November 25, 2010 6:25am EST
It’s that time of year again, when the worst movies are behind us and all that remains is December’s slate of Oscar bait and innocuous family fare. Granted, we still have to endure the likes of Gulliver’s “Jonathan Swift Will Be Rolling in His Grave” Travels and Yogi “Hanna and Barbera Will Be Rolling in Their Graves” Bear -- but still, it’s pretty safe to say that neither will compare to some of the monstrosities that came between January and November. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we present the turkeys of the year (aka the worst movie of 2010).
The Bounty Hunter
With Jennifer Aniston’s steady flow of rom-com failures, it’s almost as if millions of Friends fans have declared, “You’re not getting a dime from us until you do the Friends movie!” And following the God-awful Bounty Hunter, she simply has to be closer than ever to taking part in, if not flat-out begging for, a big-screen version of the beloved sitcom. Hasn’t she?! Bounty Hunter wasn’t just her fault, however; frankly, no one should be proud of this ill-conceived (it’s like a reimagining of the unimaginably bad Bird on a Wire), terribly cast (Dear Hollywood: Gerard Butler is not the next Hugh Grant) mess (director Andy Tennant wants his mainstream, PG-13 romantic comedy to be gritty -- At least that’s funny). Killers and Sex and the City 2 have Bounty Hunter -- and our decision to limit this list to five movies -- to thank for not making the cut.
It’s hard to hate Adam Sandler. He’s shown off serious acting chops in movies like Punch Drunk Love and even Funny People, and he seems like such a good friend -- I mean look at the way he continues to find roles for his otherwise unemployable fallen-comedian buddies. (And WTF would director Dennis Dugan be doing if the Sand Man didn’t get a $20 million itch every year? A straight-to-OnDemand Benchwarmers threequel?) BUT, that doesn’t mean each of Sandler’s “Adam Sandler” movies is anything less than atrocious, and this summer’s Grown Ups was no exception. Sure, it wasn’t quite Chuck and Larry bad, but the easy, crude, broad gags were again in overabundant supply -- and again not even chuckle-worthy. It was the logical next step in Sandler’s manchild shtick, whose regression has truly reached its trough but whose box office numbers haven’t yet peaked. Translation: We get TWO Sandler movies next year. Tally-hoo-hoo! (Or some other Sandleristic show of excitement by way of baby talk.)
Quantity of A-listers is not proportional to quality of movie. Aside from reminding us of that, Valentine’s Day was utterly useless -- and very, very, VERY bad. The rom-com enlisted everyone from Julia Roberts (whose screen time could [mercifully] be counted on one hand) to Taylors Swift and Lautner, but veteran cheeseball director Garry Marshall’s sole focus seemed to be on making all the pretty faces on the roster look pretty on the screen -- which is a shame because there was actually some borderline talent available. Nothing much goes on in the movie, a kitschy, superficial joke under the guise of a quasi-intertwining love polygon. It reeks of a Hollywood scam: Just feed moviegoers a bunch of big names and dare them to resist a rom-com event like this on Valentine’s Day! Story? Eh, who cares? And with a sequel already on the way … well, I guess we all lose?
Almost every movie disaster qualifies as a failure in only one category: financially or critically. This summer’s Jonah Hex (remember it?), however, bombed in both departments, to an almost historic degree. It had the makings of a surefire hit: great lead actor (Josh Brolin); hot starlet/gossip fodder du jour (Megan Fox); and lucrative hook (“based on the comic book”). Then the trailer hit the Internet. Soon thereafter, the movie had to come out, too, and when it did … just … yikes. Hex simply had no identity, and nothing really made sense -- from the weird accents to the erratic editing to the unintentionally hilaaaaarious dialogue. And that says nothing of director Jimmy Hayward, whose uncertainty and nerves you can almost feel. At least it’ll be appreciated by the Razzies.
