Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Must Watch This Movie, Y’all

Winter’s Bone – heard of it?

All I know about the Sundance hit, which kicked off awards season last night with a big showing at the IFP Gotham Independent Awards, is that it’s this big (bleak) indie starring breakout star Jennifer Lawrence (pictured at right) that deals with meth.

I want to see it.

No, I need to see it.

It may be the darkest of horses this awards season.

To boot, the film dominated the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations this morning, earning seven nods, while The Kids Are All Right scored five.

So, you know...must.

Photo: Roadside Attractions.
Tough Chick Serves and Protects

Eliza Dushku is not giving up on TV.

The star of the dearly departed Dollhouse will star in a pilot titled Bird Dog for TNT.

The show will follow a father-daughter cop team that is close on the job but not in life. No word on who may play daddy dearest quite just yet.

Photo: Flickr.com.

Update: Girlfriend’s not doing it anymore.

Eliza Dushku tweeted on Dec. 6 that she and TNT have “mutually & AMICABLY decided to part ways.”

Bummer. I wanted her back on the tube ASAP.

Monday, November 29, 2010

James & Anne...and Oscar

Well, they’re definitely going to the Academy Awards.

127 Hours Best Actor hopeful James Franco and Anne Hathaway, herself a contender for Love & Other Drugs, will co-host this season’s Oscar ceremony.

Quite the departure from last year’s Steve Martin-Alec Baldwin combo, or from traditional go-tos like Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg, huh.

Photo: Guardian.co.uk.
The Games of Their Lives

The Black Eyed Peas are going to the Super Bowl.

The hitmaking band has been tapped as the halftime entertainers during Super Bowl XLV next winter.

“They could have picked anybody,” said will.i.am, the foursome’s leader, “but it says something that they picked us.”

Football’s biggest night will be held in Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 6.

Photo: EW.com.
R.I.P. Det. Lt. Frank Drebin

Surely (see what I’m doing here), there is a joke in the fact that Leslie Nielsen died at age 84, in Florida – but I am definitely not the right one to tell it.

The funnyman passed away yesterday at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, where he was being treated for pneumonia.

A master of the fine art of parody, the Canadian actor – a character actor, I dare say – also was well known for his work on TV dramas way back when, Airplane! (surely, you seriously haven’t forgotten about that one, and as he would have said, “...don’t call me Shirley”), but it was his role as Det. Lt. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series that ingratiated Nielsen to this fan. Click here for a look at some highlights from the gentleman’s career.

You will be missed, Les.

Photo: EmpireOnline.com.

Friday, November 26, 2010

He Travels Through Time

He’s currently courting Oscar and giving audiences something to think about in the sexy Love & Other Drugs (that would be his bum!), but next spring, Jake Gyllenhaal will be trying to figure out who bombed a train in Source Code.

In the oh-so-Matrix-sounding sci-fi movie Gyllen-yum plays a soldier who, thanks to some seriously – and experimental – cutting-edge computer program, is sent back in time and enabled to cross over into another man’s identity in the last eight minutes of his life to keep the choo-choo from going boom.


Check this tease:


Will Jakey-bear be able to stop the attack from being carried out? Will he save the woman (Michelle Monaghan) he befriends onboard the train? And, more importantly, will he be shirtless at all in this thing?

Find out on April 15.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Going Into New Territory

First Gerard Butler got himself a nice would-be blockbuster comic-book adaptation, and now Mark Wahlberg is getting himself a nice would-be blockbuster videogame adaptation to call his own.

While doing press for his upcoming awards-bait-y The Fighter, the actor hinted rather strongly that he will play treasure-hunter Nathan Drake in David O. Russell’s planned take on Uncharted, the PS3 series.

And – get this – he also suggested that Russell is courting Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci to play Drake’s father and uncle, respectively.

If this hits, it will be the artist f.n.a. Marky Mark’s first franchise.

Photo: AskMen.com.
Just a Simple Girl with a Dream

There’s a lot riding on Burlesque – and I don’t just mean the thongs up the dancers’ fannies.

For one, the movie marks the big-screen debut of Christina Aguilera, the powerhouse-voiced diva who’s gone from Mouseketeer to pop princess to dirrty girl to jazzy pin-up to, now, actress. And for two, it marks the return to the medium, in a headlining capacity, of the one and only Cher.

