somewhat formulaic, Hollywood career to make compelling independent films that actually had something original to say? Yeah, me neither. Premonition continues a long slide that I predict will ultimately end in a USA series about a quirky female detective--Bullock to star, produce AND direct a few eps. Factory Girl also drops today. After seeing Sienna Miller in Interview and reading this, I'm renting it. Other...

Box Office Review: Boy wizard stupefies North America

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix blew away not only the competition, but its own previous franchise records this week with a 140 million dollar opening 5 days. Expect Potter mania to reach its full flowering later this week when the 7th and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, reaches stores. Transformers held steady at number two, dropping only 49% from the previous week (movies typically drop well over 50%...

Free Outdoor Screening Alert!

Anyone interested in movies is familiar with Ain't It Cool News and anyone familiar with Ain't It Cool is familiar with the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow. The Roadshow was originally scheduled to make a stop in South Central to screen Friday next Friday, but lily-livered politicians decided to pull the permit at the last minute. Fortunately, the Roadshow decided they had to make a stop in L.A. so they've now scheduled a 10th anniversary...

Movie Review: Into the Arms of Strangers

If a film has an intriguing premise and solid acting, I'm willing to forgive the occasional odd directorial choice or weak script moment. This is especially true with low-budget films and specifically the case with Into the Arms of Strangers. As the film opens we meet Andy (Ron Carey) and his wife Erin (April Wade). They appear to be a loving couple but cracks soon begin to show. Andy has been suffering from amnesia...

Movie Review: Ghosts of Cite Soleil

There is an unrelenting bleakness that inhabits every frame of Asger Leth's Ghosts of Cite Soleil. As he notes in the film's press materials, "Haiti has the third-highest rate of hunger in the world, behind only Somalia and Afghanistan. Its people have less access to clean water and sanitation than residents of Ethopia or Sierra Leone...life expectancy is lower in Haiti than in Sudan. By every measure, Haiti's 8 million inhabitants are living in...

Movie Review: Introducing the Dwights

Sometimes I prefer to watch the film that completely and utterly fails than the one that half-succeeds. With the true catastrophe you can always laugh at the unintentional humor, take a trip to the bathroom without the least bit of hurry in your step, even check baseball scores on your cell phone and share the results with inquisitive aisle-mates. The almost-there movie, on the other hand, maddeningly demands your constant attention. You keep thinking...

DVD Tuesday: TV Bully Kicks Dwarf in Face

While rightly lauded for originating The Office, I think Extras is Ricky Gervais' true masterpiece. I mean, how can you possibly top Harry Potter flicking a rubber into Dame Diana Rigg's hair? I'll tell you how--have David Bowie improvise this song for Gervais' hapless Andy Millman. Unfortunately (really unfortunately), Gervais decided against another season of the show, but Season 2 is now available on DVD. Buy it. Watch it. Live it. What else is...

Box Office Review: Michael Bay back on (damn!) top

To those glorious fools who had hoped against hope that The Island might mark the beginning of the end for Michael Bay's filmmaking career, I am loathe to tell you that such wishes now appear to be in vain. Transformers left the North American box office in a twisted wreckage of smoking metal this week, taking in a (groan) record-setting 152.5 million dollars in its opening 7 days. With regard to Mr. Bay, it...

Movie Review: Rescue Dawn

While most of the country was out watching Transformers over the holiday, we in Los Angeles were lucky enough to have the chance to see Rescue Dawn. Directed by the great, mad German Werner Herzog (and inspired by his own 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly), Rescue Dawn tells the story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), an American fighter pilot who was shot down over Laos in 1966, captured and tortured by Pathet...

DVD Tuesday: Crappiest week of year so far

Ahead of the Wednesday holiday, the DVD pickings this week are awfully, awfully slim. When the first season of a Sci-Fi channel TV show is the bestselling new DVD on Amazon.com you know you're looking at a fairly dreary list of new titles. A few of them, though, do merit interest either because they're pretty good (Puccini for Beginners) or pretty awful (the Corey's Dream a Little Dream 2). If you're looking for some...

