Archive | May, 2010

DVD Release Tuesday 6/01/10

31 May

So all of you hard-core movie fans out there know what every Tuesday is, right?  It is new DVD release day.  I look forward to this day every week and I always have my Netflix set up ahead of time to make sure I get the newest flicks that are out there.  Here’s a short list of what is coming out today:

Movies:
Alice in Wonderland – Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway
The Wolfman – Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins

 

Television:
The Cleaner – The Complete Series
Drop Dead Diva – Season 1
Life – Complete Series
Mister Ed – Season 3
Rescue Me – Season 5
Burn Notice – Season 3
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‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ Trailer

31 May

This latest trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World looks incredible.  The cast is led by the always awesome Michael Cera and also stars Anna Kendrick, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Chris Evans.

Heap of Hollywood 5/31/10: TV and Film Premiere Dates

31 May

Heap of Hollywood is your chance to read about some of the latest news and casting updates around H-town!

News:
*Joel McHale and Sofia Vergara will announce the Primetime Emmy nominations on July 8, 2010.
*Sean Hayes will host the Tony Awards on June 13, 2010.
*The Daytime Emmy Awards will honor Dick Clark during this year’s telecast.
*The new season of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List will premiere on June 15, 2010.
*CBS’ annual summer reality show, Big Brother, will premiere on July 8, 2010.
*SoapNet will go off the air in January 2012 and will be replaced with Disney Junior.
*Warner Bros. released dates for some of 2011’s most anticipated films:
Red Riding Hood (4-22-2011)
The Hangover 2 (5-26-2011)
Green Lantern (6-17-2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (7-15-2011)
Happy Feet 2 (11-19-2011)
New Year’s Eve (12-9-2011)
Sherlock Holmes 2 (12-16-2011)

 

Additional information: THR, EW

‘The Messenger’ Review

30 May

The Messenger

Starring: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson

Director: Oren Moverman

This film is a somewhat realistic and horrifying depiction of what life must be like for families whose loved ones are killed while serving on active duty.  Like many war-themed movies that have come before, The Messenger may be difficult to watch if you have family or friends serving our country.

Focused on the Casualty Notification division of the army, this film tells the story of the people responsible for relaying the news to the next of kin that their loved one has died in battle or on assignment.  These “messengers” have a specific duty to the Army as well as to the family of the deceased soldiers.  Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) is assigned to the notification role after being injured while overseas.  He learns his new duties by working closely with Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson).  The two men have had very different experiences during their Army careers and must learn from one another as they tackle one of the most difficult jobs a soldier or officer can have.

Tony gives Will a long list of rules for successfully tackling this job.  Some of the guidelines include not having any physical contact with the next of kin, only speaking directly to the next of kin and making sure not to hover around a house prior to making contact.  Throughout his new assignment, Will has a difficult time obeying the rules because he feels that being the bearer of such devastating news should include some human compassion.   As he tries to follow the rules, he crosses a line when he finds himself comforting the widow of one of the deceased soldiers.

This film is very sad and wonderful at the same time.  War time movies don’t seem to be very successful because they tackle a subject that is still so fresh in the minds of many Americans.  This film, while depressing in nature, tells a new side to members of the US Army.  There is an added feature on the DVD extras that is a short documentary about some of the families who have experienced a Casualty Notification Officer and the process the movie details.  The real life stories are more heartbreaking than the film could ever be, but it also shows that much of what is in the movie is a close replication of what actually happens when a soldier dies.

Foster and Harrelson were exquisite in these roles and I admired every emotion they put out there.  Harrelson, who was a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for this role, gave a strong performance and I was surprised by his moments of weakness as his character.  With each film Harrelson makes, I find it harder to believe that he ever played such a laid back character on Cheers all those years ago.  Foster is brilliant.  As much as I respect Harrelson’s performance, I truly believe that Foster should have gotten the Oscar nomination.  Every single second of his performance is rough and completely believable.  He has this way of being so emotionally available that you almost forget you’re watching an actor.  This film wouldn’t be so gripping without their stellar performances.

While not all aspects are spot-on, this is a movie after all, it allows for a broader audience to see into what many members of America are dealing with on a daily basis.  The DVD extras also make sure to respect the process that this film is all about.  I believe that telling a story like this in a film is important.  Sure, it may not have a mass appeal that a summer blockbuster would, but it tells the tale of the human spirit.