Co-writers/-directors/-schmucks Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer make Uwe Boll look like Orson Welles. That’s right -- after a criminal amount of attempts, they can safely be considered the worst filmmakers around, less talented than the runner-up by a margin of roughly infinity. The film that cemented the duo’s position, Vampires Suck, was their most abysmal yet, and that’s downright impressive. It poked, er, tried to poke fun at the phenomenon mentioned in the title (namely Twilight-mania) and, you know, any other pop-culture target with a gigantic bull’s-eye on its back. The result was typical of Friedberg and Seltzer’s “work”: lower-than-lowbrow, astoundingly unfunny and insulting to the spoofs of yore and any human being with the slightest sense of humor. If cockroaches had a sense of humor, it’d be insulting to them, too. But my hyperbole digresses … Bottom line: Vampires Suck was as lazy as filmmaking can get. Until the directors’ next movie, that is.
Chief Perpetrators of Crap, 2010
M. Night Shyamalan: The Last Airbender AND Devil (which he co-wrote and produced)?? Jeez, Night -- you didn’t have to give your career its deathblow in the span of a few months; coulda parlayed The Sixth Sense into a few more movies/millions. But thanks for the mercy.
Josh Duhamel: Holy mother: Life as We Know It, Ramona and Beezus, When in Rome and The Romantics -- all in 2010! And a cheating-on-Fergie scandal!
Jennifer Aniston: We already picked on her for starring in The Bounty Hunter, but we cannot, in good conscience, neglect to mention The Switch. If we pretend it never happened, bad-movie terrorism wins.
Forest Whitaker: Hate to bash a revered Oscar winner, but he had his hand in a whopping eight various projects this year, and those projects included Repo Men, Our Family Wedding and some that never even saw the light of day.
Nicholas Sparks: He brought us the vomit-inducing Dear John, The Last Song and The Ego of Nicholas Sparks: A Comedy (working title).
The Following Directors (and Their Crimes)
Kevin Greutert (Saw 3D), Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City 2), Robert Luketic (Killers), Colin and Greg Strause (Skyline), Christian Alvart (Case 39), Alan Poul (The Back-Up Plan), Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud), Roger Kumble (Furry Vengeance) and Brad Peyton (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore).
November 23, 2010 8:20am EST
I don't know what it is about the Thanksgiving holiday that has people giving thanks, but I figured I might as well join the club. However, instead of being gracious to supportive loved ones or being thankful for the fact that I have any job, let alone an awesome one, I'll give some thanks to the few films and filmmakers that made sci-fi worthwhile in 2010, because, in case you haven't noticed, it's been kind of a crappy year for sci-fi. (Then again, 2009 was a pretty hard act to follow.)
I am thankful for The Book of Eli vicariously bringing my dreams of a Fallout movie to life.
Until someone with a lot more money and influence than I realizes that the Fallout series of games is rife with cinematic potential just waiting to be tapped, the best any of us PIPBoy-loving geeks can hope for are other movies that feel like they could exist within the Fallout universe. And no other post-apoc movie could have made for a better Fallout chapter than the Hughes' brothers' Book of Eli. Not only did they nail the look of a pervasive and stunningly destitute future, but they filled it with gorgeous bloodshed and situational humor-- and that is exactly what Fallout represents to me: a straight-faced sitcom set in the wastelands. Sure, it's not strictly a comedy, but it's got a great sense of humor about the end of the world all the same, and I love that about it.
I am thankful for Vincenzo Natali being such a weirdo.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Splice got shafted. The marketing campaign hung it out to dry as a paint-by-numbers Species-knockoff, when in reality it's a genre-bending creature feature that makes some bold decisions. Unfortunately, everyone who groaned at the trailers for being too Species-like but still saw the movie anyway hated it because it wasn't actually what they were expecting. It sucks that that crippled the movie at the box office, but I still love knowing that Splice disgusted and confused people with equal measure, and there just aren't enough filmmakers these days, at least in the sci-fi genre, who are willing to do that.
I am thankful for Jonah Hex failing at the box office.
If I'm sad that Splice flailed around like a slippery eel with audiences, I'm at least relieved that people treated Jonah Hex like it was the bloated corpse of a whale that the eels slithered out of. It's such a slapped-together, creatively disparate movie that it would have physically pained me had it succeed where Splice failed. Thankfully, it didn't. Though both were box office disappointments, Vincenzo Natali's bizarro creature feature managed to rake in a cool $7M more than Jimmy Hayward's goofy superhero flick, so hopefully that at least tells some suits at Warner Bros. that had they kept the original Crank duo (who are similarly weird filmmakers as Natali), maybe their movie wouldn't have been so dull.
