July 11, 2015

Tag Archives: film

Jerry Weintraub – Goodbye Good Friend

“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people… it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man say no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say, “Huh?” Persistence-it’s a cliché, but it happens to work.
The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections. Be dogged! Keep hitting that door until you bust it down!
I have accomplished almost nothing on the first or second or even third try – the breakthrough usually comes late, when everyone else has left the field.” -JERRY WEINTRAUB.
So, Movie producer Jerry Weintraub, known for the films “Nashville,” “The Karate Kid” and the remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” in 2001 passed away. We are going to miss him.
Weintraub also produced the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra” starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas which was nominated for an impressive 15 Emmy Awards. His career includes promoting Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin and managing such talents as Neil Diamond, John Denver, The Carpenters and The Moody Blues, among others. His remarkable list of film hits include Nashville, Diner, The Karate Kid and the Ocean’s Eleven series.

Channing Tatum returns to the stripper poles – MAGIC MIKE XXL

As he returns to the world of male striptease on-screen in the deliciously named Magic Mike XXL, Channing Tatum tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Rich Cohen not to count out an off screen return to the stripper pole, where his career began. ‘Well, we’re going to start a [Magic Mike] show in Vegas, and I’ll never say never,’ he says. In fact, it may be just a thin strip of fabric that stands in the way: ‘I wouldn’t mind going out there and doing it one more time. Or maybe twice. But, you know, every time I’ve put on a thong and am getting ready to walk onstage again, I’m like, ‘Why do I want to do this? ‘It’s very uncomfortable to be in a thong in front of a thousand people.’
In fact, this quandary was nearly a plot point in Magic Mike XXL: to thong or not to thong? ‘But my wife was like, ‘You cannot have a movie without these guys getting in thongs,’ Tatum says.
Cohen accompanies Tatum on a surreal hike through L.A.’s abandoned Griffith Park Zoo and crowns him ‘the biggest male star since Pitt or Clooney.’ Tatum is riding high off his performance in last year’s Foxcatcher as he prepares to star in films from Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. But Tatum bristles when Cohen suggests he is among the last of the great movie idols, presenting a theory on the nature of modern movie stardom: ?The Brad Pitts, the Leos, the Downeys: Why aren’t there new versions of those guys? I think people just know too much about actors, about everything. Behind the scenes. It’s almost like the world is so with you all the time, people on the phones and blah blah blah, that to go into a movie theater for three hours and lose that time is harder and harder. People watch TV at home and they?re still on their phone, wired. They?re even wired to the actors. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You feel connected. So that [actor] doesn’t feel as mythic anymore. I used to go see movies to watch people because I didn?t know anything about them. The only time I got access was in a movie. I wanted to go see the movie because I hadn’t seen my guy in a while.
Later, while absentmindedly sketching a clown on a picnic table with a crayon, Tatum divulges that he and […]

“MINIONS” – World Premiere in Los Angeles

“MINIONS” – World Premiere, Shrine AUditorium, Los Angeles, CA – Saturday, June 27, 2015
The story of Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters—from T. rex to Napoleon—the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression.
But one Minion named KEVIN has a plan, and he—alongside teenage rebel STUART and lovable little BOB—ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow.

The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner SANDRA BULLOCK of The Blind Side, The Heat), the world’s first-ever female super-villain. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

Joining Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Scarlet and the rest of the Minions team is a cast of characters led by JON HAMM (TV’s Mad Men, Bridesmaids) as Herb Overkill, Scarlet’s mod-scientist husband; MICHAEL KEATON (Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Toy Story 3) as Walter Nelson, patriarch of his felonious troupe; five-time Golden Globe Award nominee ALLISON JANNEY (TV’s The West Wing, Finding Nemo) as Madge, Walter’s domestic villainess and purveyor of a number of crimes in the family name; STEVE COOGAN (Despicable Me 2, Philomena) as both Professor Flux, inventor of the world’s first time machine, and the doddering Tower Guard, who is singlehandedly responsible for the protection of the Queen’s priceless jewels; JENNIFER SAUNDERS (TV’s Absolutely Fabulous, Shrek 2) as the surprisingly spry and ribald Queen Elizabeth II; and Academy Award® winner GEOFFREY RUSH (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean series) as the narrator who takes us along this fascinating and brilliant journey.
Featuring a soundtrack of hit music from the ’60s that still permeates our culture today, Minions is produced by Illumination founder and CEO CHRIS MELEDANDRI (Despicable Me series, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Hop, Ice Age series), who, alongside JANET HEALY (Despicable Me series, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax), has produced all of the studio’s films since its inception. The film is directed by PIERRE COFFIN (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2) and KYLE BALDA (Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax).
BRIAN LYNCH (Hop, […]