That sound you hear is that of 10 percent of the population, give or take, having a massive gaygasm.

Too bad that sound is way more exciting than most anything that happens on screen in this musical mess.

Oof, that came out harsher than I wanted it to.

Burlesque isn’t so bad, but it’s not as good as it should’ve been considering the cast it boasts (joining Cher and Aguilera are the invaluable Stanley Tucci, the underused Kristen Bell, and the oh-so-handsome Cam Gigandet and Eric Dane).

Aguilera plays Ali, a girl from Iowa who hops on a one-way-ticket bus for Los Angeles lest her talents go forever unnoticed with nothing but a couple of bags, very little money, and her big dreams of making it in Tinseltown.

When she gets there, she quickly hits the looking-for-a-job trail, ultimately stumbling upon the Burlesque Lounge, a not-so-hot-anymore spot with “the best view on the Sunset Strip” that Cher’s Tess owns and operates.

The club is like this glittery mecca for Ali, who may come from a small town but has big-city moxie. Determined to stay and make things happen for herself there, she chats up cute bartender Jack (Gigandet), who points her in the direction of the big boss, who turns her down for a job in the club’s cast of dancer. Undeterred, Ali picks up a tray and starts waiting tables.

That’s the Iowa way, I guess.

Ali proves she wants to be there, that she’ll do whatever it takes to earn a chance at the spotlight. She doesn’t make a lot of friends along the way, though. Sure, she’s got Jack on her side (who looks at her with the dreamiest eyes and takes her in as a platonic roommate, for he’s engaged, after her place gets burgled), and Tess’ gay BFF Sean (Tucci) also has taken a likin’ to her, but not the club’s queen bee Nikki (Bell) or the other girls.

Anyway, when the time to audition finally comes, she takes it and proves she’s got what it takes. She’s on her way up the ladder, but the joint’s on its way down. Tess is having major financial problems – banks want to get paid, a pushy developer (Dane) wants to buy her out, but she refuses to sell.

Meanwhile, Ali is pushing Tess to let her sing, pitching her the idea that live performances over lip-synched ones are the way to go, without much luck. Eventually, the former gets yet another opportunity to prove herself, impressing the latter so much she decides to build the shows around her and her tremendous voice. This could be what turns everything around.

Teasetastic, yet lukewarm number after teasetastic, yet lukewarm number, the club resurges, but it’s not quite enough. Deadlines are looming, but Ali...that girl gets yet another go at proving just what a resource she is and saves the day yet again.

Unfortunately, Burlesque, much like Aguilera (who does a fine job in her maiden cinematic voyage), only comes truly alive during the musical numbers, which after a while grow old because of their samesyness.

By the end of the flick, you will have clapped for some of it (and for ever fabulous Cher!), genuinely enjoyed some scenes (like the one involving Gigandet and a big box of cookies), but, ultimately, thought this one could’ve used a little more work.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Screen Gems.

The Survivalist

I am such a sucker for a good triumph of the human spirit story.

Any film that captures that in an effective way is a good film, and 127 Hours is a very good film because A) it’s been directed by Danny Boyle, and B) it stars James Franco.

Any time you see the words “A Danny Boyle Film” appear on the big screen you know you’re in for a treat, and his take on Aron Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place for which he reteamed with his fellow Slumdog Millionaire Oscar winners, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and composer A. R. Rahman is no different.

First things first, though: You remember Ralston, right?

Hes she Colorado thrillseeker who in 2003 found himself literally stuck in the scenario that gave his memoir its title down in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah and lived to tell the tale.

Right there you have yourself a compelling, engrossing story...that of a man who defied all odds for more than five days in his quest to survive an impossible situation, and Boyle knows it and makes the film literally all about Ralston.

127 Hours starts with extreme energy as we see Aron heading out on this particular adventure, this date with destiny as we later hear him call it, alone, just the way he prefers it.

Aron, as fascinatingly played by Franco, is a man who likes it how he likes it, when he likes it, and that’s how it is.

He’s a bit of a cocky guy, but I guess one must be a bit so if one enjoys doing the sort of things he does, and he sure does and seems to know what he’s doing, so y’ know...so what, who cares.

