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Archive for the ‘development’ Category

Blockbuster season is almost over. This weekend we wind down with a lesser sci-fi remake, a teen comedy and a historical epic that I had never heard of until yesterday. We’ve also got some great looking documentaries in limited release.

The Last Legion: Yeah, so until yesterday, I had no idea what this was. It’s pretty easy to get my attention when it comes to movies, so I’m going to go ahead and say that this did not have a very good ad campaign. Which means the studio isn’t so pumped about it. The movie stars Ben Kingsley as Ambrosinus, a shaman who is a mentor to Romulus Augustus, the soon-to-be crowned emperor of the Roman Empire. Colin Firth also stars as what I can only assume is a foppish, stuttering romantic, who wins over the Barbarian insurgents with his puppy-dog eyes, curly hair, and sweet sensibility. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

The Invasion: A remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, clearly making its mark as genuine by taking the “of the Body Snatchers” out of the title. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in this film about an alien virus that attacks you while you sleep. Nicole Kidman jumped at the chance to star, feeling a certain connection with the story, as her husband used to talk to her about Xenu and Dianetics while impairing her judgement with free stress tests and deep tissue massages. This is playing at the Prospect Park Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street. (Also, if you’re interested, BAM is going to begin playing the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers on September 10th.)

Superbad: While the premise to this film, which is being advertised like crazy, may sound similar to most teen comedies, I can assure you that it is much funnier. I had the opportunity to see an advance screening several months ago, and it is definitely the funniest movie I have been to this summer. Michael Cera, who played George Michael on the greatest television show in history, stars alongside Jonah Hill. The two play beautifully off of each other, Cera’s awkward romantic being the perfect bedfellow (once literally) to Hill’s vulgar affability. It was also written by Seth Rogen (who plays a cop in the film) and produced by Judd Apatow. This is definitely my pick of the week. It’s playing at the Prospect Park Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Death at a Funeral: While this is getting mixed reviews thus far, it looks amusing and is directed by Frank Oz, who brought us In & Out, Dave, and the voice of the character Yoda. In my book, that is a delightful combination. The film also includes several great actors, including Rupert Graves, Alan Tudyk and Peter Dinklage. This is playing at BAM and the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and the Landmark Sunshine.

The 11th Hour – Another movie about global warming. This one apparently features less Al Gore giving a Power Point presentation and more Leonardo DiCaprio making pretty at the camera. DiCaprio produced and narrates the film. This is playing at the Sunshine.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters – This documentary chronicles two ex-video gamers who return to compete for the Guinness record for high score at Donkey Kong. I would file this one with Air Guitar Nation as documentaries that are amusing, but don’t really need to be seen in theaters. This is playing at the IFC Center.

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet): This documentary explores the violence and corruption in Brazil from different classes. This film has already won the Cinematography award and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. It’s playing at the Angelika.

Otherwise, The Natural is playing tonight at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Daft Punk’s Electroma is the midnight movie at the Sunshine tomorrow night and next week at McCarren Park on Tuesday is Purple Rain! David Wain’s The Ten is also now playing at BAM.

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Four crappy looking major releases this weekend, with some decent limited releases for those of us lucky enough to live in New York.

Rush Hour 3: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker pair up again, this time in France. If there weren’t enough stereotypical jokes about black people and Asian people in the first two outings, you’ll be happy to know that the French get thrown into the mix here too! Also, if the Chan/Tucker dyad of distaste isn’t enough for you, Roman Polanski makes a cameo as a cop! And he performs an anal cavity search on Chris Tucker! Haven’t you been waiting your whole life to see that? This is playing at Cobble Hill, the United Artists on Court Street and the Park Slope Pavilion.

Roman, preparing for the cavity search.

Stardust: While most of the parts of this movie seem to add up, the trailer did not look very good. Based on a Neil Gaiman novel, Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) directs a pretty awesome cast (Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Peter O’Toole) in a big budget sci-fi adaptation. They’ve been promoting the hell out of this, and so far it’s getting pretty decent reviews. I’m probably still going to wait for video. This is playing at the Park Slope Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Daddy Day Camp:

Email regarding green-lit “Daddy Day Camp” project:

Chet, you old son of a bitch! How was vacay? I just got back from a great pitch meeting. Daddy Day Camp is a go. We couldn’t get Eddie back (I think he’s still acting a little high and mighty after the Oscar nom) but get this – we got an Oscar winner! Take that Axel Foley! Cuba Gooding Jr. will be the lead. And you have to bet that he’ll “show us the money!” I just got Snow Dogs on DVD. I hear it’s a hoot. Anyway, for DDC, we don’t have a script yet, but I’ve got an intern going through the first one and replacing the words “day care” with “day camp,” so we’re golden.

