The December 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
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Brothers
While nothing this month stands out as an awards season frontrunner, there’s lots of potential Oscar suitors to choose from, and isn’t it more interesting that way?
DECEMBER 4
Wide
ARMORED
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Armored truck guard (Columbus Short) agrees to inside heist with his co-workers (Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Skeet Ulrich), but changes his mind when someone (Milo Ventimiglia) gets hurt.
WILL IT SUCK?
All eyes on Kontroll director Nimrod Antal, who failed to impress with his American debut, Vacancy. Also not encouraging, the let’s-reveal-everything trailer. A little more pressure added since Antal’s directing Predators, until you remember that Predators probably isn’t a good idea to begin with.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Not much action to compete with. $57mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Maybe if Sidney Lumet directed.
BROTHERS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Guy (Jake Gyllenhaal) comforts his recently widowed sister-in-law (Natalie Portman) like, you know, Biblically. Then his brother (Tobey Maguire) returns from the war. Turns out he wasn’t dead after all. Awk-ward.
WILL IT SUCK?

[Read more…]

The Ten Most Dubious Films included in the Criterion Collection

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I just wrote a snarky little listicle for Vice:

To be released by Criterion is the benchmark of excellence. Their 25-year-old catalog includes indispensable work from masters including Cocteau, Renoir, Maysles, Kubrick, Cronenberg, Godard, Kurosawa, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Sturges, and, of course, Fellini.
It’s an impressive list of talent, which is why you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the director responsible for film #40 in their catalog. Michael Bay. That’s right, Michael Bay, the dung beetle of cinematic vapidity, best known for his unparalleled skill at rolling oversized balls of shit into our nation’s cineplexes. If you’re not familiar with his work–is this possible?–Bay is responsible for Bad Boys I & II, Pearl Harbor, and Transformers, not to mention the career of Megan Fox. (She hates him too). Currently, Bay is remaking The Birds, which I’m assuming will be re-imagined to include a bikini-clad Maxim covergirl who blows away blood-sucking zombie pigeons with a grenade launcher.

Check out the list here.

The October 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
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A Serious Man
Is it wrong of me to be more psyched about Black Dynamite than Where the Wild Things Are?
October 2
ZOMBIELAND
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Jesse Eisenberg of the Dead
WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. Also starring Woody Harrelson, Mila Kunis and Abigail Breslin. Don’t know much about the creators, but the trailer’s a hoot.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
More Shaun of the Dead than Scream. $18mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
Best Zombie Kill. Give it time. The Academy will get there.
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WHIP IT
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Ellen Page gets into roller derby.
WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. The directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. With Alia Shawkat, Kristen Wiig, Zoe Bell, Marcia Gay Harden, and Daniel Stern. And roller derby handles like Malice in Wonderland and Eva Destruction.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Similarly demo’d Fame crashed and burned, but this has more names. $44mil.

[Read more…]

New Wes Anderson 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' Trailer

Thankfully, this one is much better than the first. There are also some cool featurettes over at fantasticmrfoxmovie.com. Look for the film on November 25th

[Check it out in HD here]

Tonight: "Wildwood, NJ" at Union Pool

Union Pool is screening Ruthless Films’ “Wildwood, NJ” – a 1994 documentary and unintentional precursor to MTV’s “True Life: I’m a Jersey Shore Girl” – at 9pm tonight. @UnionPool also announced that Maker’s Mark will be providing cocktails.There’s probably no better way to bid adieu to summer than by sipping whiskey and laughing at beach-folk’s personal problems and social myopia, so post-Labor Day Tuesday is perfect timing to see the movie.
Watch the video below for a sample of the amazingness that was mid-’90s Wildwood. SPOILER: fake nails, heterosexual whimsy, and girls who love physical altercations abound. If you can’t be on hand at the screening tonight, you can also buy a copy of “Wildwood, NJ” directly from Ruthless’ website (highly recommended).

The September 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
[Check out Dave’s amazing new project straight2dvdmovies.com]
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Extract
The month begins and ends with thrillers about people who live their lives through androids or other people while they stay at home. Think Hollywood’s getting a little passive aggressive about people who don’t go out to the movies?
September 4
GAMER
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Gamers control real-life death row inmates as if they were characters in an first-person shooter.
WILL IT SUCK?
From the guys who gave you Crank and Crank 2, so expect lots of stylized action…and not much else. Interesting cast: Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall, Zoe Bell, Alison Lohman, Milo Venitmiglia, John Leguizamo, Keith David, Kyra Sedgwick, Efren Ramirez, Sam Witwer, and Chris ‘Ludacris” Bridges.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Probably about as well as any late summer/early fall action flick (like, say, Crank). $28mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
I’m not sure the Academy knows what a gamer is.
——————————————————————
EXTRACT
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
Factory Space
WILL IT SUCK?
Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy) has a proven track record. Cast is hot: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristin Wiig, J.K. Simmons, and David Koechner.
HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Will probably do well for a Mike Judge film, which isn’t very good. $20mil.
WILL ANYBODY REMEMBER IT AT OSCAR TIME?
If they didn’t recognize Office Space
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CARRIERS
WHAT’S THE PITCH?
You know those tough who lives/who dies decisions you have to make during a zombie attack? Same ones generally come up during a global viral outbreak.

[Read more…]

Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' Remade As 'Brooklyn'


[via]
After the jump, the opening scene to Woody Allen’s classic. (And my favorite opening scene from any film, well, ever).

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Bushwick Film Festival Kicks Off Tonight

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The third annual Bushwick Film Festival will begin tonight at 6 pm at Lumenhouse. Tickets are $8 a day or $20 for the entire weekend – and that includes unlimited free beer. So head to 47 Beaver Street and get your movie-watching drink on.
From the organizers:

“The THIRD ANNUAL BUSHWICK FILM FESTIVAL features three days of screenings, Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, and music. More than two dozen shorts and full-length narrative films and documentaries will be screened as well as an art show titled SUM OF NOTHING curated by recent SVA grad and BFF’s Art Director Sarah O’Donoghue.”

For more information please see www.bushwickfilmfestival.com.