‘Taking Woodstock’ a Bad Acid Trip Through 1969

For what it's worth, I wish I could have lived the Woodstock era. To be part of something that revolutionary is killer; perfect stories to one day tell your kid's kids. Two weekends ago marked the fortieth anniversary of the music festival that rocked America, and to celebrate, the Bethel Center for the Arts near the original area that the event took place held a music festival. Some VH1 specials were also shown and a book by Woodstock helmer Michael Lang was released. You'd think that we'd be done with the recreation, right? Buddy, I can't tell you how wrong you are.

Taking Woodstock is about Elliot Teichberg. He and his parents Sonia and Jake are strapped for cash and are soon going to be bankrupt if they can't come up with a way to gather money. When Elliot hears of Michael Lang and his crew's failed attempt to hold their "peace and music" festival in Wallkill, New York, Elliot thinks that they could hold it on his fifteen acres. That's where Taking Woodstock's hour-and-a-half remaining time begins. And what a ninety-minutes it is. Not a lot of buzz prior to Taking's release, which I found to be pretty odd. Even Lee's last major movie Brokeback Mountain had a decent amount of commercial in hopes of snagging some Oscars (which it did). I, however, first saw the preview in June before Away We Go and you better believe I was psyched. Ang Lee doing a Woodstock movie? Far out!

When reminded of Ang Lee, you think generally good things. He seems like a big movie director, although he's really not. His movie list is phenomenal: Brokeback Mountain, The Hire, Sense and Sensibility and (for some reason) Hulk. However if you examine Lee's directing style, he's hit-and-miss. More of the same in Taking Woodstock. The beginning is fine enough, basically showing Elliot's life before holding the Woodstock music festival. You'd think it would be if James Schamus didn't drag his screenplay out so long that it takes a half an hour for Michael Lang and Elliot Teichberg to even meet. The half hour is filled with random nothingness, from nude dancing hippies who reside in the family's barn to a close-up of Eugene Levy walking out of a diner for thirty seconds. Who wants to see that? I get the point that you want Taking to be a sleeper hit and a revolutionary movie for music lovers Ang Lee, but are you serious?!

Which brings me to Demetri Martin, the kid that plays Elliot. I've enjoyed a lot of Martin's previous work, whether it is his Important Things sketch show on Comedy Central (which will soon launch its second season) to his stand-up comedy. While his general awkward and quirkiness can bring a television show or a comedy club audience to life, a feature-length flick shows a person's true colors: can this guy truly act? I'm reminded greatly of Dane Cook when he was an up-and-coming comic and was casted in Employee of the Month simply because the movie studio figured he'd bring in money from fanboys. I believe that Martin was hired because Lee didn't want a star-studded cast to reign in Taking Woodstock, rather for the audience to focus on the wonderful story. The offbeat way he speaks or acts may work on a Laugh Factory stage, but not in this movie. I don't know if it was because I only got three hours of sleep the night before I saw this but I found myself nodding off from time to time.

The cinematography on Taking Woodstock is gorgeous, however, the mud-slide scene in the second half especially beautiful. That's one thing you can say about Taking, that Ang Lee recreates the summer 1969 festival perfectly. The sad part is that's all you can say about it. The idea of a Woodstock docudrama after the Oscar and fan base-winning Woodstock documentary in the '70s was risky, and I can understand why Taking Woodstock wasn't all that good. For a movie to live up to that breaking point in American culture is damn near impossible. A positive point that can be made of Ang Lee is that his next movie will probably be fantastic. He has a habit of alternating between making good or bad flicks. I assumed that this would be one of his good ones, and to sum it up shortly I was wrong.

2 ½ out of five stars.

Taking Woodstock - Movie Review

‘Halloween’ to be Remade in 3D?

Rob Zombie, naturally, seems to be weaning off of the Halloween series to write and direct a remake of The Blob. But the Weinstein Company isn't done with John Carpenter's classic Michael Myers character, oh no. Dimension's Bob Weinstein told the LA Times that Zombie won't have any part in the upcoming remake of Halloween in 3D. Oh, and Halloween is being remade in 3D for a summer 2010 release. Slash Film is guessing that Alexandre Aja (High Tension) is in talks to direct it, but notes that Aja is also finishing up Piranha 3D for the same studio, Dimension, that is set to be released in April 2010, and that Aja to release two 3D horror flicks so close together for the same studio is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Weinstein says that the new director has an experience in horror and will provide a "different take" on the Myers character.

Rob Zombie remaking Halloween was a risky move that turned out great, and I haven't seen his sequel for myself yet. But remaking Halloween for the second time in less than three years just so it can be in 3D? That's just like slapping both Zombie and Carpenter in the face for wanting generation Y to appreciate a classic series.

‘The Final Destination’ Scares Up Big Money – Box Office Results: August 28th-30th

The Final Destination, which basically only added the word "the" as to not copy its original movie's title, came in first this weekend with $28.3 million. It became the highest-grossing opening for a Final Destination movie, surpassing 2006's Final Destination 3's sum of $19.2 million by $9.1 million. Bad reviews from critics didn't seem to hurt this horror flick at all!