Anyway broham, shoot me back an email. We should hit the town soon, find some babes. I just got some primo blow and that rash finally went away.

Ciao,

Roger “The Rodge” Baker

This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Skinwalkers: I have had trouble finding reviews of this (or much else) leading me to believe that this was not screened early for critics. That is rarely a good sign. It’s about werewolves or something. And it has a stupid title. It’s playing at Village East Cinemas on 2nd Ave.

Rocket Science: This is being publicized as the little indie movie with a heart of gold, a la Little Miss Sunshine. It kind of looks like Chumscrubber mixed with Thumbsucker – you know, a little quirky indie movie that probably has a great soundtrack but isn’t as good as everyone is saying it is. This is playing at the Sunshine.

Descent: Not to be confused with The Descent, everyone’s favorite “female spelunkers get attacked by bloodthirsty cave-dwellers” movie, this is about a woman (Rosario Dawson) who is raped and has to put her life back together. It’s playing at Village East Cinemas on 2nd Avenue.

2 Days in Paris: Julie Delpy wrote and directed this film, which looks similar in style to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset films, but funnier and starring Adam Goldberg instead of Ethan Hawke. It’ll be nice to have a cultural commentary of the French by someone who is actually a native, instead of the above-listed Rush Hour 3, which seems to think that France consists of racist taxi drivers and scantily clad can-can girls. This is playing at the Angelika.

Meanwhile, The Boys in the Band has a midnight screening at the Sunshine tonight, Bonnie and Clyde is playing at McCarren Park on Tuesday and The Natural is playing at Brooklyn Bridge Park next Thursday.

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The summer season is coming to an end, and studios are throwing out the last of their blockbusters. This weekend, that includes one sure-fire hit, and several possible misses.

The Bourne Ultimatum – America’s blander, more straight-edge James Bond is back. In the third in the series, we can undoubtedly expect more car chases, karate, foreign locations and cell-phone yelling (“Where is he? We’ve lost Bourne! Aghhhh!”). These movies, for what they are, tend to be pretty damn entertaining. I’m sure this one will be no exception. Plus, Julia Stiles doesnt have a whole lot going on for herself right now. Playing Save the Last Dance on TBS every five minutes only gets her so much money. Have a heart. She’s cold and her fridge is full of condiments. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Bratz – What’s that? Brats, spelled with a Z instead of an S? I’m so in. In this ten-inch toy to film adaptation, four girls arrive at high school as best friends, and are ruthlessly torn apart by cliques (which are all run by the bitchy Meredith). They then realize that they can stand out and be unique, and decide to fight back again the Meredith’s evil autocracy. Then a character arrives and tells them all that they are staring in a shitty rehash of Mean Girls. The last hour of the film consists of hundreds of teenagers crying at the career paths they’ve chosen. Jon Voight co-stars. And no, I’m not kidding. This is playing at Union Square.

El Cantante – Jennifer Lopez has been laying (J-) low for a while, as this seems to be her first big release in some time. But honestly, after making gems like Monster-in-Law, Jersey Girl and Gigli, you might need a break too. Here she stars with off-screen hubby Marc Anthony in the story of Hector Lavoe, the Salsa “King.” Here’s to hoping she’ll come to be known as “Jenny from the Block…buster.” I know. I hate me too. I cry at night.

Hot Rod – Andy Samberg: wacky internet genius or smarmy Jimmy Fallon-esque butt potato? I’m still on the fence. In this he plays a stuntman named Rod. Weirdly, this movie might be appropriate for his fans and those who hate him, as he spends most of the movie falling down and getting hurt. Johnbaptisedme will clearly be first in line at this one. See you there JBM! You bring the whippits this time, jerk. This is playing at the Pavilion.

Underdog – Jason Lee is officially all grown up. He’s thrown out his skateboard, cleaned up his Kevin Smith-influenced potty mouth, watched chipmunks eat each other’s leavings, joined the Church of Scientology, and is starring in talking dog movies with Jim Belushi. I only hope that we have a Jetsons Meet the Flintstones-esque crossing of My Name is Earl and According to Jim.

Becoming Jane – Becoming Jane takes the story of Shakespeare in Love and turns it on Jane Austen, as we learn of the romantic encounters that inspired the writer’s famous novels. Anne Hathaway plays Jane, and James McAvoy plays Thomas Lefroy. Maggie Smith also costars. I’m pretty sure that at this point, Maggie Smith just magically appears on every British film set on the first day of shooting (or maybe she flies in with an umbrella) and asks where she is needed. This is playing at the Angelika.