I am thankful for Inception.
Inception arrived with such emboldened fanfare that it was met with a not unsurprising air of derision by those who are eager to say that Christopher Nolan is overrated no matter what he does. But screw that noise. Nolan made an original, big-budget, high-concept sci-fi flick with a tremendous cast and a fistful of indelible moments -- and I'm thankful for that.
I am thankful for Jon Favreau, Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones being such geeks.
Sure, 2010 was kind of a lackluster year for sci-fi, but at least Favreau, Blomkamp and Jones are giving us a number of reasons to geek out about what 2011 has in store...
On the Favreau front, we've got a movie called freakin' Cowboys & Aliens that, judging from the trailer, looks to take everything about itself seriously. Blomkamp may not have a film, at least that we know about, on the docket for 2011, but he's making new waves on the Internet with what looks to be the beginning of a series of viral videos -- and as much as I'd love to see a new movie from the guy who made District 9, I'm perfectly happy to watch him get back to his short-film roots. And then there's Duncan Jones, whose new film Source Code looks to be a pocket-protector-wearing dorkfest, and I mean that in the most loving way possible. The trailer makes it out to be two parts Deja Vu, one part Groundhog Day and one part Quantum Leap, which I think we can all agree is a pretty nerdy brew, and I am all for sci-fi flicks that don't give a damn about being macho.
August 31, 2010 2:00pm EST
Summer movie season isn’t all about money, but -- oh, who’re we kidding? While we hate to reduce our favorite time of year to (billions of) dollars, that’s what it boils down to -- and it’s really the only way to determine which trends, actors, genres and more did or didn’t fare well over the summer. Below are our winners and losers for summer 2010…
WINNER: The Smith Family
It’s still tough to fathom how a middling kiddie flick/unnecessary remake earned a boatload of cash, but Jaden Smith appears poised to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Will -- who produced the unlikeliest blockbuster of ‘em all, The Karate Kid (and bought $100 million worth of tickets?? Kidding, Will). The movie earned more than The A-Team and Prince of Persia … COMBINED. ‘Nuff said. Will and Jaden may just want to stop by for a cameo on Jada’s ratings-deprived show HawthoRNe.
Snubbed by Iron Man 2 and embraced by the Step Up franchise? Ouch! Of course, summer wasn’t totally devoid of the get-rich-quickly-and-easily “technology,” and it certainly boosted the ticket sales of some movies (Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After), but some of the biggest blockbusters of the season said “No, thanks” to 3D while it failed to help other movies (The Last Airbender, Piranha 3D, Cats & Dogs, Step Up 3D). There is clearly a backlash going on, from filmmakers and -goers; hopefully Hollywood learned its lesson this summer, which is this: Only a small percentage of movies deserve the extra dimension. And the last-minute, last-ditch 2D-to-3D conversions? We can tell, and we’re not interested.
How to Train Your Dragon, which hit theaters in late March and didn’t even begin to slow down until almost June, set the tone for animated movies that would be released after it -- and retold the box office gospel: Animated movies can pretty much do no wrong. Toy Story 3 is easily the highest-grossing movie of the YEAR, and it’s already surpassed $1 billion worldwide; Shrek Forever After, although not a hit with critics, did very well domestically and extraordinarily well internationally; and Despicable Me, made on a shoestring budget by today’s standards, was massive. There wasn’t -- and almost never is -- any disappointment from the animation set.
LOSER: The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players
Zac Efron, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Cera give new meaning to the term usually reserved for SNL cast members. This was supposed to be the summer that all three proved they could “open” a movie; instead it proved that they’re not quite ready. Efron is still the prettiest thesp around, male or female, and his career likely won’t be derailed by the laughable melodramatic disaster that was Charlie St. Cloud; Gyllenhaal, too, will ultimately be fine despite his performance in Prince of Persia and the movie’s performance at the box office. Cera, however, might not be entrusted with the lead role of a big-budget production for the foreseeable future, following the commercial -- even if not critical -- letdown of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (refreshingly, though, Cera probably cares very little about his commercial appeal). Bottom line: None of the three had the summer they’d hoped for, and their star power took a hit.