In a Friday showdown between previous top rank holder Inglourious Basterds and debuting Halloween II, the Michael Myers remake dominated with $7.6 million over Basterds' $5.9 million. However Saturday Quentin Tarantino's WWII spoof passed H2 by $2.4 million, raking in $8 million. So who took the crown of second place for the overall weekend? Inglourious Basterds did, with an estimated $20 million! Writer-director Rob Zombie's Halloween II stayed in third with $17.4 million. Shockingly, this was less than Zombie's 2007 slasher remake Halloween! That managed $26.4 million and it landed in the #1 spot. Looks like there won't be a Halloween III redo after all.

Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp's District 9 fell 41.3% to fourth place with an estimated $10.7 million. Its total is up to $90.8 million in three weeks. My guess is that it will easily pass the century mark by next weekend. Rounding out the top five is G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra with $8 million. The movie based on Hasbro action figures now has a total gross of $132.4 million in its fourth week.

Other movies that opened this weekend-

  • Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock debuted with a disappointing $3.7 million total. Looks like my prediction was true: the Woodstock craze is over and opening a docudrama about the music festival this late would result in a negative box office finish.
  • R.J. Cutler's documentary The September Issue about Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour made $240,000 in six theaters.
  • Drama Big Fan starring Patton Oswalt grossed an estimated $26,000 in two theaters.
  • Dark comedy Mystery Team opened with $7,900 in only one theater.

Here is the estimated box office results according to studio estimates Sunday-

  1. The Final Destination…$28.3 million
  2. Inglourious Basterds…$20 million
  3. Halloween II…$17.4 million
  4. District 9…$10.7 million
  5. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra…$8 million
  6. Julie & Julia…$7.4 million
  7. The Time Traveler's Wife…$6.7 million
  8. Shorts…$4.9
  9. Taking Woodstock…$3.7 million
  10. G-Force…$2.8 million

‘The Descent: Part Two’ International Trailer

I've never seen the first Descent. But just when I thought it was another forgettable horror movie, the sequel was announced along with the international trailer. Nothing new comes from it; blood-stained faces, suspicious-looking old men and caves. Neil Marshall doesn't return to write or direct this one though, making room for newcomer Jon Harris to film it off of nobody writers J. Blackeson, James McCarthy and James Watkins' screenplay. The Descent: Part Two picks up where the first one finished, with Sarah Carter escaping from the Appalachian cave system and immediately informing the police. The rescue team along with Carter head back to the caves to try to find her five friends and the Descent storyline kicks in once again. The plot sounds kind of fun. Maybe I ought to head to BlockBuster one rainy night and see the original for myself.

Check out the trailer from IGN.com via MTV Movies Blog below.

Judd Apatow Talks on ‘Anchorman’ Part Two

I like to believe that Heavy Weights was where Judd Apatow got his official start in the comedy business. The next landmark was The Cable Guy followed by Freaks and Geeks, however Anchorman was where Adam McKay and Will Ferrell along with Apatow were all launched to huge fame. They still may have been unknowns, but that movie started a chain of great flicks by the two that are now modern classics. Think about it: without Anchorman, there would never have been a 40-Year-Old Virgin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall or a Step Brothers. John C. Reilly would probably never have made another funny movie and critics wouldn't have a reason to forgive Steve Carell for Evan Almighty.So when the Anchorman sequel was announced, I was sort of bummed. McKay and Apatow don't do sequels; it's just their thing. Like, I couldn't even imagine a Knocked Up 2. Although if McKay directs and co-writes with Ferrell, it could be pretty good.

Empire Online basically held Judd Apatow to the floor until he talked about the sequel, and they eventually got something out of him. "They're making a movie now, Will and Adam." Since that's all he said, he's either keeping the movie under wraps or he's not producing a sequel, since he didn't mention his name along with "Will and Adam's." That could be a possibility since his list of movies he's signed onto is so high. But come on; Judd Apatow not produce the Anchorman sequel? That's like John Lasseter not direct the follow-up to Cars. If something can't be done right, why even do it at all?

Three Added Posters for ‘2012’

Roland Emmerich is an all-right director. He directed Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC, all great time killers. You may say "these movies suck!" but think about this: at least he's not Michael Bay. And 2012 doesn't look as bad as Transformers. Still, 2012 looks super-similar to Knowing, which was similar to Day After Tomorrow which was similar to Armageddon. Check out Emmerich's disastrous new posters from Slash Film below.

2012 comes out November 13th.

New ‘Jennifer’s Body’ Pics Show More of Amanda Seyfried

Breaking news: Megan Fox is an attention whore. Today when she said that she'd rather kiss Amanda Seyfried over the other boys she was forced to in Jennifer's Body I realized just how much of a media brat she really is. Not to say she isn't hot; her ego is just really big. Guess that doesn't matter, though. Oh well. Let's focus on Seyfried for a sec. Fox has released five new images of Jennifer's, mostly of Seyfried's character. Check them out below from Cinema Blend.