When he runs into a couple of cute hiker girls (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara, playing roles made up for the screen, I believe – don’t quote me on it), he’s flexible enough in his plans that he deviates from them for a while to hang out and show them a good time by taking them to a beautifully blue lake the secret, in-the-know way.

That’s just the kind of guy he is, always up for funsies.

Soon enough, though, the fun gives way to unthinkable horror when he falls through a crack, dislodging a big ol’ boulder than comes to rest on his right arm. In that moment of realization, Franco is amazing. He says it all with nothing but a gasp, a tears-forming-behind-his-eyes look, and a drop of the jaw.

From there the clock begins ticking on 127 Hours, each one more excruciating than the one before for Aron but, nonetheless, quite riveting to experience from the safety and comfort of a movie theater seat.

We see him try to free himself to no avail, cry for help without anyone coming, become acquainted with his new surroundings....

We see him dangling there, trapped, with very little water or food, knowing that no one will get to him time because...he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. Of the mess he’s in all he can say to his camcorder is, “Oops.” Despair is not an option.

And although he’s hallucinating, we also see him keep it together and find the strength that he needs in the memories of an ex-girlfriend, of his friends and family (to whom he apologizes for not being a good-enough son, for not being able to be there for what’s coming up), and the prophetic thoughts of a future in which he’s not only alive but surrounded by a family of his own.

It is sheer will to live that drives Aron to do what few people would fathom, to get out of there no matter the cost.

Armed with a dull, cheap knife, he springs himself from his prison by breaking his arm and cutting it off in a most intense scene that may be a bit difficult to watch but even more so to look away from or avoid (Rahman’s music ensures that the experience is inescapable). In that moment, Franco is amazing yet again.

By then we’ve gotten to know Ralston so well, we can’t help but breathe (forget a sigh of relief...just breathe) and laugh when he matter-of-factly snaps a photo of is severed arm. That’s just who he is and the most fitting way for him to walk away from his ordeal. It’s a mesmerizing thing to behold, and when Aron is finally rescued, well...let’s just say I almost cried of happiness.

My Rating ****

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Accidental Lovers

By now you probably know Love & Other Drugs is one heckuva sexy movie starring Brokeback Mountain co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

I’ve seen the Edward Zwick-directed romantic dramedy twice now, and lemme tell ya...I probably will see it a third time – it’s that enjoyable.

The garnish, of course, is Gyllen-yum.


He – and Hathaway – cavorts through a great deal of the movie’s almost two-hour running time in various stages of undress (if you ask me, the actor’s sexiest feature isn’t his oh-so-tight bod, but that killer combo of baby blues and sharp canines he’s got going on).

The reason I looked forward to a repeat viewing in the first place, though, is Love & Other Drugs…spoke to me.

The movie felt genuine, as uneven as it was, which is perhaps why I think it is so, y’ know.


It made me laugh more than I ever imagined it would and it made me feel a knot in my throat at times and it made me cringe a little at others. Which is kinda what life is like. And, again, it’s a fun, sexy time with Gyllenhaal and Hathaway – hello!

Here’s what you need to know: the film is a period piece (as much as it can be going back a whopping 14 years).

The story begins some time in 1996, with Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” ensuring that we get we’re way back then. Based on Jamie Reidy’s Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, the film follows the reluctant relationship that blossoms between twentysomethings Jamie Randall and Maggie Murdock, a second-rate-electronics salesman-turned-pharmaceutical-rep wunderkind and a free-spirited artist suffering from early onset Parkinson’s, respectively. It’s a debunk for the both of them, and a quite enjoyable one to watch because neither one of them was looking for it.

Jamie’s not much for relationships, you see. He’s a natural born charmer who could sell sand in the desert if he wanted to and make a killin’, but instead he’s slacking through life, not wanting to give his dad the satisfaction on going to med school and putting his considerable talents to good use. He’d rather get laid, which he does often with the flash of his smile.

Maggie, on the other hand, isn’t much for relationships, either – not anymore. She’s tried that, and because of her disease she’s become guarded...convinced that she’s better off keeping things casual. She’s a straight shooter who’s doing what she feels she needs to do to live out the hand she’s been dealt, and if you don’t like it then there’s the door.