WINNER: Steve Carell
His decision to leave The Office after next season is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s easy to understand: Steve Carell is a big-screen star now, and it really must be a challenge to find time for TV -- let alone his family! Date Night performed very well in the run-up to the summer; the blockbuster Despicable Me again proved that Carell is great (and bankable) even when merely heard; and Dinner for Schmucks, while not a Meet the Parents-size hit, has turned a profit and is still in theaters. It’s no wonder that Carell’s upcoming projects reach the double digits.
LOSER: Jonah Hex
Only one movie deserves its own spot on this list, and that’s Jonah Hex. It’s already been beaten to death, and there were, in fact, bigger box office bombs this summer, percentagewise, but … good God. While Josh Brolin will walk away unscathed, with little more than a “What was he thinking?” slap on the wrist, Hex put the nail in the coffin of Megan Fox’s career (temporarily, of course), and the director, Jimmy Hayward, should be facing eight-to-10 years in director jail. It’s rare for a movie to be so atrocious that it doesn’t even stand a chance at DVD redemption, or guilty-pleasure redemption, but, well, at least Hex is exceptional in that sense.
Sequels, adaptations, remakes, reimaginations -- they rule the summertime, every time, and 2010 was no different. Three wholly original releases (Inception, Despicable Me and Grown Ups) made a splash, while two such movies (Salt and The Other Guys) made waves. All other hits, even the relatively minor ones, fit neatly into one of the aforementioned categories of unoriginality: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, The Last Airbender … the list goes on. Here’s hoping the success of Inception ushers in some balance for future summers.
LOSER: Onetime Superstars
Dear Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez (she gets an asterisk since The Back-Up Plan came out in late April), Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher and Russell Crowe, et al.: Your name on a movie’s poster is no longer enough to bring out large audiences. Our deepest, sincerest condolences. P.S. Don’t give up hope. Maybe you can all get together for an Expendables type of movie in a decade or so.
There isn’t typically much emphasis placed on quality during the summer months; it’s more “Let’s aim to quintuple our money and if the movie happens to be good … bonus!” But this summer featured a pair of B.O. behemoths that also happened to be, well, good. Inception scored at the box office, earned positive reviews from critics, and was arguably the most buzzed-about movie of the summer by fans. Toy Story 3, meanwhile, vastly outgrossed Inception and is one of the best-reviewed movies of the entire year; there’s already talk of a Best Picture nom. Then there were the indies: Winter's Bone, The Kids Are All Right, Animal Kingdom, Get Low, Cyrus and Life During Wartime were all highly praised and could reenter the fray come awards season -- as could documentaries The Tillman Story, Restrepo, A Film Unifnished and Joan Rivers: A Real Piece of Work.
LOSER: Canines and Felines
Note to Hollywood: The cutesy-animal subgenre is no longer a lucrative one. It was a flash in the pan; you’re too late to try and ride the wave of Marley & Me (which could be said about Jennifer Aniston, too). Marmaduke was beyond lame, and a box office dud. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, though? It cost over $85 million to make. I repeat: $85 million. Who on Earth greenlit that movie and budget? A studio head’s 9-year-old kid??
July 27, 2010 8:32am EST
Kevin Kline Talks 'The Extra Man': Late Last Night
Jimmy Fallon spoke to Kevin Kline about his new movie, The Extra Man, which is too smart for me… even though I met him when I was in sixth grade and my art teacher sent me out into the hallway for misbehaving and he promised me he’d never make a movie I was incapable of understanding! I’m sure Kevin’s a nice guy, but even my art teacher kept her promises…
And Jimmy also talked to Chase Crawford of Gossip Girl and Possession of Marijuana about his new movie, Twelve, about how 50 Cent shoots him. I’d consider that an honor, actually – to be shot by someone who’s been shot something like 9 times? That’s called “passing the torch,” my friend.
Jay Leno talked to Bill O’Reilly, who usually I can neither stand nor understand. But luckily, he didn’t talk about his political views. Instead, he spoke about what it was like to attend a baseball game with Geraldo Rivera and Glenn Beck and how he thinks Tony Hayward of BP should be punished.
