Archive for January, 2009

Battlestar Galactica – The Final Episodes Premiere (SPOILERS)

Like the title of the post says, there will be spoilers below.

Just wanted to post something quick about this night’s latest BSG episode.  There’s all this controversy surrounding the 5th Cylon model that was going to be revealed, and the ad campaign for Season 4.5 has been about how they were going to answer our questions little by little.  Well, they’ve answered one of them.  Apparently, the secret model is Ellen Tigh, Colonel Saul Tigh’s wife that died on New Caprica.

Also, we’ve had to say goodbye to another member of the BSG cast: Lt. Anastatia Dualla (Kandyse McClure).  I’m not going to give away how she dies, so watch for yourself.  She was always one of my favorite secondary characters, and I’m a little upset (OK , shocked) that she won’t make it to the end.

And, just like every good BSG episode, for every question answered, there’s a new question waiting to be answered:

1. The theory now is that the 13th tribe were actually the skinjob Cylons, and their planet, Earth, was nuked by different model Cylons similar to the Centurions.  How in the frak did this 13th tribe end up being Cylons, and why did Earth get nuked?

2. Starbuck.  She found the source of the Colonial signal on Earth, and it happens to be her ship, with what appears to be her dead body inside.  So, is the Kara Thrace that returned from the dead in the beginning of Season 4 the real Starbuck?  If not, who is she?  If so, who is the dead pilot on Earth?

3. Where does the opera house come into play?  What about the hybrid babies (Hera Agathon and Nicky Tyrol)?

4. How in the hell is this season going to end?  As of now, I don’t see a bright, happy ending for any of the characters.  Not that I want every single character to get some happy ending (that would be a cop-out for the BSG creative team), but I do want some of the characters to leave the show with a smile.

January 16, 2009 at 11:37 pm Leave a comment

Watchmen Will Finally Be Watched

REJOICE!
clipped from movies.yahoo.com

It’s gonna cost a pretty penny, but Warner Bros. gets to send Watchmen into theaters as scheduled.
Warners and 20th Century Fox are expected to let a judge know tomorrow that they have reached a settlement and will not need to go to trial to figure out which studio owns the rights to the highly anticipated superhero adventure.
according to the Hollywood Reporter, Fox is relinquishing all distribution rights for a lump-sum payment and then a percentage of Watchmen’s box-office receipts.
After inking a couple of deals with Fox in the 1990s, producer Larry Gordon ultimately took the DC Comics-rooted story to Warners, which went ahead and made what trailers are teasing to be a pretty fanboyrific movie for about $130 million.
Fox sued the rival studio last February, alleging copyright violations because Gordon didn’t secure permission from Fox to shop the project elsewhere—a theory that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gary Feess more or less agreed with.
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January 16, 2009 at 8:07 am 1 comment

Jaoquin Phoenix To Start Rapping?!

I know he was ‘retiring’ from the movie biz to focus on music, but rapping? Joaquin Phoenix? WHAT?!
clipped from movies.yahoo.com
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Casey Affleck will get behind a camera lens to track the musical career of fellow actor Joaquin Phoenix , who portrayed Johnny Cash in ” Walk the Line .”
Affleck is directing a documentary feature on his friend and brother-in-law Phoenix, who in the fall announced his retirement from the thespian business in order to focus on a music career.
Phoenix is embarking on a new path as a rapper, with an album to be produced by Sean Combs . He is scheduled to make his first public performance Friday at a Las Vegas club, which will officially kick off Affleck’s shoot.
Affleck is known for his work in front of the camera with movies like ” Gone Baby Gone ,” ” The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford ” and the ” Ocean’s Eleven ” series. He directed a series of shorts for Sundance Channel in the late 1990s. He is married to Summer Phoenix , sister of his new film subject.
Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
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January 16, 2009 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

Review: “Appaloosa”

The Old West comes alive in this tale directed by Ed Harris.  I’ve been meaning to check this one out ever since hearing about it as it played in various film festivals.  While the film is hailed by many as “gripping entertainment” and “a fine dramatic comedy“, it definitely got its share of negative press.  Even though there are things about this movie that I didn’t like, on the whole I did find Appaloosa to be an entertaining, albeit slow-paced Western drama.

Ed Harris plays Virgil Cole, and he and his partner Everette Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) go about the Wild West as hired guns, bringing justice to the various untamed towns.  They’re hired by some of the prominent residents of the town of Appaloosa to investigate the murder of the town’s (now ex-) sheriff.  Putting on the badge of the law, the two run into rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons), who’s posse are some of the meanest in the area.  They eventually arrest him, but bringing him to trial is something else entirely.

The film runs around 110 minutes, so it’s not that long, but it feels that way.  Many of the complaints about the film’s pace is because there’s lots of standing around, with the characters not doing or saying much.  Harris had explained that this film is a throwback to the old-school Westerns, a la The Magnificent Seven or Once Upon a Time in the West, so there’s plenty of wide angles, empty spaces, and silence.  That’s fine with me, as the characters are interesting enough to watch.  Mostly.

Renee Zellweger plays Allison French, a widow who takes a liking to both Cole and Hitch, and proves to be a real complication to the pair.  Watching the triangle that forms among them, and the rift it causes, is interesting, if predictable.  The rest of the cast is OK, and I do enjoy watching Jeremy Irons play villains.  Lance Henriksen has an extended cameo as Ring Shelton, another hired gun and old acquaintance of Cole’s.  Mortensen does an admirable job of playing the sidekick, and he does get about the same screentime as Harris does.  I just think that the relationship between Cole and Hitch could’ve been fleshed out a little bit more.