Jamie meets Maggie while at a doctor’s office he’s worked his way in to hawk some of Pfizer’s antidepressants in his new, promising career as a rep. He’s posing an intern, she’s there for kind of an emergency; they banter a little (you can tell he’s taken by her...and her boobs); he goes on with his day, she finds him out in the parking lot afterward. Sparks fly.

From there Jamie and Maggie go at it. A lot. Whenever, wherever.

They first meet for coffee, though; he tries to turn it on for her, but before he can she calls him out on it. She knows what he wants and she wants the same. It’s the perfect set-up for both .

What starts as an NSA thing begins to grow gradually, and soon they’re in it. The question is are they in it to win it – is he strong enough to deal with Maggie’s Parkinson’s, and is she strong enough to let Jamie in? Will he be tempted by another and/or the money he starts making later on as a top Viagra salesman?

That’s what this is all about, not the sex...or the mini-subplot involving Jamie’s crass brother...or the competition between Jamie and a rival rep, and to see these two characters so nicely played by Gyllenhaal and Hathaway, who have amazing chemistry on screen, btw figure it out is the true joy of Love & Other Drugs.

My Rating ***

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It Ain’t Broken, Hollywood!

Plans...quite possibly money-driven plans were announced today to remake the 1992 flop Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie for a potential late-2011 or 2012 release.

To which I have to say: Uhh...why?!

The flick already got the reboot treatment – as a critically and culturally adored TV show – of the most stellar quality thanks to Joss Whedon (who also had a hand on the movie, as its writer) and a cast fronted by Sarah Michelle Gellar that boldly went and succeeded were no one expected it to succeed.

Yes, Warner Bros., I get that you want revisit the film property, but by doing so you will not be held to its standards but that of the show, which are impossibly high and beloved to a degree I doubt you understand.

Tall order much?

I mean...you’re not even involving Whedon on this?

Having said that, I will keep an open mind and hope that y’all will blow it in the bestest of ways. Good luck striking gold with your next SMG, though.

Photo: IMDb.com.

Update: Well this isnt too surprising: Joss Whedon aint too happy about the reboot news.

His oh-so-Whedonesque reaction can be found here.
Jake on the M-I-C!

I gotta give it to Jimmy Fallon – the guy has come into his own since he first came on the air with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

And, even better, he’s made it fun for us to watch him grow along the way.

Every once in a while someone goes on the show and the guy makes them do some ridikolous musical bit, right.

He did it (did it, did it) with Gwyneth Paltrow when two reminisced about their ’80s rap duo Shazzazz, and he recently put Jake Gyllenhaal on the beat to perform a song called “Gonna Eat That Talkin’ Sandwich” as a tribute to…urgh…Sarah Palin.

Fun stuff ensued – and now I’m jealous of an audience member. See why for yourself:

Island Man

Last we saw Jorge Garcia, his Hurley was set to rule over Lost’s mysterious Island as its new No. 1, right....

Well, it looks like the actor is trading one land mass surrounded by water for another now that he’s set to headline J.J. Abrams’ new show, Alcatraz.

The actor will play an Alcatraz expert in the pilot, which will follow a group of prisoners and guards who appear in the present day.

Photo: TVGuide.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Out of the Inferno

Lindsay Lohan’s on the market for another comeback vehicle.

The troubled actress won’t be starring in the Linda Lovelace biopic Inferno, after all.

“We have stuck by Lindsay very patiently for a long time with a lot of love and support,” said the movie’s director, Matthew Wilder. “Ultimately, the impossibility of insuring her – and some other issues – have made it impossible for us to go forward.”

I say this is for the best.

L2 needs a project with which to reintroduce herself to audiences that isn’t quite as loaded (no pun intended) as one about a late porn star most famous for the 1972 hardcore movie Deep Throat, you know what I mean.

I’m not saying she should do a rom-com, but som’in’ fun-edgy could do much more for her than som’in’ edgy-edgy like Inferno at this point.

Wilder is expected to announce a replacement next week.

Photo: AmyGrindhouse.com.

Update: Watchmen star Malin Akerman has been tapped to take over the Linda Lovelace role.

Friday, November 19, 2010

CTWoman

Claire Danes is returning to TV.