Jennifer's Body hits theaters September 18th.

More Pics of the Volturi Squad of ‘New Moon’

That's really all to say. Some new pics have come up on MTV Movies Blog, this time showing more of what the characters look like in the actual setting of New Moon. Check them all out below by clicking on the still below.

New Moon comes out November 20th.

Rob Zombie to Remake ‘The Blob’

I like Rob Zombie better as a director than I do a musician. I was never a fan of "hardcore rock" or "metal". I'll admit to enjoying his reboot of Halloween in 2007 a lot, considering I had such low expectations of it and I'm eager to check out Halloween II this weekend. Now apparently he's remaking 1958's The Blob, although without the title character. He told Variety "My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing - that's the first thing I want to change. That gigantic Jello-looking thing might have been scary to audiences in the 1950s, but people would laugh now."

Zombie made John Carpenter turn over in his grave when Michael Myers the adult killer wasn't ever shown with his real mask in the first Halloween and even more since he recreates the mask in the sequel. So he has a controversial way of remaking movies. My suggestion to Rob Zombie is for him to try writing a original screenplay. I'm all for a Blob remake, however a true Rob Zombie movie could be killer.

Hilarious First Trailer and Poster for ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’

This may be fall's sleeper hit. The Men Who Stare At Goats sounds so deliciously absurd, whether it be the title or the plot of a journalist who meets a man who says he was part of the U.S Army's First Earth Battalion, a squad of people with supernatural powers. In the trailer the man, Lyn Cassady, calls himself a "jedi." The lead role is played by George Clooney, a rare A-list actor who still makes great movies. I've always loved Kevin Spacey before I even knew who he was. Whenever he makes a bad flick, there's always a follow-up that blows me away making me once again realize how much of a phenomenal actor he really is. The rest of the cast is filled by Ewan McGregor, J.K Simmons and Jeff Bridges. The new trailer is hilarious, to sum it up in one word. The ending especially is funny, when Boston's "More Than a Feeling" is suddenly blasted. Check out the poster and trailer below from Cinema Blend.

You too can stare at Goats November 6th.

Sneak Peek at Volturi Vampires in ‘New Moon’

I'm not really a fan of the whole Twilight craze. I thought the first one was enjoyable, but certainly not as great as people (aka "tweens") are ranting. New Moon looks to be more of the same engrossing yet forgettable garbage. Here's a look at the "Volturi" vampires of New Moon, including Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen's Jane and Aro. Check out Sheen; he looks like a zombie Ozzie Osbourne. Er, Ozzie Osbourne. Check all of them out below from New Moon Movie.

New Moon ventures onto screens November 20th.

First Poster for ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

One of the problems I have with Michael Moore is that he makes these documentaries when an issue is hot, but he releases them when everybody has moved on to another problem. Enter Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore's doc on the financial bailout in Washington and where exactly our money is going. While everybody is now focused on health care reform and social security, Moore is hell-bent on this. Here's the first official poster for Capitalism, a movie that I hope will be hilarious. It looks a bit like a MySpace layout or a duplicate of In The Loop's one-sheet, nonetheless it premiered on Fandango today.

Capitalism: A Love Story bails out theaters October 2nd.

Steven Spielberg’s Aboard for ‘Pirates Latitude’

Great idea Spielberg, chalk another movie up on your ever-expanding list. He's all aboard to direct the movie version of Michael Crichton's novel Pirates Latitude about piracy in Jamaica in the 17th century. The book isn't even out yet (it's released in November), but like Ron Howard with Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series, he's already set to film it. Crichton is the guy who wrote The Lost
World and Jurassic Park, both of which Spielberg directed movie versions of the novels. So it comes as no surprise that he jumped at the opportunity to make this one. He's hired David Koepp, the screenwriter of both Lost World and Jurassic, to pen the script. Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks partner Stacey Snider said to USA Today that "Anything that Michael wrote, Steven would be keenly interested to read. But without Michael knowing it, or even me knowing it, it turns out Steven always wanted to direct his own pirate film."

At this point with Spielberg, I want his Abraham Lincoln biopic already. I would be happy if he looked at his résumé and noticed the recent crap he's done and think about the future of his career over long and hard. The last Indiana Jones flick proved to me that both he and George Lucas are all washed up. I don't get as excited for either of their movies like I used to. But we'll see how this all plays out. Maybe William H. Macy or Jeff Goldblum will be strapping on an eye patch soon.

New Clip from ‘Zombieland’

Zombieland looks like this fall's Shaun of the Dead. Just a stupid horror-comedy that we can all have a good laugh at. I'm excited for Zombieland; it looks pretty sweet. In this new clip from MTV via Bloody-Disgusting, Amber Heard is afraid of zombies, so she heads to Jesse Eisenberg's house for comfort. The stuff that happens afterward you'll just have to see for yourself!

Zombieland crawls to theaters October 9th.