Box Office Review: French rat defeats American hero

Pixar's Ratatouille was tops at the box office this weekend, raking in a healthy 47.2 million dollars. While that number was well below previous Pixar films like Cars (60 milllion) and The Incredibles (70 million), it was more than enough to take down Bruce Willis and Live Free or Die Hard which pulled in 33.1 million. Both movies enjoyed across-the-board good reviews and should show decent legs in the coming weeks. Last week's clunker...

LA Film Fest: Day 11 (the last one!)

The L.A. Film Festival wraps up today with a gala screening of Danny Boyle's Sunshine at 7:00 p.m. at the Wadsworth Theatre. One hundred dollars will buy you a ticket to the screening and admission to the party afterwards (or you can wait until July 20th and see it when it opens wide). The rest of the day is filled with screenings (no more free music or panels--boo!) There is a free screening, though,...

LA Film Fest: Day 10

The weekend is here so lots of free stuff is on tap for the L.A. Film Festival. The Festival Promenade on Broxton will be taken over by Family Day activities. There'll be screenings, games, giveaways, pony rides, a petting zoo, magician Ryan Majestic and characters from Playhouse Disney to entertain the kiddies. Events will run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Two free programs will be held at Bel Air Camera today. At 1:00...

LA Film Fest: Day 9

The L.A. Film Festival lumbers towards its final weekend today and The Director Lunch Talk series has its best interview yet. John Horn talks to Danny Boyle (Sunshine, Trainspotting) at 12:30 p.m. at the Target Red Room. Another free talk is on tap at 7:00 p.m. at the Hammer Museum. It's Been There, Done That: A Conversation with Mickey Rooney. If you've never seen Mr. Rooney talk in person, treat yourself to this program....

LA Film Fest: Day 8

Though Westwood is now a smoking ruin, I am happy to announce that Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots have defeated Megatron and his dastardly Decepticons. For those of you now whining "spoiler!"--come on. Does anyone really not know how Transformers is going to end? Don't worry. They left plenty of room for sequels. I just want to take this time to personally thank the programmers of the LA Film Festival for finding a...

LA Film Fest Review: Half Moon

There are some films, particularly foreign films--no, particularly foreign foreign films--where you have to throw your critic's hat out the window and just try to keep up. That's how I felt watching Half Moon. I'm fairly certain that there were many Iranian jokes and Persian allusions that I just didn't get. (How do I know that? Well, there was an Iranian guy sitting next to me in the theater who obviously did.) Still, I...

LA Film Fest: Day 7

Thousands of innocent Angelenos are expected to perish today when a highly advanced robot civilization descends on Westwood. However, the carnage is not expected to ensue until 8:15 p.m. so you'll have most of the day to get your affairs in order. That's right, the LA Film Festival is celebrating the glory of independent film with a mult-theater premiere of the multi-million dollar budgeted Transformers. Indie favorite Michael Bay directs. If such esoteric fare...

LA Film Fest Review: The Town That Was

A good documentary tells a compelling story that may have otherwise remained unknown. The best ones do so through people you can't believe actually exist. Such is the case with The Town That Was. Using a blend of archival footage and recent interviews, directors Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland tell the sad, strange story of Centralia, Pennsylvania and one of its last remaining residents, the marvelously eccentric John Lokitis. In 1962, Centralia was a...

DVD Tuesday: The God of Rock and Cock

Mark Wahlberg lights up TV screens this week as Shooter reaches the DVD shelves. I don't know about you, but this tale of double-crosses and revenge had a distinct late 80s/early 90s vibe to it for me. Did Sly pass on this script 20 years ago or was it Steve in '95? For those of you who want to see Samuel L. Jackson in full-on Samuel L. Jackson mode, pick up Black Snake Moan....

LA Film Fest: Day 6

Today the festival begins with another Director Lunch Talk at 12:30 p.m. at the Target Red Room. Los Angeles Times writer John Horn talks with Scott Prendergast, director of Kabluey (screening at this year's LAFF). At 7:00 p.m., Who Let the Blogs Out?, a panel discussion of L.A. film bloggers, kicks off at the W Los Angeles in Westwood. Variety's Anne Thompson moderates and one of my favorites, the curmudgeonly Jeffrey Wells, is on...

