Category: Movies & TV

Ryan Gosling Steers DRIVE Past Good to Awesome

Drive just might be my favorite movie of 2011.  Certainly it is my favorite movie of the year so far.  I loved it.  Hands down.  It is one of those rare movies that I wouldn’t change a thing about, and I say that after going in with high hopes based on Valhalla Rising(director Refn’s previous effort).

Michelle Page Talks Acting and Inspirations | Interview

Boomtron recently got the chance to interview up and coming actress, Michelle Page. At age 24, she has gotten many great performances under her belt with more on the way. She talked about being an actress in different medians and working with other actors.

Hannah Marks Talks Necessary Roughness | Interview

We recently interviewed Hannah Marks, the young star currently portraying Lindsay Santino on the new USA show Necessary Roughness. We talked about her previous acting gigs and new starring role.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 | movie review

It’s…over?  After 10 years, eight films, and 1179 minutes (not to mention the books!), the Harry Potter series has finally come to its end.  To be honest, I feel a lingering disbelief, an unwillingness to recognize that after such a span—literally years of anticipation—the last credits have finally rolled. 

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon – movie review

The Autobots aren’t here for the good of humanity; they’re here for the good of America. We catch up with them attacking a nuclear weapons facility in an unknown Middle Eastern country (probably Iran). Luckily, the Transformers’ political ideology closely mirrors our own, with Optimus Prime regularly spouting off declarations of freedom. Absurdities aside (and this film can be as dumb as it is big), this is the most massive summer movie you have ever seen, and it throws near-perfect action scenes at you like it’s no big deal for two and a half hours. The movie has serious story problems, and we’ll get to that later, but the fact remains that this is one of the best action movies ever made, both for its eye-watering visual effects and the choreography of destruction. To top it off, the 3D is actually really good, shot with the same cameras as Avatar, though not quite as effective. The movie has shades of James Cameron in it, but while Michael Bay has become the best action director around, he can’t squeeze a drop of emotional connection out of his characters, as Cameron could with ease. The movie is definitely too long, and a lot of fat could have been trimmed from the first and second acts, because by the time you walk out you will be exhausted.

Sucker Punch – A Study On The State Of Comics

Sucker Punch is possibly the most spectacular failure I’ve seen in a while. It’s certainly ambitious, it’s got lots to praise, but there are far too many efforts falling flat or possibly offending for it to be considered a success. Aside from its merits or lack thereof, I want to look into what this movie means. This isn’t a comic cinematic experience, it’s an original screenplay, but it might just be the best visual representation of what comics mean. I believe Sucker Punch to be a statement on what comics are so hit the jump to see how I make this conclusion.

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enuka okuma

Enuka Okuma – “Cookie” – Interview

Enuka Okuma is a young actress and now a director.  She will be back on ABC June 16th for season 2 of the summer series Rookie Blue “as the tough talking rookie cop, Traci Nash, that has a secret past and a killer right hook.”  She can also be seen on the big screen starting July 1, alongside Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in the latter-directed Larry Crowne.

Have a Drink on Ali Liebert on Harper’s Island – Interview

I recently had the pleasure of putting some questions to Canadian actress Ali Liebert, who I (and my long-time Boomtron followers) know best as “Nikki the bartender” from Harper’s Island.  We talk about what her current projects are–hint:  she has a lot!–and what it’s like working with people who have household name recognition.  Read on to find out what she had to say!

The Black Death Tries Avoiding the Plague Like Cliches

The Black Death is about what you think it is.  Set near the beginning of the era of the bubonic plague, it follows a young monk out of his abbey while he serves as guide for a group of knights on an errand from their bishop:  to find a remote village said to be free of the sickness by a pact with the devil, and deliver its witches to the holy authority for condemnation.  What the monk sees on the journey will test his faith, and what he finds in the village will threaten his very soul….

Fast Five Quits Reality, Goes Full Spectacle – Review

Fast Five is great, superb summer entertainment, and a fitting commemoration for the 10th anniversary of the original The Fast and the Furious.  Justin Lin has fashioned himself into a groundbreaking action director in the vein of Michael Bay, and delivers one of the most original action films in recent memory.  Considering the Fast and Furious franchise was on its last legs a few years ago, this is a real renaissance for the series.  The film works because it dispenses with any pretense of reality or seriousness.  The bright primary color palette of the desert and Rio de Janeiro give the movie a feeling of vibrant energy, moving away from the dirge-like tone of the previous entry, Fast and Furious, which had a sense of possibly being the last in the series pending its impressive box office numbers.  The film also benefits heavily from the large budget the studio has invested in the property.

Tangled and the Death of the Disney Fairy Tale

Like Nietzsche with God, last fall Disney declared that the fairy tale was dead.  In this case, that is, Disney would no longer be making animated features out of the old stories.