Showtime has lured the Temple Grandin Emmy winner back to the tube (you remember she headlined that cult gem My So-Called Life, right?) and given her a starring role on a pilot called Homeland, a drama loosely based the Israeli television series Prisoners of War.

The show follows an American soldier taken prisoner during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 who, left for dead, manages to return stateside after years in captivity.

Danes would play a CIA officer (in counterterrorism, I presume) damaged by her own issues who becomes convinced that the intelligence that led to the soldier’s return was a setup and that this national hero may be connected to an Al Qaeda plot to be carried out on American soil.

Sounds twisty.

Photo: BikeTool.com.au.
The Magic Is All Right

The last time a Harry Potter movie did its thing in movie theaters around the world – that’d be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2009 – I declared the stage had been set for the ultimate battle between the bespectacled wizard and He Who Must Not Be Named.

Now that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 it out, though, I must revise that statement.

Director David Yates, who took over the franchise with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has been ushering the Potter Gang and its portrayers – Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione) – into young adulthood rather nicely, readying them for that final showdown against Lord Voldermort...and, in the case of the actors, life after Hogwarts.

It can be argued that under Yates’ helm, the movies found their tone more fully.

I personally would tend to agree with that assessment, but then again I think that everyone who’s ever steered a Potter movie was right for the job.

Chris Columbus introduced us to the magic, Alfonso Cuarón brought out the story’s darkness, Mike Newell upped the stakes....

This being the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s seventh chapter in the saga gives the movie a more epic scope. By splitting the book into two parts, Yates & Co. certainly have added to that effect, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, yet another faithful-to-the-page take, alright, feels different.

It is by far and most definitely the slowest, most serious entry yet. And thats both a good and a bad thing. By sandwiching the action with a long middle section during which nothing seemingly happens (or, OK, not a whole lot), the movie builds and builds to what promises to be a second part that shan’t be missed...but at the same time, this may frustrate Rowling-non-readers who may want to see some action.

There’s also a lack of magic in this one that some may find off putting.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are out on their own in the Muggle world, without the guidance and protection of their fan-favored professors. We know the magic will be safeguarded as long as the young wizards are around, but we also see how strong the other side has grown. This is probably the most vulnerable they’ve been, and they will face real loss from now on.

A line has been drawn in the sand, and as the movie opens the trio is seen making the difficult decisions they must make to ensure they will survive what lies ahead. It’s heartbreaking, but necessary. Their commitment to their mission to find and destroy the Horcruxes containing bits of their enemy’s soul, and to one another is undeniable, which is not to say they and their loyalties won’t be tested along the way.

Meanwhile, Camp He Who Must Not Be Named has made great strides in furthering its agenda. Voldemort’s Death Eaters have seized control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts and are hot on Harry’s trail. By the end of the movie, it’s obvious this could go either way.

The stage is now set for sure, and Part 2, I hear from someone who has read the Rowling books, will be packed with action.

I cannot wait.

My Rating ***

Photo: Warner Bros.
The Beacon of Light

Ryan Reynolds is ready for the big time.

The actor is set to be that which we see in brightest day, in blackest night when Green Lantern opens next summer to the delight of many a fanboy out there.

The blockbuster due out on June 17 follows the adventures of Hal Jordan (Sexiest Man Reynolds), a test pilot who is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Not to mention an abstastically tight little outfit.

Check out the trailer and brace yourself for quite a ride:


Green Lantern co-stars Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Thrilling Glee

The Gleeks are going to the Super Bowl.

Well, actually, the show will air in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot next winter, and although the powers that Glee have decided not to make it a tribute episode, they will make it special and will be performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

The classic ditty will be performed as a mash-up with another, yet-to-be-chosen song (may I suggest something by the Queen of Pop to keep the tune regal?).

The super-sized ep also will feature covers of tunes by the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Antebellum, and Katy Perry.

Photo: E! Online.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Unwitting Pawn

I didn’t know much about Valerie Plame before watching Doug Liman’s Fair Game – the real-life, partly fictionalized story of the outed CIA covert agent – and I can’t say I’m all the wiser after having seen it, really.

That is not to say in any way that the movie doesn’t get its message across, that being the story of how Plame, an as-portrayed effective company woman, got the shaft and then some by members of the Bush administration dead-set on going to war in Iraq.