R.I.P. James Horner: A top tier contributor to cinematic music

It was with great sadness that we learned yesterday of the death of composer James Horner at just 61 years old. Horner died in a plane crash, piloting a small aircraft that went down a day ago in California. The composer is a multiple Oscar winner, taking home Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Titanic, marking just one of his many collaborations with filmmaker James Cameron. All told, Horner was nominated by the Academy ten times, with various other nominations and wins to his credit. He was a well respected musician and giant in the industry, so he will certainly be missed in a big way.
Horner was cited by the Academy for his work on not just Titanic, but also Aliens, An American Tail, Apollo 13, Avatar, A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart, Field of Dreams, as well as House of Sand and Fog. All of the nods came in Best Original Score, except for ones in Best Original Song for An American Tail (the song Somewhere Out There) and with one of his wins for Titanic (for his work making My Heart Will Go On happen). Those Original Score and Original Song noms just scratch the surface of Horner’s talents, but it gives you an idea just how beloved he was in Hollywood. This is truly a loss, and that’s putting it mildly.
Here’s how I’d quickly rank his ten best scores to date, though honestly everything he did was pretty top notch. You can’t go wrong with anything of his, but these scores from Horner really stand out from the rest, at least for me. No list is wrong, but off the top of my head, this is what mine would look like:
10. Windtalkers
9. A Beautiful Mind
8. Braveheart
7. Avatar
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
5. Titanic
4. Deep Impact
3. Apollo 13
2. Field of Dreams
1. Aliens
Honorable Mentions: The Amazing Spider-Man, Courage Under Fire, and Legends of the Fall
That list above makes for quite a career, right? Just think, that top ten list doesn’t even include An American Tail, Courage Under Fire, Glory, House of Sand and Fog, Jumanji, The Land Before Time, Legends of the Fall, The Rocketeer, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, or Troy. You could easily go 25 deep on his catalogue and only be talking about scores that you’ll recognize as some of the industry’s best. My honorable mentions merely scratch the […]

He Named Me Malala Yousafzai

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”– Malala Yousafzai
Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that National Geographic Channel has joined forces with Fox Searchlight Pictures for the global theatrical release of Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim’s upcoming feature documentary HE NAMED ME MALALA, an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
With this partnership, National Geographic Channel and National Geographic Society will join the global launch campaign to support the theatrical release this October. Additionally, in 2016 the film will air on the National Geographic Channels in 171 countries and 45 languages.
National Geographic will support this important film from theatrical release through the broadcast television premiere with all of the resources of the National Geographic Channels as well as through the National Geographic Society in National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Digital Media, National Geographic Education Programs, National Geographic Kids, and more.

“This is a film that you leave not only feeling incredibly inspired, but truly wanting to make a difference. As leaders in bringing stories of global importance to the largest audience possible, it is more than just an honor to be part of this project, I feel it is our duty,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Channels. “That is why we are joining this project as true partners, from the global theatrical release through our eventual television broadcast, and dedicating our collective resources to bring Malala’s important journey and advocacy for girls’ education to millions of people worldwide.”

“We are excited to be partnering with the National Geographic Channels to help bring Davis’ passion and commitment in the telling of Malala’s moving story to audiences worldwide across their extensive media platforms. Davis’ masterful eye captures this inspiring young individual and we are proud to champion her efforts to bring awareness to the critical global issue of the education of girls,” said Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula.
The documentary offers a look into Malala’s life both before and following the attack. Fifteen at the time of the incident, she was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education. The shooting sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. Malala miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as […]

Al Pacino’s Top Ten performances to date

More or less ever since winning an Oscar for Best Actor in Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino has seen less than his fair share of top notch roles. Luckily though, that drought ends this week with David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, which features Pacino doing easily his best work in a long time. As such, I wanted to rank his best work to date, covering both his newest film as well as some of his most exciting early roles. Obviously, someone like Pacino has more than ten great performances under his belt, but these are what make up my personal list. I hope you enjoy!

Here now are what I consider to be Pacino’s ten best works to date:
10. Glengarry Glen Ross – He doesn’t have the most iconic role of the lot, but he certainly makes the most of his screen time. Everyone here is uniformly great, so it’s hard for anyone in the cast not to have this film on a list of their best performances. Pacino is no exception, obviously. It may not be his flashiest part, but you admire his work all the same.
9. Scent of a Woman – His Oscar winning role is one that sometimes is not given its due, but I find it to be more than a solid performance. Sure, it’s loud, but that’s kind of the point, I think. This is a brash character and Pacino never once is frightened of potential caricature. Some bad habits developed here, but he’s still very good in the role. It’s hardly a crime that he won for this one.
8. Manglehorn – On Friday you can see Pacino be quietly heartbreaking in David Gordon Green’s latest experimentation. Getting to see the master dial it back in ways he hasn’t in just about decades is truly something to behold. He hinted a bit at this with The Humbling recently, but this performance really reminds you that he’s one of the greatest at the craft of acting who’ve ever lived.
7. …And Justice for All – Pacino is perhaps best known for uttering the now iconic line of “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” in this film, but it’s an overall delight to watch Al in a court room. He doesn’t chew the scenery, but instead makes the legal system theatrical in an incredibly compelling way. A very underrated title.
6. […]