Pretty Cool International Poster for ‘Jennifer’s Body’

Why is it that the international posters for American movies are always better than the ones in the states? Take this one for Jennifer's Body from Aullidos, for example. The lipstick writing, the dead body in a backpack. It's actually not so special. No, wait, Megan Fox is on it that must be why I like it. Who knew I was so shallow.

Jennifer's Body bites screens September 18th.

Unused Poster for ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is the Best

What a marvelous poster. Inglorious Basterds is officially a hit, grossing almost $40 million domestically and $60 million worldwide. I found this unused poster over at PosterWire via Cinema Blend and my jaw nearly dropped at how cool it looks. If you haven't seen Basterds yet, first of all, you should run out right now. Second, you won't understand a lot about this poster. I think they should have used this in the advertising campaign, considering how beautiful it looks. Check it out below and tell me that it doesn't rock. Whoever purchased a previous one-sheet, return that sucker and pick up this one.

Christopher Hampton to Scribe ‘Netherland’

If you know me, you know that I adore Sam Mendes. He's been my idol forever. Every movie he's directed (Revolutionary Road, American Beauty among many others) has been magnificent. Now, according to Slash Film, he's recruited Christopher Hampton (Chéri) to scribe Netherland, his adaptation of the classic novel about an ex-pat Dutchman resident of New York who creates a cricket club among a group of immigrants after the fateful events on September 11th. The film rights are currently owned by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo films, long having tried to get Mendes to direct it. Within the past few days, he's finally agreed to.

Hampton has done some pretty great works in his career. Anything Mendes does is gold and teaming with Hampton is a great idea. This will probably be the best sports movie in the recent years. However anything could top Invincible.

Second Trailer for ‘Armored’

I never saw the first trailer for Armored, and it really doesn't matter. Nonetheless, here's the second trailer for Armored, a thriller about truck drivers who attempt to steal $42 million. It stars Matt Dillon and Laurence Fishburne with Nimród Antal (Vacany) directing off of newcomer James V. Simpson's screenplay. Check out the so-so trailer for Armored below from Cinema Blend.

Armered starts December 4th in theaters.

‘Soul Train’ Becoming a Movie?

Oh, nice! They've remade so many old TV shows into movies (Get Smart, Dukes of Hazzard, Alvin and the Chipmunks), why not make one of Soul Train? You know, that dance show hosted by Don Cornelius? Yeah. Variety says that Warner Bros. expects to cash in on this, penning Malcolm Spellman to write the screenplay. I don't know how audiences will react to this. Land of the Lost in June, also based on an old television program, bombed and left room for the totally original The Hangover to stay number one at the box office two weeks in a row. Of course I know nothing of the Soul Train show since it was way before my time; however I know a dumb idea when I see one. Remaking this would be like doing a movie about American Idol or America's Got Talent: how? I guess that's what I'd like to know. Spellman wrote a Sopranos video game and is currently scribing a sequel to Johnson Family Vacation (sweet Jesus, no) and the Soul Train movie isn't a good place to start in the Hollywood business if you want to be respected. But money-wise, business is booming.

‘The Dark Knight’ Follow-Up Being Filmed Exclusively in IMAX

I've seen only two films in IMAX my entire life, both of them limited release documentaries. (Exciting, right?) I will probably see Avatar in IMAX 3D since that's pretty much the only way to see it. I heard that The Dark Knight on that big of a screen was breathtaking, and I kick myself for not having caught it for myself. I may get another chance to see the caped crusader in that view, according to AICN. Apparently the follow-up to Knight, which is still being highly teased by not having a title since Christopher Nolan remains focused on Inception, will be filmed exclusively in IMAX.

I don't believe that this is that great of an idea. What about the people who see it on a regular movie theater screen? It's no use for them that 'Batman 3' was taped only in IMAX. Limited showings of the movie in that version are a given, obviously. Not exclusively. Still, Chris Nolan is a genius who will no doubt make a tremendous sequel to The Dark Knight. I'm not denying that.

Final ‘Astro Boy’ Poster

Hum. Well, I suppose with every great poster release comes a disappointing one. This one from Astro Boy seems less dazzling than animated flicks usually release. I'm not expecting a Pixar-worthy one-sheet, but come on David Bowers, this looks like something out of Cartoon freaking Network!

Astro Boy comes out October 23rd.

Stupendous First Poster for ‘Whip It’

Well, all I can say is bravo. Whip It is going to rock. Check out the first poster for Drew Barrymore's directorial debut below from Cinema Blend.

Whip It rolls onto screens October 2nd.

‘Your Highness’ Gets Justin Theroux as the Villain

Man, do I love Justin Theroux. This is the guy who co-wrote the hilarious Tropic Thunder and played a part in scribing next summer's Iron Man 2. He's starred in Miami Vice, the HBO miniseries John Adams and many other random movies and television shows and now he's returning to the acting world with Your Highness. If you don't already know, Highness is the comedy written by Danny McBride (who also stars) and Ben Best (Eastbound and Down) and directed by David Gordon Green, the man who brought us Pineapple Express. Theroux will play the evil sorcerer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He joins James Franco, Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman. Your Highness is about a wimp of a prince who has to defeat an evil sorcerer who's kidnapped the princess. I'm sold.