As a child of the golden years of Disney fairy tales in the early 90’s, I found this news unutterably depressing.  Forget that Disney is notorious for sanitizing the bloodiest aspects of the tales and turning the bitter endings sweet.  My love for the true stories, the old stories, the stories in my various anthologies (and it was various…as many as five, perhaps) of the original form fairy tales did not diminish my love for the Disney versions.  It still doesn’t, when the modernization is done well; case in point, The Princess and the Frog.

Thor – Movie Review: A Study In Universe Expansion

Marvel Studios have had a lot of success at the box office lately, especially with the Iron Man movies, and they obviously plan to have a lot more success in the coming years with a busy slate of production. The latest offering is Thor. Is it going to be a success? Damn straight, and for many reasons, let’s get into them.

I Saw the Devil: Feel Good Movie of the Year – review

“The count’s frozen face was petrified and ashen and the blood still poured down the parallel cuts.  His eyes bulged wide, full of horror and pain.  It was glorious.  If you like that kind of thing.” –William Goldman, The Princess Bride

If you like that kind of thing, then I Saw the Devil really might be your feel-good movie of 2011.  Like the Oldboy trilogy it was clearly influenced by, this is a revenge story as only Asian cinema can do it these days:  uncompromisingly brutal, undeniably artistic, and superlatively original.  When a serial killer (Choi Min-sik, who I know from Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, and The Quiet Family) murders the fiancée of a special agent (Lee Byung-hun, from Three…Extremes, and GI Joe Rise of the Cobra), the agent hunts him down and tortures him for the express purpose of “making him feel the same pain she did.”

I Sell the Dead | movie review

I Sell the Dead is proof that not every IFC production is golden. It’s from a couple years ago now—2008, I think—and showed up on my Netflix recommendations page and sounded interesting enough to try. And that was the movie’s entire problem: it sounded interesting, but somehow wasn’t. It’s about a pair of grave robbers in the 18th century who get into the highly specialized sub-division of robbing graves with potential occult significance…accused vampires and zombies, etc. See what I mean? Hell, they had me at “18th century grave robbers,” because I love me a good historical movie, and that is both an intriguing topic and one that hasn’t been the focus of a movie, just a side point in Jack the Ripper type mysteries.

Source Code | movie review

Mozart originally ended his opera Don Giovanni with Don Giovanni descending into Hell, his soul claimed by the devil, and later added a final ensemble to bring the performance away from the bleakness of that end, which was considered too dark. For me, the opera is stronger with the final ensemble omitted, because it allows the sheer emotional and moral power of Don Giovanni’s fate to linger in your mind instead of being mitigated by the tidy cheerfulness of the dénouement. Source Code suffered from the same problem: there was a clear point of finality to the story, one artistic moment of filming and philosophy that to me was the natural ending…and then there was an epilogue to that. An add-on to the story which changed the impact and the implications of that previous scene, and, for me, was a serious detraction from what would otherwise have been a truly great movie.

The Lincoln Lawyer – review

Matthew McConaughey is one of those actors that you just love even though they don’t really do that many good movies.  He’s done a handful over the years, maybe three or four, and he’s a man who makes a lot of movies.  Thus I’ve joked for years that, with the amount of roles he takes, sooner or later he’s going to make another good movie just by accident.  I am happy to tell you that I was right.  He did finally make a good movie (though whether it was an accident or not I couldn’t begin to say) in The Lincoln Lawyer.

Adjusting the Adjustment Bureau

When a movie could have been good, but wasn’t, it becomes an even worse movie experience than if there had been no expectation, no potential, for anything better.  So it was with The Adjustment Bureau.  This movie was like 30 Days of Night:  it had everything going for it—unique premise, great cast, decent if not brilliant filming, and a budget to support any necessary effects—and yet it somehow managed to squander them all and create a bad movie made worse by the simple fact that it shouldn’t have been.

Animal Kingdom | movie review

Animal Kingdom is not a movie about the jungle but simply the law of the jungle: it’s kill or be killed, and only the strong survive. As the poster tagline claims, it is a crime story, about a crime family–the Cody’s–and what happens when their anchor, their leader, is killed. The main character is teenager “J” who has to find a way to survive his crazy uncles’ schemes to get revenge and then to cover up the murders they commit, and to figure out where his own conscience is when it comes to the law and his family. This makes it equally as much a coming of age story as a crime drama, and it is effective in both genres.

A Glorious Waste of Time: Jordan Brady’s I Am Comic

There’s an old Chinese curse that a lot of hacky writers use to set up the premises of their articles, and it is as follows: May you live in interesting times.  And for stand-up comedy, these are very interesting times, indeed.

This is not to say that stand-up is cursed.  At least, it isn’t any more or less than it was when you could only see it performed in the Catskills or on Ed Sullivan.  But since the stand-up boom of the 1980s and ‘90s has waned completely, there is no longer an intense national focus on stand-up, which leaves the rest of us enthusiasts, those of us with a deep passion for this art form regardless of its popularity or lack thereof, in a unique position to analyze and dissect it, to find out how and why it works.