Fair Game is set in a post-Sept. 11 world, obviously, a time of fear and miscommunication – a time of chaos.

Plame, whom we first meet while on a undercover mission in Malaysia, is trotting the world collecting intelligence on a lead that Saddam Hussein has or is attempting to buy uranium yellowcake. The task also takes her to Egypt and Jordan and often keeps her deep in the bowels of the agency where she and her colleagues try to make sense of the data collected.

Her job as an operative is so involved she and her husband, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), a former U.S. ambassador, often don’t see each other. They communicate via Post-Its. He knows what she does, but she can’t and won’t compromise that in any way, which frustrates and scares him.

That’s the job (being away from her husband and her family is part of it), and she’s quite good at it.

Eventually, at one point during the investigation, Plames is asked whether the well-connected Wilson could travel to Niger to report on the Hussein-yellowcake connection. She talks him about it; he agrees to investigate after meeting with her superiors. She doesn’t have the power to just send her husband or anyone on a fact-finding mission anywhere.

It turns out to be all for naught because when Wilson comes back with a “No” on the connection, it soon becomes evident all the White House wants to hear – the Office of the Vice President, specifically – is “Yes.” Because they’ll turn any negative into a positive, anyway, y’ know...to justify their campaign for war. Which is not quite the kind of positive thinking you’d expect; I mean, this life or death, not some minor budgetary hurdle, right?

Outraged by the lies, Wilson decides to write an op-ed piece for The New York Times revealing what he hadn’t find in Niger, essentiatilly saying that the Bush administration had, indeed, manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to go after Hussein.

What follows, and, in fact, followed was headline news in 2003: payback.

The OVP leaked Plame’s identity through a counterpoint piece in the Chicago Sun-Times, effectively changing the question of why the country was going to war to just who is Valerie Plame, destroying her career and unraveling her life in the process.

Clever move, huh...quite Machiavellian, alright.

Fair Game, as political a hot potato as it is, is, from my point of view, a pretty good movie that because of its plot’s intricacies I have to talk about as such. The stakes aren’t...high. The drama hasn’t been embellished by some danger Plame has to conquer to save the day.

The cost of the conflict is all-too-real, so it’s all about the performances, and Watts shines as a steely woman wronged in the most definitive way she could be, not by a man but by a system she supported. You know what I mean? And Penn, well...he’s outrage personified and provides the kind of strong, yet subdued support that Watts needs to quietly own the movie.

I find it incredible she isn’t getting more buzz out of this one....

My Rating ***

Photo: Summit Entertainment.
Wanted Man Get Your Intergalactic Gun

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford will be tasked with preserving law and order on Earth next summer when the little green men (or something like em) arrive on our planet in Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens.

Here’s the poster – check out Craig’s backside! – and here’s the teaser trailer for the blockbuster.

As for the movie’s plot, picture it if you can: Silver City, Ariz., 1873. Apache Indians and Western settlers must lay their differences aside when an alien spaceship crash lands in their city.

Fun gunfights ensue. Sign me up!

Cowboys & Aliens – with Ford as an iron-fisted colonel and Craig as a wanted man who may hold the key to salvation fight their way into theaters on July 29.

Photo Yahoo! Movies.
Sexy Ryan Goes Sexiest

People magazine has gone and done its most “Duh” thing ever, really, and named Ryan Reynolds the
2010 Sexiest Man Alive.

And I thank them for it – although I would’ve put R2 shirtless on the cover, guys.

I mean, not only is the hot Canuck talented and funny, he’s also beyond ripped, no matter how much he likes to say things like, “My body naturally wants to look like Dick Van Dyke.”

Self-deprecation is sooo attractive, Ry – stop it.

Unlike the lot of hunks out there, though, Reynolds knows he’s gotta keep it cool, but won’t object (too much) to his wife, GQ Babe of the Year Scarlett Johansson, saying things like, “Sexiest Man, take out the garbage.” That ought to help things in perspective.

Among the other studs People highlighted this year is
Jon Hamm, who, according to Tina Fey, is “just great at everything,” as well as Kellan Lutz, Drake, Glee’s Matthew Morrison, Jon Bon Jovi, and True Blood’s Joe Manganiello.

All hella fine, fine choices, huh.