Then O’Reilly talked about how he had to apologize for the way he covered the Shirley Sherrod story and how Lady Gaga is “groovy.” Disgust.
Jon Stewart pointed out how racist Shirley actually is! Like, tremendously racist. As in…oh, wait. That’s not bad at all. That’s quite nice, actually! So who do we blame for getting all caught up in racism and disgust and betrayal and mistakes? How about John Oliver?
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And Stewart proved he’s not racist by displaying his Christmas card and looking at Wyatt Cenac in the eye when he spoke.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cConversation About Racewww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea PartyAnd Stephen Colbert voiced his opinions of the whole Shirley Sherrod thing. He didn’t think the Obama administration has anything to apologize for, because it seemed like the only way to get her to stop telling such a long story was to fire her.
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June 18, 2010 4:56am EST
The first thing you notice about Jonah Hex is the fact that you can make a drinking game out of people saying the words "Jonah Hex." It happens so often I began to believe that this was simply how people used to greet one another in the Old West. You walk into a room: “Jonah Hex!” “Well Jonah Hex to you too buddy!” Take a bottle of whiskey with you into the movie* and take a shot every time someone says his name and you will have an incredible 74 minutes. You might also be dead at the end.
Why does it feel like I’m dedicating half the review to the use of the words "Jonah Hex?" Because half the movie is dedicated to uttering the words "Jonah Hex." Learn to love the sound of it. Josh Brolin sure did.
When our ‘hero’ (and I use that word in the loosest of possible terms) isn’t busy having people remind him of his name he is riding around killing people or being made fun of for his horribly scarred face. But when a villain from his past – and when I say "past " I mean from 10 minutes earlier in the film – turns out not to be as dead as we were led to believe in the opening monologue Hex sets out to get the revenge he really wish he could have gotten 15 minutes earlier. And that’s when the movie beings its plunge into logical implausibility. If you can find a single reason to give a rat's *** about anyone in this movie grip onto it with both hands brother and hold on tight – it’s the only way you’re going to care at all about this film.
It’s not the horse with side-mounted Gatling guns that got me or the silliness of dynamite crossbows; it was just how unlikable everyone was and how it leaned heavily upon cliché to tell a story without understanding how a story like this is supposed to be told. Revenge films are like romantic comedies: They rely entirely on a weak coincidence and delivering a series of emotional money shots that pay off for the audience in a big way. More importantly these money shots must be delivered in a very specific structure that allows people to forgive any thin or contrived story elements. Where a romantic comedy is "Boy Meets Girl Boy Loses Girl Boy gets Girl Back " revenge films are mostly comprised of "Guy Finds Simple Bliss Bad Guy Ruins Simple Bliss in a Cruel Manner Guy Left for Dead Guy Gets Revenge for All He’s Lost." Very simple stuff. Whether it’s Maximus in Gladitor or Eric Draven in The Crow or Charles Rane in Rolling Thunder the structure is the same. The key to a good revenge movie is a likable good guy a reason to care about his life truly despicable bad guys and a perfectly crafted ending for our hero in particular – often involving his death.
Right from the start Jonah Hex drops the ball. We open with him tied up and getting wailed on watching his family get murdered just out of frame and then get left for dead. But we haven’t found anything to care for yet and more importantly he immediately admits to having done everything he’s been accused of. This is revenge to begin with. Sure the movie eventually gets around to trying to explain why he didn’t really deserve it but only after 45 minutes of us pretty much disliking the guy. He’s mean unlikable murderous and his only friend in the world is a prostitute who tells us that she “Don’t play house ” just before begging Jonah to settle down with her. He’s got a great horse and a dog but doesn’t like them enough to have ever given them a name and every time someone finally gets around to killing him magical Native Americans show up to save his bacon AGAIN for no apparent reason other than his wife was Native American.
The only reason to root for Jonah at all is because he’s the protagonist and his antagonist (played comically by John Malkovich) is on a mission to I kid you not destroy America with a semi-magical nation-destroying weapon. Oh yes and we’re told the Mexicans call him “Terrorista.” A Terrorist hellbent on destroying America? In the Old West? You’d be hard pressed to find anyone you wouldn’t root for fighting that guy. This had all the hallmarks of being a WWE movie without the cool logo. If you’re 13 years old and you still believe wrestling is real this might be the movie for you. Otherwise it is an exercise in silliness designed to rob you of $10.