The story does a good job of establishing their loyalty to each other, but toward the end, there’s this sense that the two characters are on two separate tracks.  Cole is getting older and is looking to settle down, while Hitch is still young enough to stay in his line of work.  It’s this dynamic between the two that’s hinted at, and is given a resolution, but it seems a tad rushed.

The action is kept to a bare minimum.  I watched ‘Attack of the Show’ recently and their resident film critic, Chris Gore, slammed to movie for being boring and not for today’s sophisticated audiences.  He claims that a modern movie-goer should be able to process more information than someone fifty years ago could, and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that a slower-paced film is ‘boring’ compared to today’s hyper-cutting commercial films.  Don’t get me wrong, I love modern films as well (I’m one of the few who think Michael Bay is a motherf-ing genius), but I happen to appreciate films like Appaloosa because of their comments of justice and morality.

Anyway, what I admire about the action in this film is how ‘realistic’ it is.  I know that term gets thrown around a lot these days, but I find the action here just has hard-hitting and brutal as it does in an action film set in modern times.  Here, the guns don’t explode when fired and blood doesn’t burst from bodies when they’re shot.  The guns make a *pop* sound when someone pulls a trigger (as opposed to the sound of a cannon)  and the punches sound muted, just like they would in real life.  And there’s collectively maybe three minutes of actual violence scattered throughout the story.

I hope that the industry gets to a point where they want to do a complete revival of the Western genre, just like how disaster films had a boom within the past 15 years.  Films like this, 2007’s 3:10 To Yuma, and Kevin Costner’s excellent Open Range prove that Westerns can still be the same morality plays that they were 40+ years ago, and still be entertaining.  It’s a fascinating genre that had similar roots to the film noir genre; both started as cheap, easy to produce mass market films that would appeal to the majority of the audience, and now they’re both relegated to art houses and classic movie channels.  Appaloosa won’t please everyone, but for film enthusiasts, it’s worth checking out.

7.5/10

(images from Yahoo!)

January 15, 2009 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

More Turmoil Within SAG

With the Screen Actors Guild strike already approved, all the execs need to do is send the word out and the entire industry stops, almost like it did during the WGA strike a little over a year ago.  Earlier last year, AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) made some headway with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, with some objections by SAG.  This does not bode well for the moderates within the Screen Actors Guild who are trying to re-start negotiations with the AMPTP.
clipped from www.variety.com
In the last two days, the Screen Actors Guild has been full of sound and fury, signifying … the status quo.
After a filibuster-filled 30-hour board meeting Monday and Tuesday that was meant to bring some resolution to the raging divisions within the guild, nothing has changed: Though moderates have a majority on the SAG board, the stall tactics prevented a vote on a measure that would have ousted Doug Allen as chief negotiator, canceled the strike authorization vote and replaced the negotiating committee.
And the battle’s probably not over. SAG noted after the meeting that no date’s been set for sending out the referendum ballots and then added it would not comment further.
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January 14, 2009 at 5:50 am Leave a comment

Review Catch-Up: “Australia”

Finishing up some old review I’ve been too slow in posting.  Enjoy!

Australia, Baz Luhrman’s 4th film, is an old-fashioned adventure-romance set in, you guessed it, Australia during World War II in the Pacific.  The romantic plot isn’t all that original (beautiful, rich aristocratic woman falls in love with a rough-around-the-edges adventurer), but the settings and the characters keep this movie from floundering.

I must stress that this is very reminiscent of the old Hollywood epics of years past.  The scenery is grand, the characters are over-the-top, and the score swells at just the right time.  Nicole Kidman plays Sarah Ashley, an English woman whose husband owns a ranch in the wilderness of Australia.  The ranch is failing and is in danger of being bought by a local business owner, King Carney (Bryan Brown).  Ashley hires a local by the name of Drover (Hugh Jackman) to help drive her cattle to a shipyard in order to save the ranch.  There’s also a secondary story about the indigenous people of Australia, represented by a young boy named Nullah (Brandon Walters) who’s father is a white man.

Many people complain of the film’s length and dull second half.  It’s true, this film is roughly 2 1/2 hours, and the transition from a great first act is rough.  The plot switches from an adventurous trek through the Australian outback to a more serious tone when the Japanese fleet approaches the port city of Darwin.  The final 30 or so minutes depict the Bombing of Darwin in February of 1942, and the subsequent aftermath.  While it’s a nice set piece, it feels a bit out of place and doesn’t mesh too well with the rest of the film.

It’s a satisfying movie overall and one worth checking out.  Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman have excellent chemistry together and they really sell the love story.  Also, Brandon Walters never gets annoying as many child characters do in these kinds of movies.  He’s like the Short Round to Jackman’s Drover.  I can’t wait for the home video release of this, as I have a feeling 20th Century Fox will give it some really nice features, a la Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge!.

8/10

January 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

Former 1up/EGM Members Back On The Rise

The donations just keep pouring in.  Thanks to monetary support from loyal fans, several members at eat sleep game and talking orange have reported that they’ll be back podcasting soon.  Keep up the support!  It doesn’t have to be through donations, as long as word-of-mouth keeps spreading about these new podcasts, we’re sure to see the next evolution of the 1up Show very soon.

RebelFM has also reported over 200 submissions for a writing position, so hopefully this means eat sleep game could turn into a viable gaming site sometime in the future (right now it’s more of a personal website).

Also, the folks at talking orange will have something up either this Friday or next.

January 13, 2009 at 7:09 am Leave a comment

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