Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Few Words About 2008

Happy New Year! Here is a few words about some of the highlights on cinema for 2008.

Everyone does a "Best Of" and "Worst Of" at the end of the year so I thought I would do something a little different on top of the usual stuff.

Biggest Suprise
- "Get Smart"

Steve Carell is great on "The Office" and I have found him funny in just about every movie role I have seen him in. For some reason, I was not expecting much from "Get Smart". I knew Carell would be good, I knew Anne Hathaway would be good for the role of Agent 99, but I was really suprised at how much I enjoyed the movie, it turned out to be way better than I had expected, and I would like to see a sequel. Good supporting cast, notbly Alan Arkin as The Chief and Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23. Good action, funny bits, and the blending of action with the comedy was really well done, which is more than I can say for the movie in my next category.

Biggest Disappointment - "Tropic Thunder"

What a letdown. Ben Stiller, someone I always count on for a good funny movie, and usually delievers. Add to that mix Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. and you have a great comedic cast. The setting, actors in an action movie being thrown into a real life war zone, was a great idea. Too bad it fell way short of its potential. It completely separated the action from the comedy. The action itself was really good, but the comedy was sparse, and not even as funny as it could have or should have been. Downey was the best part of the film, and he was the funniest one in the movie. I didn't even really care for Stiller's character all that much. I have heard raves about this movie on other sites, but I just don't see it. Not terrible, an enjoyable movie, but not even close to what it should have been.

Most Fun - "Iron Man"

2008 was Robert Downey Jr's year, with two standout performances.No disrespect to "The Dark Knight" which was an amazing achievement in film. But let's face it, you cannot categorize it as a "fun" movie. "Iron Man" had a perfect balance of many elements. Drama, comedy, action. Robert Downey Jr took the movie and carried it on his shoulders. He played Tony Stark perfectly, and I cannot see anyone but him as that character. Things never got too serious, the action never got to be too much, in fact if anything was wrong with the movie you wanted just a bit more action. It also did the one thing a good superhero movie should do, it gave you a great movie with a great character that you want to see more of.

An Hour And A Half Of My Life I Will Never Get Back - "Meet The Spartans"

Ok I admit, I paid to see this turd. I like spoofs, and the previews looked kinda good. God how wrong I was. In 90 minutes, I think I chuckled, not laughed, maybe twice. A good comedy should make you laugh every couple of minutes should it not? Nothing about this movie was good. The acting, the story (story? or lack of), the attempted jokes. A good spoof will concentrate on a
specific movie or genre. "Blazing Saddles", "Spaceballs". But this turkey thought it would be funny (in a spoof of "300") to throw in jokes about "Dancing With The Stars", Britney Spears, video games, and way way too many gay jokes. This could possibly be the absolute worst comedy of the past decade. Hopefully the clowns who make these movies (they are responsible for the cinematic abortions "Superhero Movie" and "Disaster Movie") will stop getting money to make these unfunny ameturish dribble.

A Flop That Didn't Deserve It - "Speed Racer"

I don't know what people were expecting from this movie, but obviously it was not what anyone was thinking. Directed by the Wachowski Brothers, the duo that gave us "The Matrix" and its two sequels. It was exactly what it was supposed to be, a cartoon brought to colorful vibrant life. The special effects were top notch, the race sequences were fast paced and exciting. Ok, so it wasn't the deepest story in the world, so what?? It's a live action version of an old cartoon, what else was anyone expecting? The actors were good in their roles, there were some annoying aspects of the film, but overall it was an enjoyable family driven film. Maybe because the Wachowski's directed it people were expecting something more serious and story driven, but I thouroughly enjoyed this movie and it should have fared a lot better than it did.

Now, a quick rundown of some other noteworthy stuff-

Best Movie Of The Year - "The Dark Knight" It Changed the way we see Superhero movies forever, and gave us Heath Ledgers greatest, and sadly, final performance, thankfully it was the performance of a lifetime.

Best Performance - Heath Ledger as The Joker. Like I said already, he saved his best for his last.

Comeback Of The Year - Robert Downey Jr. "Iron Man" & he was the best and funniest thing in "Tropic Thunder", good to have you back Robert.

Best Cameo - Tom Cruise in "Tropic Thunder". Had he rest of the movie been as good as Tom's cameo, it might have been a lot better.

Well that's my little wrap up on 2008, what are your opinions on the best and worst of the year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

20th Century Fox - Big Jerks

EDITORS NOTE:Sorry there have been no entries this month, it's been a topsy turvy time in my life and I have had to put a few things on hold, but hopefully I can get back up to speed here on Movie Talk. Hope you keep coming back!

I used to have a lot of respect for 20th Century Fox, after all, they were the ones who backed "Star Wars" back in 1977, and since then have made a bunch of great films. But the past few months have been spent trying to halt the release of Warner Brother's "Watchmen". Apparently Fox owned the movie rights to "Watchmen" way back in the 80's but never went forward with the movie. When a Fox exec went over to WB, it seems he thought he could take the rights with him. Well WB went forward with the movie's production, and I guess that upset Fox, because they have been making a stink since production started. Now I am not saying Fox should not be upset, but what they have done is just sneaky and slimy. The movie, from what I know is finished, and Fox has just won a judgement saying they have rights to the property, and now the word is that Fox wants to halt the release of the film, scheduled for March 2009. Both sides are wrong. If Fox had the rights, they should have done something the minute WB went forward with the film's production, but they waited until the film was finished, and you know they want to take the film and release it and profit from it, and it would be pure profit because they didn't pay a dime for the movie, and that is just a crappy thing to do. WB, on the other hand, should have made sure they had the rights to the film. Maybe they thought they did, or got assurances that they did, but the proper legal steps should have been taken, and obviously they were not.