*Hollywood.com accepts no responsibility to cirrhosis of the liver or any sudden death caused by ingestion of alcohol occurring during the course of this game.
June 08, 2010 9:05am EST
Colbert Takes Out BP (Literally): Late Last Night
Stephen Colbert was on fire last night on The Colbert Report, with a riff on the gulf oil spill. Colbert partnered with search engine Bing, who offered to donate $2500 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation every time he said the name of their company. I generally hate product placement, but Colbert raised a ton of money for a good cause, and gave Google one hell of a name drop in the process.
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Colbert continued the segment on the spill with an extended skit in which he hulks-out and goes to town on BP CEO Tony Hayward. While he does take a shot at the Knicks in the process, (Hey! We’ve got some...good...uniforms.) Colbert’s animal-assisted smack-down is pure wish-fulfillment. I really hope that whenever we end up charging the real BP execs it involves trial by combat with a shirtless Obama and some pissed-off dolphin sidekicks.
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The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi traveled to Hacienda Heights to investigate the controversy around a program that teaches Mandarin Chinese to middle school students. The fear, of one pointy-haired lady at least, is that children would be indoctrinated with Communism from a young age. Or possibly be turned into Manchurian Candidate-esque sleeper agents. I don’t know how this woman's language classes went, but when I took Spanish in middle school we didn’t do anything more complex than “where is the library”, never mind “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs”. That has passive voice and everything. Besides, I took a year of Chinese in high school, and the only side-effect is that I occasionally feel the urge to stand in front of tanks and invent the decimal system.
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Jimmy Fallon's Late Night guest was Glee's Chris Colfer, who proved to be adorably awkward for a boy who can handle dancing in ten-inch heels. Colfer admitted to accidentally breaking an antique NBC lamp in Jimmy’s dressing room and seemed nervous, but I think NBC would only care if the lamp belonged to Jay Leno.
Chris Colfer also did some promotion for tonight’s finale of Glee, and let slip that the gang will be adding another Journey song to their repertoire. The gang’s rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” went gold in digital sales, so it looks like Fox is looking to cash in with a new power ballad from the rock group. You know whatever it is that they pick is going to be all over the radio for the rest of the summer, so I really, really hope that they don’t try to replicate the music video for "Separate Ways". I don’t think I can deal with that much 80’s.
March 11, 2010 10:07am EST
Green Zone is a story we’ve already heard shot in a manner we’ve already seen and starring Matt Damon in a role he’s already played. Remember those WMDs that were never found in Iraq and later exposed to be the invention of a dubious and poorly-vetted informant? Remember the misguided and hideously botched attempt at establishing democracy after the fall of Saddam and the violent prolonged insurgency that ensued? If you’ve been away from the television for the past hour and somehow managed to forget any of these details Green Zone is here to remind you.
Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller an Army weapons inspector whose frustration over repeatedly coming up empty in his search for Iraqi WMDs leads him on a quest to track down and expose the people responsible for leading him (and us) down that infamously bogus path. Though his hand-to-hand skills are a notch below Jason Bourne’s Miller’s single-mindedness moral certainty and permanent expression of square-jawed defiance — always threatening another “How do you like them apples?” rebuke — in the face of an insidious multi-level government conspiracy are essentially equivalent to those of Damon’s Bourne trilogy soulmate.
And like Bourne his most dangerous adversary isn’t found on the battlefront but rather within the government he once served so proudly. As Miller delves ever deeper into the Case of the Faulty WMD Intelligence Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) the duplicitous arrogant Defense Department bureaucrat in charge of U.S. operations in Iraq summarily relieves him of his post. (Hint: the better dressed a Green Zone character is the more sinister his ambitions.) But Miller remains undeterred and he goes rogue to locate the CIA informant “Magellan ” a formerly high-ranking Iraqi official whose supposed confirmation of Saddam’s nuclear ambitions served as the basis for U.S. invasion.
