Recent Entries in Film

  Godzilla attacks!

How could we misunderstand a 50-metre monster with radioactive breath? How could we fail to really see Godzilla?

The ready answer is Perry Mason. The most popular movie monster ever (25 sequels) came to life in Japan on Nov. 3, 1954. But when the 98-minute film was released here in 1956, it clocked in at a galloping 80 minutes. Despite the trimming, the new version was padded with a 20-minute Hollywood-made subplot. American reporter Steve Martin becomes embroiled in the story of a lifetime -- a giant sea beast, riled by nuclear testing, has risen to tear apart Tokyo in the manner of an angry child swatting away toys.

Godzilla was instantly a kid's matinee phenomenon and, for decades, a staple of Saturday-morning TV. The first thing we noticed, however, wasn't Godzilla, but Steve Martin, played by pillowy TV lawyer Perry Mason (Raymond Burr). Puffing contentedly on a pipe, he couldn't help but make a mockery of the anguished Japanese players around him.

The Globe and Mail

  Super, Ordinary

Since its initial publication in 1986, myriad filmmakers have attempted in vain to film Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic book Watchmen, in which costumed superheroes have been outlawed and are being summarily exiled and executed by an unknown baddie. At the moment Darren Aronofsky (Pi) is set to direct a screenplay by X-Men scribe David Hayter for release next year, but no one has yet been cast; doubtful it will arrive on time, or at all. But perhaps there is no need for a Watchmen movie at this late date -- not when Pixar, of all places, now offers its own Technicolor take on the bleak superhero tale: The Incredibles, the darkest feel-good fable thus far spun by the makers of toy stories and fish tales aimed at kiddies who play with dolls and the parents who buy them.

The Incredibles, written and directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, a masterpiece without the box-office to show for it), is a hybrid of several sources: James Bond movies, the angst-ridden pop-camp comics of 1960s Marvel (especially The Fantastic Four, a forthcoming movie now also rendered moot), the Spy Kids movies and Saturday-morning cartoons starring superfriends and other costumed hangers-on. But its main influence would appear to be Watchmen, among the first comics to wonder about the private, and often troubled, lives of heroes once they shed their Spandex skins and resume their secret identities. They rendered the myths almost mortal -- flawed, troubled humans who became heroes not because they were noble or generous but merely because they liked to flex their muscles. (Or they were megalomaniacs. Or just plain nuts.) Still, they talked like us, bled like us and loved like us, and you could almost imagine these heroes as next-door neighbors going off to their day jobs, which often involved saving the world from Armageddon. | Super, Ordinary | 2004-11-03

WAITING for the next epic from US film director Quentin Tarantino?

Better brush up on your Mandarin then.

The maverick movie maker has told a British film magazine in an interview that he will follow his two-film revenge epic Kill Bill with a gongfu action title shot entirely in Mandarin.

Tarantino, a long-time fan of the 1970s 'chopsocky' martial arts film genre, will make two versions of the movie, one with English subtitles and another with a dubbed English soundtrack, he told Total Film magazine.

Tarantino to shoot next film in Mandarin - NOV 3, 2004

A filmmaker who received death threats after releasing a film that criticized the treatment of Muslim women was murdered in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Theo Van Gogh, the great-grandnephew of painter Vincent van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on a city street, reports the AP.

His English-language short film "Submission" aired on Dutch television in August, angering the Muslim community in the Netherlands, including Muslim's women's groups that say the depiction of women being abused is insensitive. MOVIES | MOVIE NEWS | STORY

An interesting look at the "surreal" film, "
Fahrenhype 9/11." Emerson, while critical of Moore's film, pulls no punches for this pseudo-documentary, and reminds us to approach everything with a critical eye.

:: ::
Fahrenhype 9/11 (Emerson review)

Think you know your horror?

The IESB is reporting a "rumor" that "Robert Zemeckis has been turning down new directing offers because he is attached to the Transformers live action movie. No official word if these specualtions [sic] are accurate. Another industry insider is claiming that Warner Brothers has asked Robert Zemeckis and Dreamworks not to make any announcements regarding the Transformers until after the release of The Polar Express."

FilmForce: Zemeckis Directing Transformers?