The Ten – Many of us here at BS are fans of Stella and The State, so clearly, this movie looks like a dream come true. Kevin Marino and David Wain wrote these short films about the ten commandments, and it is definitely my pick of the weekend. Here’s to hoping that it’s more like Wet Hot American Summer and less like The Baxter. Paul Rudd is in it too. I would pay eleven dollars to watch him silently smile at a camera for an hour and a half at this point. This is playing at the Sunshine.

Otherwise, Brooklyn Bridge Park is playing Hair tonight, The Sunshine is playing The Goonies at midnight on Friday, and McCarren Park is playing Three Kings next Tuesday.

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While Harry Potter mania continues, and half of the population will probably spend the weekend reading, there are still some cinematic diversions worth checking out.

Hairspray: Remember when John Waters released this in the eighties with Divine and Ricki Lake? And then remember when they turned it into a Broadway musical? Well just in case you don’t, here it is again. This recycling process seems to be the new fad, as they’ve done this once already with the Producers, and there are talks of doing it with Spamalot. What’s next? The Wedding Singer? Legally Blonde? Hairspray is getting pretty good reviews, which has to be a surprise for Adam Shankman, the asshole who unleashed Bringing Down the House, Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (how did they think they could top the first one??) and everyone’s favorite Vin Diesel movie, The Pacifier. Somehow, I’m still going to vote nay on this one, and maybe rent the original again. This is playing at the Pavilion, Cobble Hill Cinemas and the United Artists on Court Street.

I Know Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: Two guys have to pretend to be a couple to get their pensions. The problem is…wait for it….they’re not gay! They’re totally dudely and not gay at all! So they have to pretend to be gay, but they’re not! They have to be all gay and stuff, when really they just want to be straight dudes. Get it? Straight dudes acting gay! Are you laughing yet? If the rest of this movie isn’t insultingly stupid enough for you, perhaps you’ll like Rob Schneider’s channeling of Mr. Yunioshi. This is playing at the Pavilion as well as the United Artists on Court Street.

Sunshine: Alex Garland and Danny Boyle team up again for a new sci-fi flick about a team of astronauts who have to revitalize the sun. While this plot sounds pretty stupid and similar to movies like The Core, Armageddon and Deep Impact, I have much more faith in this one. After all, Alex Garland and Danny Boyle brought us the awesomeness that was 28 Days Later (and not it’s inferior sequel). Also, I’ll see pretty much anything with Cillian Murphy. This is my pick of the week. It’s playing, appropriately enough, at the Landmark Sunshine.

There are also three opening in limited release.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: I haven’t really heard anything about this movie. All I know is that it’s about teenagers, it’s a horror movie and it has a stupid title.

Cashback: This film is about an art student who works at a supermarket. It’s mounted a pretty decent advertising campaign for an indie movie with no stars, and the preview looked interesting enough. It’s playing at Quad Cinemas.

Goya’s Ghost: Milos Forman has made some great movies in the past, including Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flynt. There are talented actors in this like Stellan Skarsgard and Javier Bardem. Goya is an interesting character. But honestly, I really just want to see this because it features Randy Quaid in a powdered wig. This is playing at the Angelika.

And that’s everything opening this weekend. Otherwise, Brooklyn Bridge Park is screening The Muppets Take Manhattan tonight, the Sunshine is playing a midnight show of Back to the Future tomorrow night, Bryant Park is screening The Sting on Monday, and McCarren Pool is screening Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains on Tuesday.

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If you haven’t been by Coney Island yet, you better get on down. Astroland is set to close in September.

Despite the recent alterations in the plans, it’s pretty much accepted that all the grimy ole amusement feel will be cleaned off and polished. Rockabilly kids probably will be replaced by people with time shares, the old facades torn down, hot dog stands replaced by restaurants, freak shows replaced by concerts…

So I say take the F train down, enjoy the atmosphere, play in the glassy sand, take the bumper cars for a drive, build sand castles, see some freaks, go to a burlesque show, and play some skee ball, ride your favorite ride till you’re dizzy…because who knows what the next Coney Island will bring.