We know how the story ends. Green Zone’s pervasive overarching sense of deja vu is accentuated by director — and veteran Bourne helmer — Paul Greengrass who employs the trademark hand-held super-shakycam style which was so fresh and inventive in 2004 but now feels stale and predictable. (Admittedly my aversion to Greengrass’ approach was no doubt heightened by a previous night’s viewing of Roman Polanski’s excellent The Ghost Writer a political thriller as subtle and precise and finely tuned as Green Zone is ham-fisted and haphazard — and which also uses the phantom WMD controversy to far greater narrative effect.)
Green Zone culminates in essentially a violent footrace between Miller and the Army Special Forces as they scour a heavily-armed insurgent stronghold to find Magellan with Miller hoping to secure his potentially damning testimony before the Army can silence him for good. The climactic sequence for all I could tell was either shot in Damon’s backyard culled from Bourne trilogy deleted scenes or assembled from scattered YouTube clips. This punishingly chaotic often incoherent and ultimately exhausting approach to storytelling isn’t cinema verite; it’s dementia pugilistica.
March 04, 2009 5:29am EST
Megan Fox has lined up two new projects: Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin at Warner Bros. and Fathom, Fox Atomic's comic-book based underwater adventure.
Meanwhile, Watchmen director Zack Snyder is lining up ladies for his all-girl action film including Amanda Seyfried who was rumored as a possibility last month.
Seyfried is in negotiations to star, while Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Evan Rachel Wood and Emma Stone are in talks for the action fantasy.
Snyder is directing and producing with his Cruel & Unusual Films partner and wife Deborah Snyder.
Last month, Snyder talked to Web site IESB about the Seyfried possibility and said the production would be heading to Canada in June. Today, the Hollywood Reporter says the shooting schedule is still being worked out.
Punch is set in the 1950s and follows a girl who has been institutionalized by her stepfather who is intending to have her lobotomized. While there, she imagines an alternative reality to hide her from the pain, and in that world, begins planning her escape.
Snyder co-wrote the script with Steve Shibuya. The project has been described as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns."
The other actresses would play fellow inmates who also travel into the alternate reality.
Meanwhile, Jonah Hex, based on the DC Comics character, is being directed by Jimmy Hayward. Fox will play Leila. The gun-toting beauty is also the love interest of Brolin's Hex, says THR. John Malkovich also stars.
The movie is gearing up for an April shoot.
Fathom, which hails from the late artist Michael Turner, follows a young woman named Aspen who learns she is a member of a race of aquatic humanoids who possess the ability to control water.
Fox's involvement was mentioned in September by IESB which reported at the time that the film had been moved from 20th Century Fox to Fox Atomic.
The project was previously set up at James Cameron's Lightstorm but when the option lapsed, producer Peter Safran came in and began packaging it.
The adaptation is being written by Jordan Mechner while Safran is producing with Steve Bessen and Brian Austin Green. Fox also will produce in some capacity.
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MORE NEWS: 'High School Musical 4' Welcomes New Class
March 14, 2008 1:41pm EST
Horton Hears a Who may not be as high-profile as say The Cat in the Hat or How the Grinch Stole Christmas but it is equally beloved. Thankfully the script doesn’t overcomplicate things but rather keeps to a basic theme of acceptance and staying true to yourself no matter what the consequences. The story centers on one particularly sweet and imaginative elephant named Horton (Jim Carrey) living in the jungle of Nool who hears a faint cry coming from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air. Since only he can hear it because of his super-giant ears Horton quickly finds out it’s an entire city called Whoville nestled deep within the speck. And because “a person’s a person no matter how small ” this gives Horton the justification for transporting said speck now resting on a clover to a safer spot despite the ridicule and threats from his fellow Nool denizens. Meanwhile the mayor of Whoville (Steve Carell) in constant communication with Horton is having difficulty convincing the town's people they might be in danger of being squashed--or eaten or blown away into the far reaches. But the mayor shouldn’t be worried; Horton’s motto--“an elephant’s faithful 100 percent”--means the kindly pachyderm will stop at nothing to accomplish his task. Jim