What is upsetting, however, is how wishy-washy Team America's satire becomes when it deals with American foreign policy. Sure, the film says, America blunders around like a bull in the world's china shop, but at least we're better than those awful terrorists. Perhaps, but "better" doesn't absolve that policy from questioning and scrutiny. Just ask the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The movie mocks jingoism (the team's theme song is "America, F**k Yeah!") and celebrates it at the same time -- Parker and Stone want to portray America as both flawed and blameless, and that just doesn't work, especially given the naked anger they keep showing toward "pussy" Hollywood liberals. (Right-leaning stars like Bruce Willis and Britney Spears aren't mentioned here. Neither, for that matter, is George W. Bush.)

Kukla, Fran, and Oligarchy ... an exclusive

With Team America, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have an amusing and surpisingly conservative take on the world.

The Motion Picture Association of America has given Team America: World Police an R rating for "graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language — all involving puppets." That about sums up the new martial-arts musical marionette movie from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Inspired by the '60s British TV and movie series Thunderbirds, Parker and Stone have fashioned a naughty, handsome, sporadically funny pre-election recruiting poster for U.S. military values at their most myopically heroic. When Puppets Get Political -- Oct. 25, 2004

You may not have noticed it, but the verdict has come in: Hollywood has decided "Gigli" was all Jennifer Lopez's fault. Now the actress/singer/dancer/uberdiva -- the same woman who only two years ago was as in demand in Los Angeles as a reasonably priced botox expert -- is paying for her supposed crime with reduced screen time.

Gere's jumpy 'Dance' turns Lopez into a wallflower - Jim Carrey becomes U.S. citizen - Oct 13, 2004

Canadian-born comic actor Jim Carrey has become a U.S. citizen and said his decision to pursue dual citizenship was based on his love for the country that helped him attain his dream.

"This country has helped define me and make my dreams come true," said Carrey, 42, in a statement.

Nevertheless the star of films like "The Mask," "Bruce Almighty" and the upcoming "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," professed his pride at being born a Canadian.

"I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me," said Carrey.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a message for parents, Hollywood, the Bush administration and anyone else concerned about the controversial content of their newest film, Team America: World Police.

It's not a polite message.

The duo, which brought the foul-mouthed kids of South Park to stardom seven years ago and have made a lucrative living giving the creative equivalent of the middle finger, haven't grown up one iota in America, which opens Friday. The film skewers everything from politically active actors to the military to splashy Jerry Bruckheimer films.

And America does it with 2-foot-tall marionettes. Nasty marionettes. - Parker, Stone pull 'Team' strings, yank a few chains

  Russ Meyers 1922-2004

"I love big-breasted women with wasp waists," he said in a 1999 interview, and his work rarely strayed from that devotion.

The one-time controversial filmmaker and sexploitation king died in his Hollywood home Saturday at the age of 82. The cause of death was complications from pneumonia.

Though the 23 films he made are considered tame today, titles such as "Supervixens" and "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" were considered outrageous exploitation flicks in the '60s. - the Edge: Cut, fade to blue: Hollywood's king of sexploitation leaves the scene

Bidding goodbye to the gold robot after almost 30 years, Anthony Daniels shed a nostalgic tear for the mechanical manservant who changed his life.

"Oh yes, it was with moisture. This was very much a fond farewell," Daniels said of his last scene as C-3PO, the android who became an icon in the "Star Wars" movies.

His last scene in the sixth and final film was hardly the heady stuff of magic for Daniels. Digital effects saw to that.

"I finished filming on the last film last week. For the final shot I walked along a blue corridor with a blue background behind me talking to someone who wasn't there." he said.

In a galaxy far, far away -- it's all over

See, I bet the trailer does better than ThunderBirds did during its entire release. Gotta love stuff put out by those wacky South Park dudes.

  Fay Wray Dies at 96

Fay Wray, the actress best known for her role as the object of a giant ape's desire in the 1933 film "King Kong," died yesterday. She was 96.

Wray died in her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York, the New York Times reported, citing friend Rick McKay.

Wray was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, on Sept. 15, 1907, one of six children, according to the Internet Movie Database. Raised in Los Angeles, she began her film career at age 16 and appeared in more than 100 films, from "The Coast Patrol" in 1925 to "Gideon's Trumpet" in 1980 with Henry Fonda.

When the plot thickens, the CIA (news - web sites) calls in the professionals -- Hollywood screenwriters.

Addressing what the Sept. 11 commission said was one of the main failures of government -- imagination -- a senior CIA official said Wednesday the spy agency was willing to "push beyond the traditional boundaries of intelligence."