Your Highness comes to theaters October 1st, 2010.

‘Cars 2’ Gets an Unofficial Title

I loved the first Cars. Sure it may have been childish, but Pixar is known for doing that with a spin that adults can enjoy as well. I'm excited for Toy Story 3 next summer and already counting down for Cars 2 in 2011. We know that the upcoming sequel will be about Lightning McQueen and Mater somehow involved in the World Grand Prix. Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media recently noted that Disney has purchased four domain names:


Speculation is that the film will be entitled Cars 2: World Grand Prix. Let me take out my Doc Hudson poster one more time and get stoked for this bad boy.

Mila Kunis Speaks on Mysterious 'Black Swan' Lesbian Scene

Last time I mentioned the teased sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, I said that I really didn't mind the situation. The Wrestler, writer-director Darren Aronfosky's last flick, had pretty tasteful sex sequences. Still, people are buzzing over this. (Mostly 47-year-old perverts, but nevertheless people are buzzing. Mila Kunis recently said in an interview with Collider "Yes. I've heard about this from everybody. I mean, something got out." She also revealed that the script "got a recent rewrite last weekend." She did not confirm anything in the interview.

I'm ecstatic about Black Swan. The plot, about a ballerina develops a strange competitive feeling towards a dance who may or may not be real, sounds so good. Could an Oscar-nod be coming for Portman or Kunis? We have to wait and see.

New Set Pics from ‘Twilight Saga: Eclipse’

New Moon comes out in October. However apparently we're already focused on Eclipse, the one after Moon. Recently Rachelle Lefevre was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria for the third installment, leading to some controversy. The first stills of her on set have been released of her seduction scene with Riley (Xavier Samuel).

Check all of the pics out at Lainey Gossip by clicking on the image below. New Moon comes out November 20th with Eclipse set for a June 30th, 2010 release.

‘Pirates 4’ Plot Details Released (Sort Of)

The Jack Sparrow origins story that is the fourth installment of the Pirates series doesn't seem all that hyped up, for a reason I'm not quite sure of. The last Pirates of the Caribbean movie grossed damn near a billion dollars, the second more than The Dark Knight. Without Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom or director Gore Verbinski returning for the fourth movie, the plot details for the next film have been released. Kind of. According to Hollywood-Elsewhere (via Cinema Blend), it'll have something to do with the Fountain of Youth and a Captain Nemo-type character that uses modern technology.

The Pirates movies have gone downhill. I don't really know what to expect in the next one since two of the supporting roles and the original director have left, basically leaving Johnny Depp and new director Rob Marshall to blame if it sucks. I still need to know a lot more info on the sequel before I can come to a conclusion.

Disappointing Teaser Trailer for Nolan’s ‘Inception’

The first official teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's Inception is here and it's a bit of a let-down. It shows pretty much nothing that we haven't seen before; the spinning top, the flippy rooms, etc. Check it out below from Cinema Blend and tell me what you think.

Inception spins to theaters July 16th.

Dakota Fanning May Be Dorothy in ‘Oz’ Remake

Folks, you know I hate remakes. So obviously I was less than thrilled to discover that Todd McFarlane is planning to do one of The Wizard of Oz (re-titled Oz, not to be confused with the HBO series) and has been since 2007, apparently. He claims to want to make it darker than the original. Is modern Hollywood going goth? With a Red Riding Hood gothic movie also coming, I fear what's next. I wouldn't be surprised if a Jack and Jill remake was in the cards. In addition, McFarlane says he doesn't really care about how good the movie is, anyway. According to Cinema Blend, he's too busy asking questions such as "How do we get people who went to 'Lord of the Rings' to embrace this?"

The Daily Express, a British tabloid, says that MacFarlane has a plot for Oz, one that requires a 15-year-old daughter of Dorothy, supposedly played by Dakota Fanning. This could be a good idea. I'm only concerned with McFarlane's part in it, which is a rather major one. He is only a producer-writer of video games, with little to no movie experience. And you know video games; they're full of blood, sex and shoot-em-up's. Dakota Fanning is a great actress; most recently in Coraline she was phenomenal. Although do we really even want a remake of The Wizard of Oz to begin with?

‘Bioshock’ Movie Gets a New Director

Gore Verbinski, the director of all three Pirates of the Caribbean flicks, quit the Bioshock movie. The reason? Since Universal dropped the project because of its growing budget, they wanted to rewrite the script and find somewhere out of the country to shoot the movie, taking advantage of some of the price cuts. The Los Angeles Times got this out of Verbinski when asked on Bioshock:

"The bottom line is it has to shoot out of the States for budget reasons and my schedule may be prohibitive. There's a great script and a really interesting cast. It really comes down to the financial model now. Big movies are just not being shot in the States. I'm weighing whether I can physically go the U.K. or Australia or one of those other places with a tax rebate for a year-and-a-half."

