ENJOY THE MOVIES
This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the British Parliament passing the act to abolish the slave trade. In response and memoriam of a deplorable past, many have found comfort and fellowship by singing the most famous hymn of the era - Amazing Grace by John Newton. The film by the same name doesn't speak as loudly as the traditional song, but the tune it carries still has the melody of inspiration and heart. Amazing Grace, from well-established director Michael Apted, provides an entertainingly biopic look at a man and era that is unfortunately forgotten.
Debbie Isitt has managed to make a mildly endearing (and thankfully very original) film that tackles the trivial finite details and hopefully prevailing love that surrounds a wedding. Through the use of the surprisingly little-used genre, "mockumentary," Confetti has distinctive human warmth that often gets overlooked in typical narrative storytelling.
The story is relatively simple, but it's the complex characters and on screen chemistry that really shines. Confetti, a major bridal magazine, has served as host to an annual competition of "The Best Wedding," in which the winner is selected by a panel for the three separate weddings. To avoid the conventional idea of the wedding and to bring in more income, the editor of Confetti announces that this year they will shift gears and make the competition into the "Most Original Wedding."
Finding a good place to begin this review seems to be one of the hardest things I've had to do recently, in actuality it's the second; the hardest thing I've had to do recently has been to concentrate on Brian De Palma's latest thriller, The Black Dahlia. Now that doesn't mean that this film was completely unentertaining, just that it takes some effort on the audience's part to turn this crime drama into something completely satisfying. The Black Dahlia, though visually stunning (as seems to be the critical consensus), left me rather empty.
The film features the struggle of two L.A. police officers, Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) as they attempt to uncover the mystery behind a bizarre murder. The "Black Dahlia Murder," as it becomes known, leads these two officers of the law away from one nasty case and into another. They find their own weaknesses and corruption leading them off the course of uncovering the mystery of the murder, but seemingly unimportant events, however, have a way of coming back.
In my daily ramblings of movie related news and articles, I stumbled upon an interesting piece from USAToday.com that looks at the struggling theater market and the possible causes of this struggle. These causes include, but are not limited to, the rise in popularity of "low-fidelity" outlets of entertainment such as iPods and cell phones as well as the inconvenience (in terms of price and proximity) of the "high-fidelity" outlets, such as major concerts, and more importantly to us at FirstShowing.net, movie theaters.
The first task here, which the article from USA Today does pretty well, is to briefly define what we mean when we use the "low/high fidelity" phrases. Kevin Maney writes, "Techies describe fidelity as the total experience of something. Seeing a movie in a packed theater, with its wide screen and the social aspect of a crowd, is a higher-fidelity experience than watching a movie on a home system. Seeing a movie at home is, in turn, a greater-fidelity experience than viewing a movie on a cellphone." So there it is, the all-encompassing atmosphere of our daily lives, in particular, going to the movies. For the staff at FirstShowing.net, our goal right at the outset of our site was to make the movie going experience as fun and exciting as it can possibly be.
A few weeks ago, we ran an announcement from MTV.com pertaining to the release of Mike Judge's anticipated comedy, Idiocracy. Well, at that point, all we had was bad news as the release had been moved to "postponed indefinitely." Fortunately for all the Office Space fans out there, myself included, there is now a little wrinkle of hope. I stumbled upon this article from filmrot.com that has some very valuable information.
The movie about a man who wakes up a thousand years in the future only to discover that he is the smartest man alive has officially come out of hibernation and will be released on the originally set Sep. 1st date, but only in seven locations. The locations are Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, Austin, Dallas, and Houston. If you happen to live in or near one of these locations, lucky you- go out and see the movie. Be sure to stop back here and leave a comment, as it may be harder for us to see it than you.Â The movie should move out to a wider release depending on how it plays out in those theaters, so make it happen.
With Mark Wahlberg's appearance as Vince Papale in the anticipated inspirational Invincible just around the corner, I got to thinking about sports movies in general. There are a lot of sports movies out there that I don't like because I usually find the stories too overdone and repetitive. But every now and then, a sports movie comes along that has something special, and these are those movies:
Kevin Smith, the acclaimed director of some comedy classics such as Clerks and Mallrats, has officially announced his entrance into the horror genre. Moviehole.net had the opportunity to interview Smith on the matter while he was promoting his newest comedy Clerks II. While they couldn't get any exact particulars relating to the plot, they were able to get some great information regarding Kevin Smith's love of the genre, how he wants his horror movie to turn out, and most importantly, how he doesn't want it to turn out.