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Another weekend without Ratatouille. There are some other options, but I don’t think I’ll be truly happy until I see a rat running around a kitchen with a bunch of French chefs yelling “Sacré bleu!” and twisting their mustaches. But I digress. Here are your choices if you want to escape the heat by watching some movies this weekend:

A Mighty Heart – Michael Winterbottom is one of the most talented directors working today, and manages to jump from genre to genre with great ease. He has done comedy (24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story), science fiction (Code 46), drama (Road to Guantanamo, Welcome to Sarajevo) and what was basically artsy porn (9 Songs). Now he is directing the real life story of Mariane Pearl, whose husband Daniel was kidnapped in Pakistan. Advanced reviews are strong, focusing mainly on Winterbottom’s ability to tell a compelling story without being manipulative or schmaltzy. This is my pick of the week. It’s playing in Brooklyn at Cobble Hill Cinemas as well as the cinema on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Evan Almighty – Jim Carrey movie sequels (and prequels) that don’t star Jim Carrey tend to be not so good. Take, for example, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, or Son of the Mask. Here we have a spin-off of Bruce Almighty, an already pretty crappy Jim Carrey movie which this time focuses on Steve Carrell’s character. It is also the most expensive comedy ever made. This will be playing at the Prospect Park Pavillion as well as the Court Street United Artists.

1408 – John Cusack’s daughter dies, after which he becomes obsessed with death and the supernatural. He checks into a notoriously haunted hotel room, hoping to see some ghosts and his dead daughter. When he doesn’t, he stands outside the hotel window holding up a boombox and plays Peter Gabriel at full volume. This one is also playing at the Prospect Park Pavillion and the Court Street United Artists.

You Kill Me – A Buffalo hitman (Ben Kingsley) with a drinking problem is relocated to San Francisco and starts attending AA meetings. He meets his sponsor, played by Luke Wilson, and gets a job at a mortuary where he falls for Laurel (Tea Leoni). The director, John Dahl, has directed some highly underrated films (Joy Ride, Rounders). Sadly, this film stars Tea Leoni, and as long as I live I will never forgive her for taking David Duchovny from The X-Files. She’s a jerk. This is playing at the Angelika.

It could have been so beautiful. Damn you, Leoni.

Black Sheep – Honestly, if this were getting better reviews, I’d be pretty excited purely because of the plot. A genetic engineering project goes awry and turns all the sheep in New Zealand (where sheep out-number people ten to one) into bloodthirsty predators. Tell me that doesn’t sound kick ass. This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Broken English – Another Parker Posey movie about being a neurotic Manhattanite. Is she honestly just paying people to film her everyday life and then periodically releasing footage as her latest film? Don’t get me wrong, I love Parker Posey, but for serious, she could stand to branch out a little bit. Zoe R. Cassavettes, daughter of legendary director John Cassavettes, makes her second film in seven years. This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

In terms of midnight shows, there are screenings of Brazil at the Landmark Sunshine, Serenity on Saturday at Cinema Village on 12th Street, and Hard Boiled is playing at 10:30pm on Saturday at the IFC Center.

Next week: Ratatouille. Get excited.

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Since May 4th (the release of Spider-Man 3), there has been a new sequel or remake in major release every weekend for six weeks. This weekend we go into week seven of a nine week course with the release of yet another sequel. But don’t panic, there are some other fun and original releases this weekend.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The only way they had any chance of continuing this franchise was to add the Silver Surfer. I saw the first one in theaters in North Carolina while visiting my grandparents at their retirement home. My grandparents were going to take a nap, so my options included getting out of the house and seeing a movie (F4 being the only one I hadn’t seen) or walking around a retirement home and maybe playing a pick-up shuffleboard game with an octegenarian. I wish I had chosen the latter. This movie will undoubtedly suck, but the Silver Surfer special effects look amazing. And where’s Galactus?


Nancy Drew: I love chubby children. From Chunk in The Goonies to the kid from Bad Santa, these kids just crack me up. And now comes another one. His name is Josh Flitter. I don’t really care about this movie beyond this little kid. I mean, look at him.

DOA: Dead or Alive: A bunch of hot women go to a secret fighting competition where it’s kill or be killed. This one is apparently so bad that it has been pushed back for over a year and even its cast members are down on it. Although this does have potential to be in the “so bad it’s good” category, this is definitely not worth admission price. It’s playing at the Loews on Third Ave.

Eagle vs. Shark: This one kind of looks like a kiwi Napoleon Dynamite, or is certainly being marketed that way. Jemaine Clement, who has a new show coming out on HBO, stars as Jarrod, a socially awkward electronics store salesman who falls for Lily, a fast food check-out girl. Although the trailer was funny, this is probably still just worth a rental. It’s playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Fido: This is definitely my pick of the week. After Earth goes through a cloud of space dust, the dead starting walking the Earth again. We win a war against the zombies, and start employing them as servants. Kind of sounds like it could pick up where Shaun of the Dead left off. Sadly, this is only playing at the Angelika.

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