Too Cool (Or, how a moron ended up at the TCA’s)

Like Dante, I wasn’t even supposed to be there that day.

The focus of all the attention was familiar: small waves of television and movie stars, wide-smiling studio execs, nervous-looking producers and show-runners, all surrounded by the usual mad gaggle of protectors, buffers, yes-men and desperate-eyed hangers-ons. Cameras flashed, smilers smiled, and the air was abuzz with words like “new” and “bold” and “amalgamated!”

Blue Valentine | movie review

Blue Valentine screened here at the NO Film Fest the same week Welcome to the Rileys, Black Swan, and 127 Hours did.  I did not end up seeing it due to a prior engagement the night it screened, and so I watched the controversy about its rating–should it be NC17 or R, and if the board said NC17 should they re-edit to get it downgraded to R?–with trepidation.  After all, I’d blown potentially my only chance to see the “true” film.  Thankfully the film’s producers successfully argued for an R rating without any adjustment of the film, and after watching it I really don’t understand what all the fuss was about.  There was nothing that I saw which came even close to being NC17, so far from it, in fact, that I had to reconfirm with my companion that it had not, in fact, been edited.  The whole situation created a lot of media buzz for the film, but what it should have been doing was highlighting the ridiculous double standards for violence and sexuality in our Puritanical rating system; 100 deaths an hour is no problem, but explicit, clearly non-exploitative sex is still Too Much.  At least they got this one right in the end; this is not an NC-17 movie.

The King’s Speech | movie review

The King’s Speech is a problematic movie for me.  On the one hand, it’s a really great underdog story, the acting jobs were fabulous, and it’s a movie about hope in a time of darkness…but on the other hand is the history buff I know pointing out that he was hardly the only heroic figure or even inspiring orator of his age, and I can’t really disagree with that.  In school we learned about Churchill, not the king.

Dead Supermodels: The Photography Of Kaoru Izima | The Nail That Sticks Out

I love them when they are dead

I want some cold-blooded women lying in my bed

I love you when you are dead

– Batmobile, “Dead (I Want Them When They Are Dead)”

At first you have to look closely to see her, but once you spot her, she’s hard to miss.

In a field of sunflowers lies Jun Matsuda.  She’s the one blemish in this scene of rich green and vibrant yellow, a body dressed in a metallic silver dress with light blue polka-dots. She’s covered in blood.

The Dilemma | movie review

I almost didn’t go see this movie for three reasons:  it was getting panned by Rotten Tomatoes (somewhere in the 20 percent’s when I checked, which is just shy of worst movie of the year numbers); acting opposite my boy Vince Vaughn was not Jon Favreau as I had thought from a half-watched preview but Paul Blart, Mall Cop; and the rating was PG-13.  However.  It had three arguments in its favor, and those proved to be stronger than the negatives–Ron Howard directed, I have yet to not be entertained by Vince Vaughn no matter how ridiculous the movie around him, and we are in that empty January stretch after all the good movies from December have been seen and before all the Academy nominees get wide-released for those who didn’t get them over the holidays.

Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie | Review

At last, the holy grail of Warhammer 40k fans the world over has arrived–a 40k movie!

Penned by the master himself, Dan Abnett, produced by Codex Pictures and directed by Martyn Pick, it tells a quintessential 40k tale from the perspective of the Space Marine golden boys, the Ultramarines. Special mention must go the voice actors recruited by Codex for this movie; John Hurt, Sean Pertwee, and Terence Stamp, as well as a number of other very talented actors, all lend their dulcet tones to this film, and I felt that the atmosphere was all the richer for their vocal talents. Johnny Harris’s “Brother Nidon” was a particularly good performance and a compelling character.

True Grit | movie review

True Grit is the latest movie from the Coen brothers, and their best since No Country for Old Men.  It convinces me that they should stick to movies that are not comedic in structure but simply in tone; this is a revenge story layered with dark humor, but the characters and the situations are always, usually literally, deadly serious.  The story is told from the point of view of 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who sets out to bring her father’s murderer to justice in frontier Arkansas.  She hires the toughest, roughest, most ruthless U.S. Marshall in Fort Smith (Jeff Bridges) and insists on accompanying him into Indian territory on his hunt.  They run up against an uptight Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who wants to bring the man back to Texas for trial.  It becomes a battle of wills and endurance to see who has the courage and tenacity to take Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) dead or alive…to see who has the true grit.

Tron Legacy – Review

Tron Legacy is the sort of movie that, in my opinion, requires a disclosure of a reviewer’s perspective up front.  So to that end, I feel compelled to admit that I have only seen Tron once, and that I saw it about three days ago with the specific end of watching the original before I saw the remake.

I mean, sequel.