"Next up I want to do a horror movie. I just think it would be kinda interesting - for me at least - to go left. I've made seven comedies, or variation thereof, and some people would argue that none of them are funny. But it would be nice to make a horror movie. An intentional horror movie, not like Jersey Girl. [much laughter]. It's a genre that I grew up watching on VHS and on cable when I was a kid", said Smith.
It appears, that Hollywood is saying that it's tired of loosing money because of superstar "act-outs" like Tom Cruise. Part of the less-than-desirable box office for Mission Impossible: 3 could have and probably was attributed to Tom Cruises' public proclamations regarding scientology, medicine, and his new baby Suri. But it appears that Paramount has made it clear about where they stand on the issue by dropping their production deal with the Star. Cinematical, where I found this news had this to say: "-is big Hollywood trying to be pro-active, making sure star behavior doesn't affect the bottom line? Or is it just the economic realities of a fading star's trajectory? At this time, there was no formal response from Cruise or his producing partner Paula Wagner-" You can read the entire article at their website here.
Perhaps Paramount is just starting a trend. They may be telling other members of the Hollywood stronghold that the big-name stars don't call the shots and if these said stars (I didn't want to mention the name, but here it is anyway-Mel Gibson) act in a way that is undesirable to the studio or the movies' performance in the cinemas in general. If this trend is set in motion, we may be seeing less of the stars that are reported to lack professionalism on and off the set *cough Lindsey Lohan cough *, but would that necessarily be a bad thing. Let me know what you think about the stars and studios.
When you take away the super-star actors with $20 million price tags on their necks, big-budget special effects, and studios who's only concern is the return on investment, you get down to what movies should be all about: a good story. And the independently driven Little Miss Sunshine is just that: it's a good story. Contrary to common misconception, a movie can make you roll on the floor laughing and be entirely serious at the same time, and Little Miss Sunshine proves this in almost every scene.
The movie features an entire family (with no particular family member sticking out in importance) who are all in this thing together. This thing I speak of is an 800-mile road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California. This kind of trip would be tolerable at best with a family comprised of a failed motivational speaker of a dad (Kinear), a troubled smoking mother (Collette), a foul-mouthed grandpa with a drug problem (Arkin), a post-suicidal former Proust scholar gay uncle (Carrell), a Nietzsche-following people-hating silent brother (Dano), and an over-eager beauty pageant following little girl (Breslin), but an old VW bus with a broken clutch puts the trip way over the top.
As some may already be aware, a combined trailer to Clint Eastwood's two highly anticipated war epics, Flags of Our Fathers and Red Sun, Black Sand, has been released on Warner Brothers' Japanese site. And right at the start you know that something good is upon us. From the looks of things, I think that Clint Eastwood may already (though I shouldn't get too ahead of myself) be making room in his Oscar case. Both films featured in the trailer have the same overall tone, that is, it's hard to differentiate between the two films. This similarity in films will definitely help paint a broader picture of the battle at Iwo Jima when it is seen from both sides (Flags of Our Fathers shows the battle from the perspective of the six men featured in the famous picture, while Red Sun, Black Sand shows it through the eyes of the Japanese).
Of the many future releases I am highly anticipating, few match up to the hype I was feeling for Mike Judge's upcoming screwball comedy: Idiocracy. To my own disbelief and horror (and possibility to yours too if you are as big a fan of Office Space as I am) the release has been changed from September 1st to "Postponed Indefinitely," which we know could lead to some very bad news in the future.
I know this is skipping ahead a little bit (with Pirates opening just this weekend), but I feel it necessary to express how important Lady in the Water is to its writer/director, M. Night Shyamalan.
Night, whose name has become almost synonymous with the supernatural and twist endings, is at a very dangerous and risky point in his career as a director. Because of his amazingly surprising The Sixth Sense in 1999, he has basically been green lighted for almost any idea he has, good or not (which may lead him down a path similar to Stephen King's where the stories become more clichÃ© than interesting).