So there you have it. He dropped out because he couldn't commit to shooting overseas since, according to Variety, he's doing an animated flick called Rango with Johnny Depp. He will, however, produce. But that's all.

Obviously Universal didn't want to drop this thing, since it has the potential to be a huge hit. Now they've got Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to direct it, the guy who did 28 Weeks Later in 2007. I say that this really isn't that bad of an idea. 28 Weeks Later was dark and creepy, the exact direction that I believe the Bioshock movie will go. Tell me what you think about this in the comments.

I'll update you on any new details that gets released (or leaked).

‘Inglourious Basterds’ a Breath of Fresh Air, Exciting and Hilarious

Whenever the words "World War II" are uttered when a movie is involved I generally groan. (Clint Eastwood is the exception to these opinions.) Frankly, I just don't care for war movies anymore. Valkyrie, Defiance, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I'm sick of it; I don't care what Hitler looked like in the eyes of some godforsaken first-time director. And with an adaptation of The Book Thief coming in 2010 I'm just about ready to lose it. So here comes Inglourious Basterds, yet another war movie. It stars Brad Pitt; it should bring in an audience. That audience will not, however, include me. Until I saw the guy behind what seems like the millionth Nazi-era movie made: Quentin Tarantino. The directing god Tarantino? He's doing a war movie? This should be worth seeing.

The trailer doesn't show a lot. Hitler is banging on a desk with his fist yelling "Nein, nein, nein!" and Pitt is talking in a southern accent. So while the trailer isn't the best, I loved that it was about a group of Nazi killers. Not some flamboyant concentration camp escapees, resistance or prisoners. (God knows that's been done to death.) Tarantino was going to put a comic spin to this; nice! As I started to look forward to Basterds, I began to wonder whether this would be an action movie like Tarantino was known for or more of a comedy. I wanted it to be a comedy since that would be kind of fun. Although Tarantino has the knack of being unpredictable when it comes to his movies, Kill Bill being a perfect example. Bill pretty much came out of nowhere, with a crazy story of a woman who wakes up from a coma and wants to kill her husband for putting her in one. Jackie Brown and who could forget the insane Pulp Fiction? His movies are always so full of sex and violence that I was surprised the MPAA approved them to only be rated R. But that's why I love him.

Inglourious Basterds follows a team of Nazi killers called the "Basterds". ("that's Quentin Tarantino spelling", he said on David Letterman recently.) "Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France," The Basterds have been chosen to wreak havoc on Nazis residing in the Third Reich. A French-Jewish teenage girl who owns a movie theater discovers that, without her approval, the Nazis are going to have a movie premiere at her cinema since the star has a crush on her. Word is that Hitler will even be in attendance. So being a Jew, she devises a plan to lock the doors when everyone is inside and burn down the movie theater. However the Basterds soon discover of this get-together as well. They come up with their own plan, hiring a French actress to help them fool the Nazis.

Quentin Tarantino as you may already know, (but if you don't, this will section will be a major spoiler alert, so I'd skip to the next paragraph) changed the outcome of World War II. In traditional war movies that tell of Adolf Hitler's reign, Hitler lives in the end, since the famed "Valkyrie" plan failed. Most movies that try to be historically accurate end up trying to be entertaining and true at the same time, yet both still fail. (Public Enemies is a great example.) While I do appreciate historical accuracy and truth in films, when I go to the movies I expect to be entertained; I don't pay my $10 to take a nap in the broken seats. Tarantino goes all out in Basterds and basically just says "Fuck it! I know my audience; I've known my audience since Reservoir Dogs. And my audience likes to be thrilled when they see my movies!" Inglorious indeed, Basterds is a perfect summer treat.

I never really enjoyed Brad Pitt in his recent movies. Ocean's Thirteen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Mr. and Mrs. Smith were all epic disappointments. I found myself asking where his Twelve Monkeys and Fight Club days were. He's an A-list star who somewhere along the line sold out. In Inglourious, I forgot about all of that. This is the Pitt that America fell in love with; who'd a thunk in a movie title with both words misspelled? I can't decide whether it's his spoof-of-an accent or his amazing acting that bowled me over, but nonetheless he's extraordinary. Another phenomenal actor in Inglourious Basterds is Christoph Waltz. Waltz plays Hans Landa, a Nazi colonel. Early buzz on Basterds from when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May was mostly glowing reviews of how hilarious that Waltz was. They're right, you know. Waltz is a major part of the movie, and he plays off of Tarantino's script like a pro, even though he's been only in mostly German films before Basterds. Diane Kruger is also a winner in QT's latest creation. I wasn't expecting much of her (I was mostly expecting from Pitt); however she delivered more than I could've ever wanted! Without Kruger, Basterds wouldn't be one of the best movies we've had so far this year. I'm not familiar with Kruger's work (besides the fact that her last name sounds curiously like a certain movie monster), though for Inglourious she holds up the minimal female cast of Basterds perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised if any of these three gifted actors and actresses' names were called come Oscar season.