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7 samurai

A World Apart: Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai

At the heart of the Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai), is a dichotomy between the peasant class and the warrior caste that is a constant source of tension. The villagers do not like or trust samurais, believing them all to be greedy and lustful and despite the existential threat of the bandits, some are still loath to seek their help and would rather surrender their entire crop and go hungry. It is hard not to notice a certain amount of intertextuality between the opening discussing and those rich dialogues of Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes (the original “gang of seven” plot device), when the citizens discuss their feeling about the enemy outside the gates. While this type of mistreatment of the peasant classes was common throughout the Sengoku period, the villagers are also not innocent. One pivotal scene in the film occurs when the hired samurai discover the bodies of other samurais in the village, murdered and robbed by the villagers in order to get by. The alliance between the villagers and the hired samurai is at all times fragile and tenuous, under normal circumstances they would not trust each other but they are forced to trust each with their lives in the face of a common enemy. The alliance is necessary though if both groups want to survive, as in times of hardship different people often have to rely on each other; a reflection of the humanist beliefs that run throughout Kurosawa’s body of work.

The Black Swan review from the New Orleans Film Festival

I could review The Black Swan with one word:  amazing.  The film is dark and shifting, conflating dreams and obsessions into a terrifying reality where nothing is certain.  Natalie Portman stars as Nina, a ballerina dedicated to achieving perfection whose first starring role is threatened by a new member of the troupe, the restless and unrepentant Lily (Mila Kunis).  The only question is—is it Nina’s obsession, or Lily’s, that shapes the terrible path Nina finds herself walking?

127 Hours | movie review from the New Orleans Film Festival

Danny Boyle’s latest movie is based on a true story (chronicled in the memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston), and it would be a disservice to the story and the film for me not to be open about all of it.  So if you are looking to watch this movie as a “What happens?” narrative, this is not the review for you.

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Gareth Edwards’ Monsters Review

Monsters is, as the title suggests, a monster movie.  Sort of.  It’s also an impressive achievement for a first-time director, much less one who had a tiny budget and created all the effects himself on an Intel-powered computer.  The basic premise is set up in about three sentences at the start of the film—that a NASA probe sent for proof of life crashed over Mexico and deposited that alien life there.  It’s quarantined as an “infected” zone, but nothing the military has done in six years has really contained it, and now the creatures are simply a fact of life around the zone….

Never Let Me Go | movie review

Never Let Me Go is adapted from a book that I have not read.  So if you are looking for a book to film comparison, sorry, I can’t give you that—all I can judge is the story as presented in the movie.  And while I walked out of this film overwhelmed by emotion and feeling like it had been a good movie, after a day or so to think about it more rationally I came down on the side of disappointing.  Yes.  This was a disappointing movie; not bad, but not as good as it so obviously could have been.  I don’t know, however, whether it was a flaw in the story of the book or merely how it was presented here.

Sherlock’s Little Mistakes 3: The Great Game

0.  Terms of Engagement

Welcome, Brothers and Sisters, to the third weekly meeting of the Church of The Hermeneutic Christ.  Blessed be the name of Sherlock and peace be upon his prophets Nero Wolfe, Jane Marple and Adrian Monk.

Come, let us pray…

Sherlock’s Little Mistakes 2: The Blind Banker

0. Terms of Engagement



ydoan o

yunnuhstand dem

yguduh ged

yunnuhstan dem doidee

yguduh ged riduh

ydoan o nudn





lidl yelluh bas

tuds weer goin


So wrote E. E. Cummings in 1944. The poem, entitled “ygUDuh”, appeared in Cummings’ collection 1 x 1 and it is taken to be a written imitation of a New Yorker giving his opinion on America’s involvement in the Second World War. The line “Lidl yelluh bas/tuds weer goin/duhSIVILEYEZUM” gives the game away. We are dealing with a drunken slur: Little Yellow Bastards. We’re Going To Civilise ‘em. These kinds of racist sentiments percolate effortlessly through the body politic at times of stress and torment. We are unhappy. We are in pain. It isn’t our fault. It is theirs.

The Art of the Steal – Review

Now this is what a documentary should be!  After my disappointment with Restrepo a couple weeks ago, I was thrilled to realize, after popping in this DVD, that The Art of the Steal was reminding me why I love documentary films in the first place.  It takes an important but relatively obscure conflict, lays out the history and the current state of affairs interspersed with personal opinions from some of the players involved (and makes those who declined to be interviewed look even worse), and it leaves you in suspense about the outcome to the very end…and possibly beyond, as nothing irreversible has been done yet.