"We had our terrorism and counternarcotics analysts meet with Hollywood directors, screenwriters and producers. People who are known for developing the summer blockbusters or the hit TV show that often have a terrorism theme," said Jami Miscik, CIA's deputy director for intelligence.

"It was an attempt to see beyond the intelligence report, and into a world of plot development," she told a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations about analysis and the need for imagination and creativity.

The CIA also ran a round-table discussion with 10 science-fiction authors so intelligence analysts could see how the writers spun possible scenarios.

The screening of US filmmaker Michael Moore's explosive political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 on Cuban television last week will not hurt the film's Oscar chances, officials indicated on Wednesday.

The film's distributors said the copy aired in the communist state on July 29 was pirated and Oscar chiefs said that if that is the case, Fahrenheit is still eligible for a possible Oscar nomination next year.

Under Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules, a film that aired on television or on the internet within nine months of its theatrical release is no longer eligible for Oscars consideration.,6130,,00.html

Fact or fiction? Entertainment or journalism? Documentary or political statement? No, I'm not talking about the news media, but Michael Moore's latest movie, Fahrenheit 9/11.

I saw the film this week, enjoyed it, was shocked, angered, enlightened, impressed, depressed by it, and like most of his movies, slightly annoyed by it, too.

The movie is about the U.S. presidency of George W. Bush: the questionable election results four years ago; the events of Sept. 11; the war in Afghanistan; the invasion of Iraq.

  Fahrenheit this!

As Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 soars past the $100 million mark, Michael Wilson's Michael Moore Hates America waits in the wings

He claims that the title of his film is more satire than publicity-seeking hyperbole. He says he's not out to get Michael Moore; he's just trying to reinvigorate the public discourse. He's enlisted a number of ultra-right-wing commentators for his "journey across the nation" to help him "find out whether the American Dream is still alive." Bandwagon jumper or serious filmmaker? What is Michael Wilson, the director of the forthcoming Michael Moore Hates America up to?

Rock guitarist Pete Townshend has labelled Michael Moore a "bully" in a public spat over the use of the classic Who song Won't get Fooled Again in Fahrenheit 9/11.The Who guitarist refused Moore permission to use the song on the end credits of the film. Afterwards, Moore claimed that Townshend did so because he was in favour of the war in Iraq.,12589,1261143,00.html

I approach every article as a chance to learn, unfortunately what I sometimes learn is that the writer has an agenda and the truth be damned, that is what he/she will stick with. Such is the case of a "review" done by Christopher Hitchens on June 21, 2004 of Michael Moore's new movie, Fahrenheit911. As I was reading this alleged review I realized that Mr. Hitchens must have written it with a thesaurus handy, to throw in as many big words as possible to confuse those who may be trying to actually formulate an opinion.

The verbosity aside, please forgive me as this may be long, only because his review was exceptionally long, justifying this response. To break up the monotony, I will provide little breaks throughout to let you know what some of the ridiculously obscure words are that Mr. Hitchens used.

Michael Moore appears to be handling any thought of being charged by Canadian election officials the same way the Oscar-winning director handles his interview subjects -- with humour. As a right-wing Canadian activist lobbies the government to charge Moore over comments made during June's federal election, a Moore representative didn't sound too concerned in an e-mail he sent last week to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

"You're a good man," Jeff Gibbs told Bradley, who has jokingly offered to make Moore an honorary Sarnia resident, making any election charges moot.

  I, Robot No Deep Thinker

Near the beginning of his classic 1950 novel I, Robot, Isaac Asimov laid out the three commandments governing robot behavior: Thou shall not allow harm to come to a human, thou shall obey humans, thou shall protect thyself.

Hollywood blockbusters have their own set of rules, too: Drop in little commercials for products whenever you can, replace meaningful dialogue with witty repartee, build lots of fight scenes, end happily (by saving the world, if budget permits) and dilute any brainy stuff.

In the movie version of I, Robot, Hollywood's rules rule. Asimov fans and others who like their sci-fi on the chewy side will probably revolt -- the essence of the book is gone. But the average popcorn muncher will appreciate I, Robot -- it's a good example of why the blockbuster formula works. It's funny, has a chilly, blue visual style (the robots look like the clamshell iBooks) and moves fast.,1412,64250,00.html?tw=rss.CUL

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