The only problem that I had with Inglourious Basterds was B.J Novak. If you're like me and love NBC's The Office, then you'll notice his tremendous work producing, starring and sometimes even writing for the groundbreaking comedy. When I heard that he would be an addition to the Basterds cast, I was thrilled. I had been expecting that, like John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, fellow Office alums, he would have either a lead role or a major supporting one. He had neither! More of a cameo, really. Novak has maybe ten lines in all throughout the entire two hour thirty-two minute movie. I would have loved to see his talent on the big screen in a real role, and I don't believe that he won't have another chance. Still, the lines that he did spit out were hilarious. The icing on the cake of Basterds.

From the cameo by Mike Myers to every sentence that Brad Pitt utters, Inglourious Basterds simply pops. Unlike other Tarantino movies, there isn't a lot of sex. One imaginative one for a few seconds (no visible nudity, however), but overall not a lot. Those of you who bag on Tarantino for this and don't see his genius movies solely because of that factor, check out Basterds for probably the only one he doesn't include any in. As for the violence? There's plenty of that. Add comedy and action together and you get the brilliant and gut-busting Inglourious Basterds. A breath of fresh air in the dreadful August month of movies. (Shorts and Post Grad think that they can compete with this? Please!) Quentin Tarantino's latest is a joy ride in World War II through a very dark and twisted man's eyes. Again, that's why I love him.

4 ½ out of five stars.

The ‘Basterds’ are Inglourious – Box Office Results: August 21st-23rd

It was a great weekend for writer-director Quentin Tarantino, his latest flick Inglourious Basterds raking in an estimated $37.6 million! This is Tarantino's highest ever opening weekend gross, topping Kill Bill Volume 2's $25.1 million ($66.2 million total run) and his last movie, 2007's Grindhouse's $11.6 million ($25 million total run). As for Brad Pitt, Basterds is his highest opening weekend since Mr. and Mrs. Smith's $50.3 million haul. It's also his fourth-highest of his career. It looks like Pitt was the only A-list star whose summer movie will go on to become a blockbuster hit!

District 9 fell 49.4% to an estimated $18.9 million. The alien thriller is doing better than similar Cloverfield, Starship Troopers and The Day the Earth Stood Still, however it couldn't beat I, Robot's second weekend sum of $21.7 million. (Thanks for the comparison chart Box Office Mojo!) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra also fell 44% this weekend to $12.5 million. Stephen Sommer's action flick based on the Hasbro toys now has a sum of $120.5 million in three weeks. The Time Traveler's Wife dropped a spot (and 46.2%) to fourth place holding a modest $10 million. The romantic starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams has a total of $37.4 million in ten days.

Julie & Julia finishes off the top five with an estimated $9 million. Nora Ephron's film about the late chef Julia Child and a blogger who attempts to recreate her recipes has a grand sum of $59.3 million in three weeks.

Other movies that opened this weekend-

  • Shorts was exactly that at the box office this weekend, debuting in sixth place with $6.6 million, the lowest opening for director Robert Rodriguez since 1995's Four Rooms.
  • Post Grad starring Alexis Bledel nabbed the tenth spot managing $2.8 million.
  • X Games 3D: The Movie started off with a disappointing $800,000, though that could be since it earned a bland 38% on poll site Rotten Tomatoes.
  • My One and Only, starring Renée Zellweger as a single mom in the 1950s who looks to marry a rich man to support her grossed an estimated $60,700 in four theaters.
  • Five Minutes of Heaven starring Liam Neeson raked in $5,200 in only one theater.

Here are the box office results according to studio estimates Sunday-

  1. Inglourious Basterds…$37.6 million
  2. District 9…$18.9 million
  3. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra…$12.5 million
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife…$10 million
  5. Julie & Julia…$9 million
  6. Shorts…$6.6 million
  7. G-Force…$4.2 million
  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince…$3.5 million
  9. The Ugly Truth…$2.9 million
  10. Post Grad…$2.8 million

Two New Posters for Shane Acker’s ‘9’

I love these new posters for 9. The premise of this movie is twisted brilliance, a perfect start for co-writer/director Shane Acker. Forget Avatar, I need to tell myself that this movie is only a cartoon. Drool over the cool new one-sheets below, and for the full gallery of pics and posters head over to Cinema Blend.

9 comes to theaters September 9th.

A ‘Hangover’ Rip-Off by Dan Fogelman and Peter Chelsom Happening

Who didn't see this coming? Todd Phillips' Old School and Road Trip were classics, and other movie studios wanted in on the craze. So they did their own crappy comedies, none of which I can even remember today. Here comes a comedy, ripping off Phillips' genius The Hangover called Last Vegas. It'll be about four guys in their 60s who go to Vegas for a bachelor party. And guess what? Peter Chelsom, the director of Hannah Montana: The Movie is also directing this of of Dan Fogelman's, who spawned the career-shredding Fred Claus for Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, screenplay. Chelsom knows this is the same concept as The Hangover, but in his defense he told Variety: "These are four guys from Coney Island, who, when we meet them, think they are invincible. I think the film should attract four great stars in that age range."