Sherlock’s Little Mistakes 1 : A Study in Pink

0. Terms of Engagement

Mystery fiction is a profoundly consolatory genre.  Whether it is set in a Loamshire country house, a snow-bound train or the streets of Victorian London, the mystery novel is all about fashioning order from the chaos and misery of our daily lives.  Grisly accidents and unexpected deaths may appear to be merely the random fluctuations of tragic chance but a skilled detective will always see through the fog of circumstance to the real nexus of cause-and-effect.  In a world where humans are subject to the impersonal vastness of social forces and the unrelenting entropy of the physics, the skilled detective doubles as a revival tent preacher.  By solving crimes and unpicking the mysteries of the world he reminds us that we are not merely subject to the world but agents within it.  It is not blind cruel chance that kills but people.  People whose schemes can be uncovered.  People who can be punished.  By reclaiming human agency from the chaos of the world, the skilled detective saves us from the realisation that life is short, cruel, pointless and unpredictable.

A Glimpse of Winter Falling – Game of Thrones

Since I missed the in-production teaser when it aired during the Countdown to True Blood on Sunday, I had to watch it on HBO’s website.  Which meant that I also read the introduction by the producers (thank goodness there were no obvious spoilers in there, even if they did reference things that haven’t quite happened yet!).  Basically, I agreed wholeheartedly with everything they (and then the actors and writers in the video) were saying about why an adaptation of A Game of Thrones needed to be an HBO production and why it needed to be a series.

Winter’s Bone | movie review

Winter’s Bone is about a rural Missouri teenager whose drug-manufacturing father left her between a rock and a hard place when he put their property up to post his bond and then failed to make his court date.  Ree, the teenage daughter holding together the family for her “sick” (read:  withdrawn and broken) mother and two young siblings has to try and find him—or his body—going to all the places he used to go and all his known associates…all of whom are just as poor and often even more degenerate than he was.  It’s a movie about desperation and consequences, and it creates a mood or melancholy or perhaps simply cold pragmatism that you can’t immediately shake upon leaving its confines.

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jodelle ferland

Jodelle Ferland Interview | Mum on Cabin in the Woods

Joss Whedon is a man of many secrets, and one of them is the precise nature of the threats or coercions he clearly uses to keep the cast of his latest project, The Cabin in the Woods, absolutely mum.  Is it hit squads?  Does he have the real-life model for Serenity’s unnamed Operative on speed-dial?  It has to be something about that dire, because no one on the Whedon-written, Drew Goddard-directed movie is talking.

I recently caught up with the young, talented, and fabulously self-possessed Jodelle Ferland on set in New Orleans.  I was there to talk about two of her other projects, but while there I couldn’t resist asking about The Cabin in the Woods, in which she plays a character named Patience Buckner, according to the movie’s IMDB page.  The most revealing thing I could get out of her was that she thinks “everyone will love it” when they finally see the movie.  And, no, Mr. Whedon, you don’t need to hit that #2 on your phone–girl stonewalled me like a divorce attorney.

Inception | movie review

Inception is probably the first movie of 2010 that movie lovers have been legitimately anticipating—that is, looking forward to since that very first preview back in February.  Certainly I was.  Sometimes that anticipation is a bad thing, as when your hopes are dashed against a mediocre production; sometimes it makes a movie even better, when it meets or exceeds all of your expectations.  Inception isn’t quite the latter but certainly isn’t anything else.  Mostly, I think, what few preconceptions I had about the plot or scenario the movie would cover turned out to be wrong, so I can’t call it what I expected, but the movie as it exists blew me away.

Predators | movie review

Don’t believe all of the inexplicably great reviews for Predators; it is a seriously stupid movie.  Billed as a return to the greatness of the original Predator movie, this sequel comes off as a second-rate Avatar, where once entitled actors are brought low, and give bizarre and entertaining performances.  Adrien Brody is no Schwarzenegger; hell, he isn’t Glover, either.  He does his level best to sell his new badass persona, but every time he says something menacing, you can’t help but crack up.  The rest of the crew are an assortment of no-name actors, with the exception of Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, and a reeling Topher Grace.

Twilight: Eclipse | movie review

I thought Eclipse was the best of the three movies so far, though not by as large a margin over New Moon as New Moon was over Twilight.  New director David Slade retained the same look established by the first installment and continued, for better or worse (in my opinion worse) by the second.  The only points of non-continuity were Victoria being played by Bryce Dallas Howard instead of Rachel LeFevre, and it showed—not that BDH did a bad job, just that she’s both obviously not the same actress and she just looked too…sweet—and Jasper’s wig service going from delightfully wild fro-let to coarse 19th-century bowl chop.  All the wigs and dye jobs were as ridiculous as the Cullen’s make-up, and while the wolves looked better than they did last time, they’re still obviously CG renderings.

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jodelle ferland

Twilight with Jodelle Ferland | Interview

Jodelle Ferland is the young actress playing Bree Tanner in Twilight: Eclipse.  She’s got a resume a mile long already, even though she’s not even sixteen, and it includes working with heavyweights like Terry Gilliam and Jeff Bridges and on movies like Silent Hill and The Messengers , which pretty much everyone who likes horror movies saw when they came out.

