Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Remakes? Just Leave it Alone !
How do you feel about studios remaking the movies we loved?

I remember when Charlie and Chocolate Factory was remade with Johnny Depp -- I was crushed! The only Willy Wonka was and is...Gene Wilder. Great lines, a factory worth getting a golden ticket for, scenery & characters with a far away look to them, and let's not forget the songs (all together...Oompa Loompa doompa-di-do...) ! Magic! All Tim Burton did was make it all so scary (Sweeny Todd swears off people for candy). Who would want to tour his factory -- and why spoil the myth of the man by telling his secret past? booooo!

There are more: The Wolfman, Taking of Pelham 123, Rollerball, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Speed Racer, The day the Earth Stood Still, Meet Joe Black, Stepford Wives, Sabrina, ...more here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_film_remakes
And now in the planning stages: Dirty Dancing, Fame, The Thing, 1984, Escape From New York, Porkies, The Birds, And Faranheit 451...to name of few remakes in the making.

Are there truly no new ideas? Are there no original thinkers in Hollywood anymore, or has the capitalistic movie making society turned recycling into the new art form? Thank God for the Idependent films!

So what do you think? Maybe there were some worthwhile remakes OR some that were even better than the originals? Some comments ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

DVD - The Wrestler

Rourke's Comeback (Rated R) 109 min

I grew up watching Saturday wrestling - it usually signaled the end of the morning cartoons - and if my bowl of cereal was still full I hung around for either Roller Derby or Wrestling. Back then it was Andre the Giant and George "The Animal". Then in the 80s I watched Mickey Rourke (Diner, 9 1/2 Weeks, Pope of Greenwich Village). He was handsome and quietly sexy. And like the wrestlers, he followed some path that allowed my attention to wander to other things.
This movie shows us what happened after we looked away.
Mickey Rourke plays an aging wrestler looking for the personal connections in his life--first with Marissa Tomei as a stripper Cassidy/Pam who faces the same dilemma -- then with his estranged daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood.
A poignant story of aging out of a profession and possibly, a life...
Check it out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time travel has a new look -- bring tissues!

The Time Travelers Wife (rated PG-13) Run time 107 mins
Based on the 2003 novel by American author Audrey Niffenegger, the story of a young man (Eric Bana) with a genetic anomoly that causes him to time travel when he gets stressed. Though he often disappears from her life for long periods of time, he tries to build a romantic relationship with a young artist (Rachel McAdams). It feels a little disjointed at first, but it quickly settles into its groove.

Eric Bana has also been very busy this past year with Star Trek and Funny People, and in each movie he plays a very different character -- I'm sure he will be very busy in the future as well. And I find Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Mean Girls, and upcoming Sherlock Holmes) just a delight to watch.

Do not try to analyze the science of time travel or how it works -- just go see this movie. True romance -- you can actually feel it. (and bring tissues)

District 9 - new old story

District 9 - Rated R (violence) Run time 112 mins
Produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and directed by Neill Blomkamp, the sci fi movie takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa and opens with an explanation of events that occurred twenty years prior when an alien ship settled above the area. The movie is said to be a reference to aparteid and its handling of relocation of "non-whites" from District Six in the 1960s.

Though I did have flashbacks to past alien movies (The Fly, Enemy Mine) I thought it was pretty original & very well done -- great use of hand held camera angles gave it a documentary feel. Lots of suspense and action -- without guessing what's going to happen next. Virtually unknown actors here in US also allow us to focus on actual story. The main character, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), is expertly played as a bit nerdy underling getting his shot at a top position in his company. As with all great sci-fi stories, the "who is the monster?" storyline is done well! A great flick -- and I'm sure an anticipated video game.

Though I am a Star Trek fan, I will say this is probably one of the best Sci Fi movies in a long while that general audiences will like.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

John Hughes - RIP (1950 - Aug 6, 2009)

John Hughes, the wonderful mastermind behind so many movies that defined my generation and offered a humorous look at our lives (not to mention highlighted one of my favorite comedic actors, John Candy), died this week.
In case you are not sure who he is...let me list:
Home Alone (1990) (written by) Christmas Vacation (1989) (written by) Uncle Buck (1989) (written by) The Great Outdoors (1988) (written by) She's Having a Baby (1988) (written by)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) (written by) Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) (written by)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) (written by) Pretty in Pink (1986) (written by)
Weird Science (1985) (written by) European Vacation (1985) (screenplay) (story) The Breakfast Club (1985) (written by) Sixteen Candles (1984) (written by) Vacation (1983) (screenplay)
Mr. Mom (1983) (written by)
to name a few!

Today I came across what I believe is the most beautiful tribute I have ever seen. Please take a moment to check it out. (If you were part of the Brat Pack generation, it will be even more meaningful for you).
Titled "We'll Know when we get there. Sincerely, John Hughes"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Orphan -- should be left alone

The Orphan - rated R
Demi checked out The Orphan while I was in Funny People -- as a teenager (who I assume is the target audience for these types of movies) she thought it was completely stupid, from premise to end.

Such a disappointment when the price of the ticket is hardly worth the time and money of the viewer.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

NOT SO Funny People

Funny People - Rated R - 2hr 16 min (too long)
WOW - I think I went into this movie thinking it would be funny (based on those hysterical trailers) and lo and behold they were the funniest parts of the movie - and boy, do I hate that ! With so many funny people in this movie I guess my expectations were really high. What a drag! For the entire 2+ long hours, we were treated to more male genetalia references than I could bear. Do guys really talk like this when they're together? It came off like a movie made by a bunch of friends that only their friends would think was funny. hmmm.
Adam Sandler plays a comedian/actor (much like himself) who finds out he is possibly dying and goes back to stand up and the girl he did wrong. Seth Rogen is a part time stand up that Sandler hires to write jokes for him and act as his assistant. The lines blur between employee and only friend as Sandler tries to find the right path to his off-track life.
Too few funny one liners and a running time that could definitely do with some editing made this a hold out for free tv.

Comments about the cast...
I admit that I have never been a great fan of Sandler's comedy movies, though I enjoyed the Wedding Singer and Click. I think it's always been up and down with his movies--liked it or hated it.
But, I have always maintained that comedians make the best dramatic actors (like Robin Williams). My favorite Sandler movie is 2007's "Reign Over Me" - catch it on DVD. In this one, he wasn't too funny or too dramatic.

Seth Rogen reminds me of old school funny. Well, not too old school -- more along the lines of Albert Brooks (Broadcast News, Finding Nemo) -- that self depracating, emotionally invested, dead pan comedy, which I really enjoy. I like him.