‘Jurassic World’ has the biggest opening of all time at the box office

Over the weekend dinosaurs ruled the planet once again. Yes, Jurassic World shattered every single one of the box office predictions, actually becoming the Opening Weekend all time champion, dethroning The Avengers. It now has the record for not just Domestic, but International and Worldwide as well, making this a smash hit that very few saw coming. Perhaps we should have though, considering how both Jurassic Park as well as The Lost World: Jurassic Park set Opening Weekend records at the time. Sure, Jurassic Park III didn’t do that kind of business, but we ignored some clues with Jurassic World, making this possibly a much bigger surprise than it actually is.
Numbers wise here in the states, Jurassic World made an estimated $208.8 million, good enough to beat The Avengers’ $207.4 from merely three years ago. Initially, predictions has Jurassic World coming up just short with $204.6, but obviously that turned out to be on the lower end of the spectrum. It’s only the second film to open to more than $200 million, which is a staggering number however you slice it. The fact that it managed to eek out Marvel’s big juggernaut is probably just icing on the cake for the folks at Universal today. If nothing else, I bet filmmaker Colin Trevorrow and his partner Derek Connelly now have their pick of what they’d like to make next. Who would deny them at this point? Also, as if he wasn’t on the A-list already, Chris Pratt is now one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, it’s just that simple.
For some perspective on this record being broken, here’s what the top ten Opening Weekends of all time look like now, domestically:
1. Jurassic World – $208.8
2. The Avengers – $207.4
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $191.2
4. Iron Man 3 – $174.1
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $169.1
6. The Dark Knight Rises – $160.8
7. The Dark Knight – $158.4
8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $158
9. The Hunger Games – $152.5
10. Spider-Man 3 – $151.1
The opening that Jurassic World had, about or slightly more than double what was initially expected, pushed the recently released Furious 7 out of the top ten, showing that, combined with Avengers: Age of Ultron rounding out the top three, this year the box office certainly knows how to catch fire. The other interesting thing to look at on this list is how […]

Ranking the films in the “Jurassic Park” franchise

Tomorrow, audiences across the globe are going to be treated to the latest “Jurassic” film when Jurassic World hits theaters. No longer under embargo, I’m allowed to say that it’s pretty enjoyable, if really rather ridiculous. The movie isn’t the best of the franchise, but it’s nowhere near the worst either, so it makes for a perfect opportunity to rank the films in the series to date. I’ll also include a few extra thoughts below on Jurassic World (basically a mini review), since I had to keep it vague earlier this week, but I’ll be talking about all four films in the franchise, from Jurassic Park to third sequel/reboot Jurassic World. I hope you all enjoy!
As promised, first an initial take on Jurassic World, just to start painting a picture for everyone. Again…it’s ridiculous. In short, it’s like eating a bowl of ice cream for breakfast. What do I mean by that? It’s got no nutritional value and it’s not something you want to think much about later in the day, but in the moment it’s delicious. Essentially, it’s just another popcorn film, but an enjoyable one, so there’s that. Chris Pratt is solid, Bryce Dallas Howard has a few nice moments, and Jake Johnson is quality comic relief, but the dinosaurs are the main event. Co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow wisely apes Steven Spielberg in holding back on the mayhem, but he does seek to replicate the spectacle, this time with a functioning park. The results don’t always work, including the imposing Indominus Rex being a bit ridiculous, but for popcorn entertainment, this certainly does the trick. You could definitely do a lot worse this weekend…
Without further delay, here now is how I would rank the films in this franchise:
1. Jurassic Park – An all time great summer blockbuster, Spielberg made something instantly iconic here. A liberal adaptation of the Michael Crichton bestseller, this thrill ride upped the game not just for special effects work, but also effects driven storytelling. It holds up brilliantly still today, making it not just the clear best installment of this franchise, but one of the best action adventure tales of all time. An instant classic then, it remains one to this day. As such, it’s far and a way the tops of this series. The first is still very much the best in this particular case.
2. Jurassic World – As mentioned above, this isn’t […]

ZOOTOPIA – New Trailer

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy.

Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016.
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6 WAYS TO DIE – starring VINNIE JONES & VIVICA A. FOX / out JULY 31ST

Sonny “Sundown” Garcia is the top cocaine distributor in the United States, which has made him a very rich and powerful man. It has also made him plenty of enemies.
John Doe is just such a man. A nameless man of mystery, John lives to see Sundown not just dead, but to suffer six meaningful losses before his death—his fortune, his freedom, his love, his reputation, his most valuable possession and, finally, his life. John hires six hit-men, each one assigned to inflict one of the six meaningful losses upon Sundown.
Starring: Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand, Swordfish), Dominique Swain (Face/Off, Lolita), Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill, Independence Day), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down) & Bai Ling (The Crow, Anna and the King)

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