Kick-Ass | movie review

Kick-Ass lives up to its name.  Best movie I’ve seen at the theater in months.  I had pretty high hopes going in–all the bad reviews I saw were focused on how violent it was, which just made me more excited–and sometimes that kind of anticipation makes the actual movie experience a let-down.  Not so in this case.  I had a smile on my face throughout the movie, which, while in some ways exactly what I was expecting, also managed to surprise me with its take on the superhero phenomenon.

Cassandra Sawtell on Harper’s Island and Gilliam| Interview

Actress Cassandra Sawtell, whom we hear at the empire know from Harper’s Island, has been nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) at the 2010 Young Artist Awards for her work on the show. Cassandra joins fellow nominees Valentina Barron, Ryan Newman, Miley Cyrus, and Miranda Cosgrove in the category.   The 31st Annual Young Artist Awards  will take place on Sunday, April 11, 2010 at The Beverly Garland in Studio City, CA.

Repo Men | Movie Review

Repo Men is a movie I wish someone could repo from my memory banks.  It was the biggest waste of two hours of my life since Avatar (and possibly longer, since it’s not a film that has the cultural valence of James Cameron’s mega-hit), and I damn near walked out on it.  Ultimately I’m glad I didn’t, because the ending presented a twist that moved the film a couple steps closer to not quite terrible…but not anywhere near enough.  It was still terrible.

So what was so wrong with it?

Robert Pattinson’s Remember Me | movie review

Um. Wow. I am really not sure how to approach this one. First of all, this movie was not what I expected.  It looked from the previews like a love story, possibly happy and possibly bittersweet, but a fairly straightforward story about a boy who starts seeing the daughter of a policeman he had a negative encounter with.  Okay, well, I guess that is what the movie’s about.  But it’s also full of the boy’s family drama, so much so that the subplot almost overwhelms the main story, and the existential tagline about “live in the moments” is pretty much nonexistent from the text of the film.

The Book of Eli – review

The Book of Eli is really great:  it’s got the apocalypse, it’s got all kinds of murder and death with blood and rolling heads, and it’s got Denzel Washington saying profound things and threats from the Bible.  Denzel is the titular Eli, roaming the wasted deserts of America with the last copy of the Bible in his backpack and packing a razor-sharp machete, along with a sawed off shotgun and a rackety old iPod (when Denzel listens to that old song on his headphones, what a great montage!).  The movie really delivers a lot stronger than any of the other recent movies about the world ending, and keeps things moving fast for its considerable running time.

Adam Bertocci Interview

Sunday morning I brought the internet gem that is Two Gentlemen of Lebowski to your attention.  Now I’ve got the man of the hour himself here to explain what possibly prompted him to combine Shakespeare and the Dude, why he thinks he’s qualified to do it, and how he went about putting together the greatest mash-up of all time.  Or, at least, of 2010.  So far.

Daybreakers | movie review

Daybreakers, AKA 2010’s first vampire movie, is a pretty solid movie-going experience.  It delivers on its trailers, presenting an eerie future where almost all the humans on earth have been changed into vampires–and in having done so not just not solved but actually worsened all of the problems and injustices in the world.  The blood supply is on the verge of exhaustion, blood prices are skyrocketing beyond the reach of most of the populace, the number of vampires feeding on each other or themselves and becoming mutated monsters is exploding, and a non-toxic substitute has yet to be found.  Chief hematologist for the largest blood supplier, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), only thinks he has problems…until he encounters a group of humans who want him to find a cure.  Not for the blood supply crisis, but for vampirism itself.

James Cameron’s Avatar | movie review

Avatar is a great film.  Here is a movie that will actually surprise you and offer things you have never seen before.  James Cameron has delivered a special effects powerhouse that is actually an extended acid trip in the jungle.  The human tech is underwhelming, so is the heavy-handed theme, but consider these as elements tacked on to a movie about exploring the forest.

The Princess and the Frog – movie review

Brad Pitt called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button “a love letter to New Orleans.”  Well.  If Button was a love letter, then Disney’s The Princess and the Frog was a Homeric poem in the grand lady’s honor, because it caught the culture and flavor of New Orleans and southern Louisiana far better than the 2008 opus did.  I honestly don’t know how this movie will view to people across the United States, whether the region-specific presentation of the story and the setting will diminish its appeal or raise it for being a uniquely American fairy tale.  But for me, as someone who lives down here in the swamp, it was a fantastic movie.

Disney options Lauren Kate’s Fallen novel

Medora was kind enough to point me in the direction of this news item and it was a tough call between BSCkids and this site, but in the end I felt it belonged here.  Disney has optioned the rights to Lauren Kate’s young adult novel Fallen that heavily features angels.  Some believe that vampires and werewolves are taking a back seat to the next trend which will be a slew of angel related books and movies.  Disney looks to believe the same thing with this move.