Box Office Review: YHWH unamused by Office star

A few weeks ago in this space, I predicted that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer would be the big-budget flop of the summer. Turns out I missed it by one week. Evan Almighty tallied a meager 32.1 million dollars at the box office over the weekend--well below already reduced expectations (the ugliest five words a studio chief can ever hear--worse even than "the call girl taped everything"). Considering its budget was somewhere...

LA Film Fest: Day 5

Now that the frenzied first weekend is over, it should be much easier going at the L.A. Film Festival in terms of actually getting to see a movie. Virtually every film playing today shows either standby availability or tickets available at the door. Free events, unfortunately, are in short supply. Of course, there's the daily Bands on Broxton at noon and 7 p.m. at the Festival Promenade, but the only other free event is...

LA Film Fest: Day 4

The festival kicks off this morning with a director's coffee talk at the Landmark. Scheduled panelists include moderator James Mangold, Paul Haggis and the next Bond director Marc Forster. Tickets are $11. The big event today (and it's free!) starts at noon and runs until 6:00 p.m. at the Landmark Regent Theater. It's Live Earth Day: A Celebration of Earth and includes 50 short films commissioned by SOS-Live Earth. Some of the filmmakers who've...

LA Film Fest Review: The Year After

A man sitting to my left exited the theater at about the one hour mark, never to return. Were I not obligated to give the film a fair and complete review, I might have joined him. Rare is the movie that prompts that reaction in me (think Johnny Be Good) but The Year After was so interminably dull that I actually considered it. The film follows 17 year-old Manu (Anaïs Demoustier) in the year...

LA Film Fest: Day 3

It's Saturday so expect lots of LA Film Festival action in Westwood. At 9:30 a.m. you can attend a free Hi Def Video Expo at Bel Air Camera. Other free events are the Made in L.A. screening at noon at the Mann Festival Theater, The Game of SKATE Tournament at 1:00 p.m. at the Festival Promenade on Broxton, The Bands on Broxton at 4:30 p.m. (also at the Promenade), A Conversation with Festival Artist-in-Residence...

LA Film Fest Review: The Wizard of Gore

Horror movies seem to come and go in cycles. Just as the wave of Japanese re-makes tapered off, so-called "torture" porn began its ascent. Given that, it's refreshing to watch a horror film like The Wizard of Gore that doesn't fit neatly into any category. It certainly has its share of gore (wonderfully specific and gruesome, by the way), but the bloodletting never overshadows the psychological war that is at the heart of the...

LA Film Fest: Day 2

It's the first real day of the LA Film Festival so naturally a lot of films have sold out. But take heart--there are plenty of things to see. As of this morning, stand-by tickets are still available for Interview. Directed by Steve Buscemi and starring Buscemi and Sienna Miller, Interview tells the story of a journalist interviewing a celebrity that he doesn't particularly like (imagine that?). An adaptation of Theo Van Gogh's 2003 film...

The LA Film Festival Kicks Off!

The LA Film Festival returns to Westwood tonight with the world premiere of Kasi Lemmons' Talk to Me (not Talk To Me) at the Mann Village Theater. The film stars Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor and tells the story of Ralph Green, an ex-drug addict and convicted felon who became one of Washington D.C.'s most prominent disc jockeys and community activisits in the 60s and 70s. A sure to be congested after-party follows the...

LAist Interview: Crispin Glover

Hollywood, to corrupt Rabelais, abhors an iconoclast. This simple fact makes the long career of Crispin Glover all the more remarkable. Amazingly, it's been almost twenty years since Glover's infamous Rubin and Ed appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Despite that apparent fiasco, Glover has continued to work regularly, often in big-budget studio fare like The Doors, The People vs. Larry Flynt and both Charlie's Angels movies. The money earned from those films...

DVD Tuesday: Cops, Kids, Heroin and Lesbians!

Reno 911!: Miami may have only been a marginal hit (and a critical dud), but I had a great time with it (being drunk at the time). It really took the freedom of an R rating to liberate the show from its PG-13 Comedy Central roots. For those of you who missed it at the theater, be sure to pick up the "unrated" edition for even more hot, naked action. Speaking of hot, naked...