Photo: People.

Update: Two-time titleholder George Clooney is happy with the choice of Ryan Reynolds as this years Sexiest Man Alive especially because it reportedly means People didnt choose Brad Pitt.
Caught in the Web

All the trouble that’s plagued Broadway’s upcoming offering, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – including departing stars, budget issues, and on-set injuries – seems not to have had an effect on
anticipation for the show.

Vogue has a set of
Annie Leibovitz-shot photos that reveal what the Julie Taymor-directed, Bono-and-Edge-scored show will look like…y’ know, to whet fans’ appetites.

It sure looks like Taymor and Co. are going for as much theatrical drama as possible – and how cute are the show’s leads,
Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano?

Photo: Vogue.com.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Generation’s Wedding

OMG, I can’t contain myself I’m so excited: Prince William has finally popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, and the couple is at last
engaged to be married!

And why am I so chuffed by the news? It’s not like I’m an English subject or, say, a hardcore Anglophile, right? Well, because the wedding’s going to be an event – one for an entire generation to say, “Yeah, I watched that on TV.” Here are a few reasons why to be happy about this, no matter how silly it may be.

My parents had Charles and Diana’s wedding, and now I get Wills and Kate’s.

We’ve all seen this kid grow up before our eyes, shared in the pain of the loss of his beloved mother, and rooted for his every move.

And he’s a prince.

And it’s about darn time he put a ring on it (one of Lady Di’s no less, and a pretty stunning one at that).

Of course we’re excited, and by that I mean I’m excited. Although here’s some non-mine coverage about the whole thing.

The next few of months of
planning are going to be a blast to witness, and you know The Wedding is going to be a sight to see.

Congrats to the happy couple, and to England, and to William’s younger brother
Prince Harry, who’s now officially the Most Eligible Bachelor in Great Britain!

Photo: TheDailyBeast.com.

Update: A wedding date has been set!

Wills and Kate will be married at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
The Accented Savior

Gerard Butler’s assault on Hollywood continues.

The Scottish stud reportedly has his sights set on a blockbusting adaptation of the comic book series Afterburn, which is described as very “Indiana Jones-meets-Mad Max.”

Set in the near future, after a massive solar flare strikes Earth, destroying the Eastern Hemisphere, Afterburn follows a man named Jake (to be played by Butler, natch) who leads a team of “recovery experts” into danger zones to secure treasures like the Mona Lisa, the Rosetta Stone, and the Crown Jewels for wealthy Western clients, battling rival treasure hunters, pirates, and hostile mutants along the way.

Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua may direct.

I can take Butler or leave him, really, but this sounds like it calls for some shirtlessness, so bring it.

Photo: Collider.com.
Gatsby’s Girl

We all thought Blake Lively had it in the bag....

Casting Miss Daisy Buchanan – the female lead in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which Baz (Moulin Rouge!) Luhrmann is remaking – has zeroed in on Carey Mulligan instead.

The coveted part has been offered to the An Education Oscar nominee, who’ll be joining Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s playing Jay Gatsby, and, maybe, Tobey Maguire, who’s rumored for the role of Gatsby’s friend (and Daisy’s second cousin), the story’s narrator Nick Carraway, on the project.

Mulligan’s name was one of many A-List-y names that had been thrown into the mix. Evidently, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Amanda Seyfried, Keira Knightley, Michelle Williams, Lively and her The Town co-star Rebecca Hall were all considered for the part.

I would’ve considered Claire Danes, too – it would have been beyond to see her reunited with her Romeo + Juliet director and counterpart, no?

Photo: HollywoodLife.com.
In the Name of the Mothers

There is a scene in Lisa (High Art) Cholodenko’s hit summer indie The Kids Are All Right that should – at last! – get Annette Bening her much-overdue Oscar.

Granted, the entire film is quite the showcase for the actress, and co-star Julianne Moore, but that scene...that scene is just so on point, so raw, so emotional.

It’s but a moment in an accomplished, sharp-witted 104-minute observation of a thoroughly modern-day relationship, and such a timeless one at that, for it is rooted in the most real of emotions: heartbreak.

Bening plays Nic, one half of a lesbian couple (of a certain age), a doctor. Moore plays her other half, Jules, the more free-spirited one of the two.