Carrey as a childlike wildly imaginative elephant? Steve Carell as a furry figurehead who likes being everybody’s friend? Imagine that. They both probably could have played it straight without the animation and it would have worked--but the CGI certainly adds to their performances. As a Seuss regular Carrey’s usual manic behavior is well-harnessed within the extra folds of elephant skin and Horton’s optimistic outlook is infectious. For example he doesn’t exactly know what 'ASAP' means but he’s pretty sure it means “Act Swiftly Awesome Pachyderm!” That might just be a better acronym. Carell as Mr. Mayor of Whoville is also an upbeat fellow who cherishes his job his cute wife (Amy Poehler) his 96 daughters and especially his only son Jo Jo (Jesse McCartney) but when it comes time to save the town the mayor is all action. Also included in the A-list cast is Seth Rogen as a hyperactive rodent-type and Horton’s BFF; Will Arnett as a molting evil vulture; and Carol Burnett as the snooty Kangaroo Nool jungle’s resident naysayer and mob instigator. It’s just another collection of eclectic voices that work well together. Animating Dr. Seuss is a definitely the key to a successful big-screen adaptation which up to this point hasn’t been done before. One has to wonder why. Yes seeing Jim Carrey decked out in green fur as the Grinch was quite a spectacle--even Mike Myers as the Cat in the Hat took some initiative. But seriously what better way to re-create Dr. Seuss than with CGI? Veteran Pixar animator Jimmy Hayward (Monsters Inc. Toy Story 2) and newcomer Steve Martino take the helm with Horton Hears a Who and paint us all the wacky and wonderful sights and sounds of a Seuessian world. The animals in the jungle are certainly different with stripes and spots and colors not generally found in such an environ while Whoville finally looks like the real thing rather than a set design straight from an amusement park. There's even an homage to standard 2-D animation particularly Japanime when Horton fantasizes himself a martial arts hero. Classic stuff. Simply there’s really no way they could go back to live-action Dr. Seuss when there are no limits to the imagination he inspires with animation.
March 11, 2005 5:27am EST
In a mechanized world an imaginative young inventor Rodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor) wants to be as famous as his hero the greatest inventor of all time Mr. Bigweld (voiced by Mel Brooks). With his father's "follow your dreams and never give up" ringing in his ears Rodney leaves his small town and sets out to the big bad Robot City to meet his idol and show him his invention. Once there Rodney meets the Rusties a ragtag group of street-smart bots lead by the wacky Fender (voiced by Robin Williams) who know the ropes. Rodney finds out that Bigweld has gone into seclusion and Robot City is being taken over by an ambitious robot named Ratchet (voiced by Greg Kinnear) whose motto is "Why Be You When You Could Be New?" Ratchet soon halts production on parts for the older robots. If the bot folk can't afford the new stuff they are gathered up and sent to an underground chop shop where Rachet's hideous mother Madame Gasket (voiced by Jim Broadbent) melts them down and turns them into metal for new parts. But the evil duo's plan is soon spoiled when Rodney and the Rusties start fixing the older models and decide the must get the reclusive Bigweld back on track to fight back.
How can you go wrong with such a fabulous cast? They all do a great job including McGregor as the earnest Rodney Copperbottom; Brooks as the soft-hearted boss Big Weld; Kinnear as the vain and conniving Rachet; Broadbent as the repugnantly evil Gasket; Jennifer Coolidge as the hilarious and lovable big-booty bot Aunt Fanny; Halle Berry as the smart and seductive executive bot Cappy; and Amanda Bynes as the perky Piper determined to prove herself. But once again voice over veteran Robin Williams steals the show as the broke down and chaotic robot Fender. With his hundreds of voices and impersonations animated films fit the frenetic Williams to a tee making him the undisputed king.
Blue Sky Animation and Oscar-winning director Chris Wedge who brought us the delightful Ice Age are back turning in another stellar animated effort. Robots is rivet-ing transporting the audience into a world of mechanics electronics and robotics. The best scene is when Rodney gets to Robot City and goes on a roller coaster "cab" ride with Fender through a maze of whirligigs and gadgets. Good fun. Added into the mix is a groovin' soundtrack that makes you want to get up and dance with the characters while snickering at the songs' innuendos. Overall Robots incorporates vibrant colors above the ground with dark rusted images below to bring to life this lively world of metal folk.