They Show Movies, Don't They?

Let's face it--with a few notable exceptions (Arclight, Grove, Bridge, Landmark), movie theaters in Los Angeles sort of suck. The seats are often stiff and cramped; the over-priced food is no great shakes; and every feature is front-loaded with a solid ten to fifteen minutes of commercials. And this is coming from someone who loves going to the movies! I wallow through this crap two or three times a week! There has to be...

Perez Hilton presents...

I wasn't sure what to expect as I cruised up Fairfax on the way to the Silent Movie Theater. Having never watched Dawson's Creek, I was only slightly familiar with Chantal Kreviazuk's music and, naturally, had never seen her live. What's more--why was Perez Hilton hosting the whole shebang in the first place? And why was it at a movie theater? And, perhaps most importantly, would there be free booze? Thankfully, all of my...

DVD Tuesday: Cage Unleashed!

This is the week where everyone mourns the end of The Sopranos, but it was harder for me to let go of Deadwood a few months ago. Sure, there's supposed to be a couple of Deadwood movies coming to tie everything up, but it's just not the same. You can have your Tony Soprano, I'll take the awesome and terrifying Al Swearengen instead. The big release this week is, of course, Ghost Rider. If...

Movie Review: Ocean's Thirteen

Ocean's Thirteen continues the series' cynical tradition of putting famous actors in sleek, stylish clothes and having them act cool. That's really all there is to say. If you've seen either Ocean's Eleven or Twelve, then you've basically already seen Ocean's Thirteen, too. It's almost tragic that a filmmaker as talented as Steven Soderbergh is spending years of his career turning out what is essentially disposable entertainment. The plot is basically an elaborate revenge...

DVD Tuesday: At long last...Norbit!

When I saw Norbit in the theater, there were about 60 people in the audience.  Virtually all of them maintained the appropriate funereal silence as the film was slowly excreted through the projector.  One guy, though, was apparently watching the funniest movie he had ever seen.  I imagine he's one of the few that will be lining up to buy Norbit today.  For the rest of us, it's probably a couple of good docs,...

One of these men just ate 18 donuts...

In what was probably the least gross competitive eating event I have ever seen, James Donohue destroyed the rest of the field at this morning's CHiPs DVD Release/Donut-Eating Contest. Donohue inhaled 18 donuts before anyone else could finish as many as a dozen (and I'm talking full-sized glazed donuts, too, not the tiny, little powdered sugar motherscratchers.) CHiPs star, Erik Estrada, was on-hand to referee the whole affair but his services were barely needed...

Estrada Double Feature Drops Tomorrow

Ever had one of those fever dreams where you enter a donut-eating contest, win $2500 and meet one of the original Latino superstars Erik Estrada all at the same time? Well, tomorrow that dream can be made real. In honor of the release of CHiPs: The Complete First Season, Frank "Ponch" Poncarello will be hosting a donut-eating contest at Randy's Donuts in Inglewood. A portable DVD player and a signed copy of the DVD...

DVD Tuesday: Only 1 More Week Till Norbit!!

A fairly mundane week of new releases. Hannibal Rising has a definite Queen of the Damned stench to it. Never saw the original Eating Out but folks sure are lining up to buy the sequel. Sharon Stone's beaver in glorious 1080i! Wayne Knight's accompanying flop-sweat in glorious 1080i! Will probably hold off on buying the Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition since I hear the Superman Double Ultimate Collector's Edition is coming this Christmas. Kevin Dillon's...

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Every summer it seems that there's one mega-budget studio movie that just goes bust-o. This summer I'd wager that flop is going to be the new Fantastic Four movie, but in 2003 I was fairly certain that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was going nowhere. After all, it was based on a freaking Disneyland ride, it had no really big stars (Johnny Depp was considered more a fine actor...

Movie Review: The Devil Came on Horseback

Photo Credit: Leo Buurman By now most Americans understand that something awful is happening to the people of Darfur. Relatively few, though, could clearly explain exactly what that is. With an artful simplicity, The Devil Came on Horseback reveals the true scope and horror of the continuing genocide in Darfur. Widely lauded since its debut at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, this fantastic documentary deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as...

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