So now we are left with a big mess, two studios fighting for the right to release a high profile movie. Who suffers? Everyone involved, as well as the fans who want to see the movie. This could have been avoided, had proper steps been taken. But what could have and what should have happened really doesn't matter at this point. The best thing to do would be to have the studios do a joint release, and both profit. I seriously doubt that will happen, as greed will step in and both studios will probably not want the other to profit. At this point I side with WB. Sure they should have secured the rights to the film, but they went ahead with production, and they want to release their finished product. Fox wants to profit from the hard work of others, and I cannot side with them. Had they halted production from the start, I might be able to give them some support, but not now. Fox is upset because they had a crappy year in 2008, and aside from the new Wolverine movie, it doesn't look to be a good 2009 for them either, so they want to take a movie that has already been made and paid for, and profit from it. Jerks, big jerks. The moviegoers are the innocent ones here, we just want to see a good film, we don't care who the heck releases it. I just hope the movie doesn't sit in limbo and never sees a release, that would be just awful. Hopefully this will be resolved, and to the benefit of all involved....well all except Fox.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Say It Isn't So - A Remake of "Arthur"

Please say it isn't so. I have always complained about the never ending flow of remakes coming out of Hollywood. True, some turn out to be good, most either mediocre or terrible. Well now comes word that my favorite movie comedy "Arthur" is on tap to be remade. Here is part of the article I read over at

Russell Brand might soon be caught between the moon and New York City.

The British comedian is developing a remake of "Arthur," the 1981 comedy that starred Dudley Moore, for Warner Bros. as a potential starring vehicle.

Brand is meeting with scribes to write the screenplay, which will be produced by MBST's Larry Brezner, whose credits range from "Good Morning, Vietnam" to HBO's recent "Little Britain USA."

If there is a god, please DO NOT let this one be remade. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can replace Dudley Moore or Sir John Gielgud in their roles as Arthur Bach and Hobson. I don't care how funny the actors are or how talented they may be. This is as close to untouchable as you can get in my opinion. This is a classic comedy that stands the test of time, I watched it last week and I still laugh hysterically at it. There is no need to remake it. If it seemed stale or not as funny as it used to be, I could maybe understand the need for a remake. But that is not the case here, it is just as funny today as it was when it was released in 1981. I was very upset when I heard that they were remaking "The Day The Earth Stood Still" but the more I see of it, the more I feel that they may have done good with this. That movie was made at a time when nuclear war and Communism were very real threats against the world and the movie played off those fears, so the remake is taking the base story and giving it a modern theme. Fine, it just may work, the original story would not work by today's standards. But "Arthur" is totally different, it would not benefit from a modern retelling of the story, and as stated earlier, there is no way to replace the two lead actors and get the same results, it just isn't possible. This is one remake I will not support, nor will I pay money to go see it. When it's out on video? Maybe, but I doubt it. I just do not see any reason whatsoever to go through with this remake, but that's Hollywood for you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More "Speed" ?

When "Speed" came out in 1994, it was labeled as "Die Hard" on a bus, but those of us who saw it knew it was more than just that, it was a tense exciting action movie that was as close to a perfect action movie since the groundbreaking "Die Hard". I remember walking out of that movie and hoping to see Keanu Reeves return as Jack Traven.

Sadly that did not happen, Reeves decided not to reprise his role for the sequel and that was probably the smartest thing he has ever done because "Speed 2:Cruise Control" was a huge steaming pile of crap. Jason Patric took over as the cop, and while Patric is a good actor, he never seemed to really get into what he was doing on that movie and it showed. Even the usually reliable Sandra Bullock seemed kind of bored. The sequel took place on a cruise ship, not exactly something that goes fast, and really has no place in a movie with speed in the title. The movie bombed, thank goodness and that was the last we saw of the "Speed" movies.

Over at, I read that they are actually trying to push a new "Speed" movie with Keanu back in the role of Jack Traven. Now you are treading on dangerous ground here. Bringing Keanu back gives appeal to the project, but what will people remember? The slam bang fast paced action of the first movie, or the lame watered down (literally) crap that was the sequel? I personally hated the sequel so much that I don't even count it as part of "Speed", so I welcome the idea of another "Speed" movie, and I am sure if they throw enough money at Reeves he will do it. They just better be sure they go for the feel of the first film, and just forget that a second film was even made.

Despite the appeal of another "Speed" movie, I think this just shows Hollywood's continuing lack of imagination. Remakes of movies barely 20 years old, sequels to movies 10 years old or more, why is it so hard to come up with something even semi original? I guess it's easy for me to complain because I don't make movies, I just watch them like most of us. But I just find it hard to believe that there is absolutely nothing original for Hollywood to do, they are just lazy. I understand the logic, go with established properties, make sequels because they have a built in audience, don't take a chance on something new and original because you cannot know how it will do. But because I understand the logic doesn't mean i agree with it. It's as if all Hollywood cares about is making money, entertainment seems to have taken a back seat. Hey I know that part of the reason to make movies is to make money, but damn, at what cost?