An R-rated comedy for old people? Genius, Chelsom and Fogelman! Next you should remake the Hannah Montana movie and put Catherine O'Hara in the lead role! I don't expect this to have the same popularity as The Hangover did. Todd Phillips must be laughing his brilliant ass off.

Catherine Hardwicke to Direct ‘Riding Hood’ Movie

Catherine Hardwicke, the director most known for doing Twilight and The Nativity Story has been recruited to direct The Girl With The Red Riding Hood, according to Variety. The movie is a darker version of the classic fairytale, one that adds romance and a supposed "twist" ending. This is the movie that Leonardo DiCaprio and his studio recently announced that they would produce, with David Johnson (Orphan) writing the screenplay. Hardwicke is also set to direct the remake of Hamlet and the movie adaptation of James Patterson's Maximum Ride novel. (Both are currently in pre-production.)

Hardwicke was a mediocre director in Twilight, in my opinion. However I do think that Red Riding Hood is her type of movie. And hey, if DiCaprio is producing and Johnson is writing like they both did in Orphan, this should be pretty good! DiCaprio is turning dark, it seems; his upcoming Shutter Island and last month's Orphan perfect examples. Still, his strange career moves have brought a relatively good thriller. Martin Scorsese would have been a great choice to direct this, even DiCaprio himself! But I wouldn't call upon Hardwicke, since she does have two other big movies on her plate.

George Lucas to Honor John Lasseter

This is long overdue, but better late than never! John Lasseter and fellow Disney/Pixar directors (which are Brad Bird, Lee Unkrich, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton) will be honored with the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement. Better yet, George Lucas will present the award at the Venice Film Festival! The award will be presented along with the premiere of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D and a ten-minute preview of The Princess and the Frog and a preview of Toy Story 3. The festival starts September 2nd and ends on the 12th.

This is great! The Pixar crew is inspirational to so many people, me included. Lucas presenting the award must be because he's venturing into the three-dimensional universe. You rock, Pixar directors!

Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’ Script is Sex-Filled

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

Script Shadow was reviewing the script for Black Swan, the new movie written/directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), and some interesting things came up. Not that the whole script doesn't sound interesting, it's just that this bit…stood out. Black Swan is about two ballerinas who develop a relationship during a competition. A lesbian version of Brokeback Mountain? You tell me; the review opens with this:

…in this movie, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis have sex…And not just nice sweet innocent sex either. We're talking ecstasy-induced hungry aggressive angry sex.

Nice. The review went on to say:

…she begins noticing another girl around town and at the ballet company who looks exactly like her. But not just "exactly." We're talking identical. Yet every time Nina tries to get close, the girl turns away or hides her face. Finally, Nina meets this mysterious doppelganger after rehearsal. Her name is Lily. And while she definitely looks like Nina, she's by no means an identical replica. Was it Nina's imagination perhaps?

People are going to freak out over this. But me, I say big deal! So they do it. Remember The Wrestler? How is Marisa Tomei giving Mickey Rourke a topless lap dance and Rourke having an affair in a dressing room any worse than Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis having sex with each other? All I know is that this won't affect my opinion about the movie. A sex scene could either kill this or make it even more personal. First this movie was cancelled by Universal. Until Portman became interested in it and the Wrestler awards were thrown at everyone involved. But now Fox Searchlight is rumored to pick it up and shooting may begin in New York City in the fall. Bring it on.

Full-Length Trailer for Moore’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

The teaser was disappointing. The title felt strange. The full-length trailer is here for Capitalism: A Love Story, and it's anything buy disappointing and strange. Capitalism will follow top documentarian Michael Moore as he attempts to find out what exactly caused the economic meltdown. In the trailer, we hear M.I.A's "Paper Planes", which now only reminds me of Pineapple Express. We also see Moore interviewing people like Elizabeth Warren, the Congressional Oversight Officer. He asks questions such as "Where is our money?" to which they respond "…I don't know." Capitalism looks to be pretty funny; I enjoyed his last movie Sicko a great deal. Moore isn't a filmmaker who doesn't know what he's exactly doing a movie on, either. He knows his stuff. Check out the trailer below and tell me what you think!

Capitalism: A Love Story comes to theaters October 2nd.

Awesome New Trailer for ‘The Wolfman’

The new trailer for The Wolfman is here, and it's filled with awesomeness. Wolfman is about a man who's bitten by a werewolf, thus becoming one. Emily Blunt looks promising in the trailer; however I can never be too sure about her when it comes to the actual movie. I always thought that all she could do was comedy, until she starred in Charlie Wilson's War. Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving appear great as usual. The real story here is Benicio Del Toro as the Wolfman. I loved Del Toro in both of the Che movies and 2000's Traffic; The Wolfman looks to be another great role for him to add to his résumé. All in all, it looks very American Werewolf in London/The Illusionist-y. Check out the trailer here and tell me what you think!

The Wolfman claws into theaters February 10th.