The Road | movie review

The Road is, unfortunately, a boring movie, and the title might as well be Sittin’ Round the Campfire. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, is one of the very best books of the decade, and this adaptation falls flat for about half the running time. There are good actors, moments, and visuals, but the whole isn’t more the sum of its parts. Viggo Mortensen puts in his patented perfect performance, and he carries the movie as far as his considerable talent can, but he is only one man, and can’t make up for the shortcomings of the director and writers.

Disney Channel New Year’s Eve programming – I vote Selena Gomez

Disney Channel viewers will be able to vote for the New Year’s Eve programming lineup at beginning Friday.  After all the voting is done, the programs that have won will air on December 31st from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.  This will all be done in a special block of programs titled “New Year’s Star Showdown.”  It will not just be your favorite shows, as Disney has a bit more in store for the viewers.

Twilight New Moon | movie review

Going to a midnight movie is an experience that has to be included in the review of the film.  First, who was there?  Mostly female–about 1 in 10 people were male–and not as many shrieking junior high girls as I expected.  The audience was mostly high school/early college kids and adult women.  Didn’t see any grandmothers, but there were at least a couple bona fide cougars there.  Rrroooow.  And who were they picking up?  Was it the two dudes running around in actual Twilight T-shirts?  Was it the unintentional (or was it?) Emmett with his hat sideways?  No!  It was Ben, from the local college, who asked himself “how can I make this ridiculous female obsession work for me?” and came up with the idea to mousse up his hair like Edward, slap on the oversize movie-star glasses Edward wears in the first movie, and saunter around with the Cullen copyrighted “I’ve been bringing sexy back since 1917 and I’ve still got it” strut.  Girls were asking him for pictures right and left…I overheard some girl say he’d told her she was number 193 to ask for a picture so far that night–and this was in line for my drink and popcorn before the movie!  That guy gets the Young Entreprenuer of the Week award. I know he wasn’t selling anything, exactly, but he made himself a hot commodity, and got all the Facebook friend requests he could hope for.  Also he won the hearts of at least a few underage girls, because there was a pair sitting near us who kept giggling about him.

Elena’s World – Zombieland review

The best romantic comedy of the year!

I make that claim with only about 5% facetiousness. Zombieland, despite its name and premise (a pair of unlikely allies making their way through an America overrun with zombies) is much closer to a romantic comedy formula than a zombie movie formula.

Elena’s World – My Thoughts on Shane Acker’s 9

Shane Acker’s 9 is a movie that has been much anticipated around BSCReview.  We pretty thoroughly covered the media blitz for this movie, all of which I found intriguing and enticing:  the date tie-in, “9/9/9:  9.”  The taglines—“When our world ended, their world began,” and, “This isn’t your little brother’s animated movie.”  The previews that showed crumbling relics of human civilization awash in a post-nuclear-holocaust yellow and creepy machines that have taken the place of natural predators.  The teasers that just flashed the numbers and characters 1-9 with epic music scoring the montage.

Glenn Martin DDS with Kevin Nealon on Nick at Nite

On Monday night Nickelodeon’s network new family plan will begin and Glenn Martin DDS will be leading the way as the only original series ordered for the new Nick at Nite schedule.  This will be an animated series with Kevin Nealon doing the voiceover for the lead character, which we can assume will be Glenn Martin.  Catherine O’Hara and Judy Greer will also be providing their talents in the form of voiceovers for some of the other characters.  The basic story is that Nealon’s character takes his family on a cross country adventure to all different places here in the US.  Sounds a bit like an animated Vacation with Nealon traded out for Chase, we can only hope it might be as funny.

District 9 | Eli’s Plot Twist

District 9 is a revival of the good old days of R rated 80s and early 90s sci-fi action films.  This is a great movie, showing true originality, and delivering on its entertainment mandate.  District 9 avoids the pitfalls that rob many sci-fi flicks of their potential, including the poisonous PG-13 rating, the ubiquitous bad computer graphics, and the standard crappy actors.  District 9 says “NO” to all of these mandates of modern movies, and gives people what they really want; technology, gore, and action.  Neill Blomkamp is a Paul Verhoeven for our times, a man with his finger on the pulse of the audience.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra | Eli’s Plot Twist

Don’t watch G.I. Joe, it’s about as appealing as an abortion.  This isn’t realistic/serious G.I. Joe, and it isn’t pure cartoon fun G.I. Joe.  No, this is a third variety; this is pure, unadulterated shit.  It’s hard to imagine how, with such a wealth of source material to cull from, a person could create something so profoundly awful.  There is a lot of blame to go around, but I’ll split it up into the triad of idiocy, in order of terrible influence; Channing Tatum as Duke, Marlon Wayans as Ripcord, and Stephen Sommers, a director by name only.  These forces, gangrenous by themselves, join to create a Chimera of vomit inducing cinema the world has never known.