Together they have to teenaged children conceived via artificial insemination, Joni (Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Jost Hutcherson), who talks his sister, who is 18, into looking up their sperm donor before leaving for college.

A bit reluctant to do so because she doesn’t know how their moms will react, Joni eventually agrees to the task, and so into their lives comes Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a confronting, irresistible, new sorta guy who topsy-turvies everything for Nic and Jules and the kids.

Rent the film, which is out on DVD today, and find out exactly what happens, and see it all unfold knowing that this story is, perhaps, the most genuine of its kind you will see all year. There’s no pretense about the message Cholodenko is sending – love is love, not matter who you love, and if there is love between two people, then they are not all that quote, unquote different. And because of Bening, natch, who will knock your socks off in that scene.

Photo: Focus Features.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Hooded One is Back

So I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 yesterday (come back later this week for my take on it) and got to see the trailer for Catherine Hardwicke’s spring entry Red Riding Hood.

Starring Amanda Seyfried, the Twilight director’s gothic take on the fairy tale, looks quite must-y, actually.

First of all, Seyfried shines against the movie’s wintry setting, with her big blue eyes and striking red riding hood....

And her two up-and-coming co-stars, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons sure promise to provide two smoldering sides to an already promising love triangle.

Red Riding Hood struts into theaters on March 11.

Photo: EW.com.

Update: Check out the trailer, and tell me, “Whos afraid?” indeed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Troubled Sister

My girl Elizabeth Banks is in talks to co-headline the family drama Welcome to People alongside Unstoppable star Chris Pine.

What...an eye-catching pairing, huh.

The movie follows a businessman who returns home after his estranged father’s death and discovers that he has an alcoholic sister (Banks) with a 12-year-old son.

Sounds kinda Rachel Getting Married-esque, which could bring out some rich performances out of Banks and Pine both.

Which I heart.

Photo: Zimbio.com.
Ready to Jump onto the Street

Jonah Hill is getting some studly company in his 21 Jump Street remake.

Channing Tatum is
eyeing a role in the project, the story for which Hill conceived. Emma Stone is also rumored to be circling the movie.

Of the tone of the remake Hill has
said, “We’re doing a full-on action movie, blowing s--- up.”

Sounds like fun.

Fingers crossed Johnny Depp will make a cameo, huh.

Photo: OhLaLaParis.com.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Runaway Train

Denzel Washington…an out-of-control speeding train…and director Tony Scott.

That combination just screams of a some summer blockbuster, right, but each of those elements actually is a key ingredient of one of the fall season’s most excting offerings, Unstoppable.

Making everything even better: the movie co-stars Chris Pine (Star Trek). Hello!

The conceit of the inspired-by-true-events Unstoppable is fairly easy: Everything that could go wrong with a train has gone wrong, and now it’s up to a couple of regular Joes to save the day.

Washington plays Frank Barnes, a veteran engineer who on the fateful day of the edge-of-your-seat action is partnered with Pine’s Will Colson, a young conductor that all the oldtimers aren
’t too welcoming of out on the yard (there’s some behind-the-scenes drama about people getting fired and whatnot).

Frank’s a good guy, though, so he decides to make lemonade and teach Will the ropes, making sure he understands that, “This aint training...out here you get killed.”

It’s an important lesson since pretty soon that train I mentioned earlier...it’s gonna be coming straight at them.

This is an unmanned choo-choo, traveling at high velocity, lugging several cars including eight freight cars of hazardous chemicals headed through town after town for Stanton, Pa.

“We’re talking about a missile,” Rosario Dawson’s yard master tells us, “the size of the Chrysler Building.

Together, though, Frank and Will are going to attempt an unprecedented heroic and “run this bitch down.”

OK – what they do is way more technical than that, but the fun of Unstoppable isn’t in me telling you how they do it, but in you seeing them pull it off. Yes, you’ll know they’ll make it – the movie is loosely based on a similar incident that took place in Ohio in 2001 – and you know that Denzel, well...he’s the man.

Plus, Scott sure knows how to deliver the thrills, and his trademark brand of filmmaking is well-suited for this one.

Hang on tight (the way you would to, say, one of Pine’s guns) and enjoy.

My Rating ***

Photo: 20th Century Fox.