Weekend Box Office Results 5/30/10

30 May

The fab 4 from Sex and the City 2 couldn’t grab the top spot this weekend and Prince of Persia is also not performing as well as hoped.  Shrek managed to stay in the first position for a second weekend, even with a 38% drop in ticket sales from last week.  The two new entries for the weekend may end up changing positions depending on any big swings in expectations for the remainder of Memorial Day weekend.

Box Office Mojo’s Top 10 Box Office Estimates for 5/28-5/30:

1. Shrek Forever After – $43.3 million
2. Sex and the City 2 – $32.1 million ($46.3 includes Thursday showings)
3. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – $30.1 million
4. Iron Man 2 – $16 million
5. Robin Hood – $10.3 million
6. Letters to Juliet – $5.9 million
7. Just Wright – $2.2 million
8. Date Night – $1.7 million
9. MacGruber – $1.4 million
10. How to Train Your Dragon – $1 million

‘Sex and the City 2’ Review

30 May

Sex and the City 2

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Catrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Director: Michael Patrick King

Sometimes it’s just not necessary to make a movie.  Unfortunately, when a movie can bring in a lot of money with little story or effort, it seems like a scam.  Sex and the City 2 capitalized on its previous success, but forgot to tell a worthwhile story as well.

The last time viewers saw the four best friends from NYC, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) had finally married Big (Chris Noth), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) had patched up her marriage, Charlotte (Kristen Davis) had given birth and Samantha (Kim Catrall) had, well…returned to her single roots.  The first movie picked up right where fans of the HBO series had hoped they would. 

The second film deals with Carrie’s frustration with being a boring married couple.  After Samantha is given a free vacation in order to publicize a middle eastern resort, the girls pack up and leave for Abu Dhabi.  Samantha is going through menopause and is trying everything she can think of to postpone the inevitable.  Charlotte is struggling as a mother of two young children and is embarrassed to talk about it with her friends.  Miranda is at a career crossroads as she quits her job in search of a place where she will both feel fulfilled and appreciated.

While on vacation in the desert, Carrie runs into ex-fiance Aiden.  Surprised by the run-in, Carrie agrees to go to dinner with him and must toe the line if she wants to get back to Mr. Big in NYC.  Samantha is having a hard time with her lack of sexual desires and is worried that she’ll never be the same again.  Charlotte and Miranda bond over cocktails and they come to terms with what they really want from life.

I was so disappointed with this film.  I was a huge fan of the series and really enjoyed the first film, but this sequel just missed the mark.  Taking the girls out of NYC to vacation in the middle east for 80% of this movie was not good planning.  All four of the main actresses have said time and time again that NYC is the fifth character.  So basically, director Michael Patrick King decided to lose the fifth character in exchange for a boring location shoot.

The set up for this film was all wrong in my opinion.  A wedding opens the film and lasts entirely too long and then in the blink of an eye, the girls are half way around the world.  I didn’t find much humor in this film either.  Of course there are a couple good lines scattered throughout, but overall the funny has been left back in NYC.

I did enjoy that the majority of the film was more about the four girls this time, but I think that more storyline could have been created if they weren’t in the middle of the desert.  I loved the return of John Corbett as Aiden, but after seeing his scenes, I felt sort of jipped.  It was definitely a ploy to forward the plot, but he was such a likable character and fan favorite, that I wish he would have been used in a better capacity.

I missed seeing more of Steve (David Eigenberg), Harry (Evan Handler) and Smith (Jason Lewis).  Big definitely had the biggest male role, but again, it was just boring.  Much has been made out of the fact that the ladies are aging, which trust me – they are, so it would make sense to tackle that while in the place they came of age in.  There is so much entertaining material that could be brought out of that.

Sadly, I can’t recommend this film.  This is just another example of making a movie to make a movie.  Sure, making money is what Hollywood is all about, but when all the pieces are there to have an entertaining movie and it doesn’t materialize, it’s a major let down.

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper

29 May

America has lost another one of its Hollywood legends today.  Following a battle with prostate cancer, actor Dennis Hopper has died. 

The 74-year old actor had been a presence in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years.  He is best known for his work writing and directing the 1969 film, Easy Rider.  Hopper also made a name for himself with a new generation of fans when he starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the 1994 film, Speed.

Most recently, Hopper transitioned to the television world when he took on a starring role in Starz’s adaptation of the Oscar award-winning film, Crash.  In addition, he recently had the pleasure of having his name added to the long list of entertainers who have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hopper is survived by his estranged wife and four children.