Fast and Furious | DVD Review

“Dom, your engine is throbbing!”  Fast and Furious is out on DVD, a trip back in time, to a simpler time, a time when Limp Bizkit was popular, and import racing was fresh and exciting and new!  The Fast and the Furious started an epic love story, between two men who were too fast to care.  Make no mistake, their eight years apart were so very lonely, but now they are finally back together, at long last.  This fabled romance is of course between Dominic ‘Dom(inant)’ Torreto, industrious street racer and organized crime boss, and erstwhile cop Brian ‘Spilner’ O’Connor, who is now on the FBI side of his regular polar swings between criminality and the law.

Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender – Cast Images

To be completely honest, I am aware of the The Last Airbender in general because of this film, and I am aware of this film because it’s directed by M. Night Shyamalan.  Now we have some mugshots of some of players.

I’m hoping this scores big for M. Night Shyamalan because I think the guy is talented, and I don’t want to see the guy become ghost due to his last couple of films.

Public Enemies | Eli’s Plot Twist

Michael Mann is the de facto king of cops and robbers city street shootouts. Public Enemies makes a nice shift to period piece old timey stuff with no loss in crisp edge. Few people can argue that Miami Vice was a misfire of epic proportion. The only bad thing left over from Vice is the use of HD cameras. It seems like a Depression era story would be a great chance to use film with a nice heavy grain. HD cinematography looks a lot like a camcorder in intense lighting, although black fidelity is through the roof. I have never seen film qualities quite like this, but it proves a double edged sword. Clarity and detail are incredible, but motion can be choppy sometimes, like a cheap LCD TV display. Still, the biggest problem is the absence of good ol’ film grain. Hi tech picture quality is an anachronism next to a 1930s setting.

EVirtuality | TV (FOX) review

Virtuality is a new original program that Fox premiered last night.  It was unclear to me whether it was a TV movie or the pilot for a new series that may or may not actually advance into further episodes.  The brief description I saw that made me tune it was that it is about a group of astronauts in space whose virtual reality program is either hacked or malfunctions or becomes sentient and unstable in its clumsy birth into a confusing world, because one way or another they start getting terrorized by the program.

Sure sounded cool.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen | Eli’s Plot Twist

Michael Bay is the mad hatter. Truly bizarre visions and creatures rule the screen for nearly two and a half hours. Also on display; epic scope, true summer blockbuster scale; Transformers 2 has everything, and delivers everything in a steady and rapid flash. Transformers’ commitment to portraying the U.S. Military as unerring heroes allows the movie to get exclusive Department of Defense access to state-of-the-art equipment. Similarly, large bribes to the Egyptian government give unprecedented access to the Pyramids as a principal set. This is the summer movie to hate, with a majority of reviews eviscerating the film. However, I feel a viewer should focus on what the film (uniquely) is, instead of what it isn’t.

Pixar’s ‘Up’ | Movie Review

Pixar consistently delivers, to the point that any review of Up is more a measure of greatness, rather than a critique. Up matches the great craftsmanship and thoughtfulness Pixar is known for, upping the ante with seamless 3D integration and well framed daydreams. There is a heavier tone and theme this time around, and kids may wonder why their parents are crying, not understanding the gravity of time and lost paths. Emotional response is where the film really achieves magic, provoking a wistful longing for youth and dashed hopes.

Star Trek (2009) | Movie Review

J.J. Abrams takes his place among the likes of James Cameron and Steven Spielberg to deliver the first true blockbuster of the summer. Top shelf special effects, epic space battles, and electric momentum make this a sci-fi classic in its own right, even outside the Star Trek canon. Abrams has real respect for Star Trek and classic science fiction, and puts real care and craftsmanship into every minute of celluloid. After last week’s ho-hum Wolverine release, it is nice to see summer popcorn fare that actually tries to entertain, instead of relying on the guaranty of fan viewership.

‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ | Movie Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an epic catastrophe on every level, a confluence of poor ideas, poorer execution, and blinding stupidity. When faced with a celluloid abomination of this magnitude, a person must look back in time to the benchmark of horrible comic book film, Batman Forever, to find proper comparison. This movie is worse, attempting a realistic tone, grappling with schizophrenic thematic concerns, and dishing out horribly sub-par special effects. This movie is so bad that it will require multiple critical treatises for years to come to plumb its awful depths.

Zombie Stripper | a Shamron Moore Interview

shamron moore

I am very happy to introduce Shamron Moore who has a lead part in the new film Zombie Strippers with Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson.  The synopsis of the movie from the official site is as follows:

When a secret government agency lets out a deadly chemo virus causing the reanimation of the dead, the first place to get hit is Rhino’s, a hot underground strip club.  As one of the strippers gets the virus, she turns into a supernatural, flesh-eating zombie stripper, making her the hit of the club.  Do the rest of the girls fight the temptation to be like the star stripper, even if there is no turning back?

Now on to Shamron Moore!