Please enable javascript to view this site.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
🦃 PODCAST: Seeing #COCO today? I chat with co-director #AdrianMolina about the collision between Latino and America… https://t.co/qjk33gX3zO

The Latest in ShowBiz News

Alejandro Arbona

By

2008/08/16 at 12:00am

Tropic Thunder

08.16.2008 | By |

Rated: R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
Release Date: 2008-08-15
Starring: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Etan Cohen
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: NULL
Official Website: http://www.tropicthunder.com/

Go to our film page

Tropic Thunder

“Tropic Thunder”, the new comedic vehicle by Ben Stiller and his pals, kicks off with a assault on the audience so unexpected and so enormously funny that it takes you totally by surprise and disarms you completely. Unfortunately, though “Tropic Thunder” is pretty good at several other points, this sequence ends up being the funniest in the entire movie.

It’s the story of three Hollywood actors from very different genres, who join forces to shoot a Vietnam-war melodrama. Ben stiller is Tugg Speedman, an action star whose career has suffered after his recent choices of roles, namely that of a developmentally disabled character he played hoping to win an Oscar in a movie called “Simple Jack.” Roberto Downey Jr., on the other hand, plays Kirk Lazarus, an Australian five-time Oscar-winner, who goes after roles for the challenge of becoming wholly new and different people foreign to his own reality; in the film-within-a-film also called “Tropic Thunder,” he plays an African-American soldier, a role for which Lazarus/Downey Jr. has had his skin dyed and his hair curled. And Jack Black plays Jeff Portnoy, a gross-out comedy star whose biggest success has been playing multiple roles as each member of a flatulent, obese family, and who’s joined the cast of the weighty Vietnam picture because he’d like to be taken seriously as an artist. Brandon T. Jackson also appears as a hip-hop star called Alpa Chino (read the name out loud if you don’t see the gag), and Jay Baruchel as Kevin Sandusky, a rookie actor on his first production, surrounded by big stars. Finally, the outstanding cast is rounded out by the British actor/comedian Steve Coogan as Damien Cockburn, the film’s director; Nick Nolte as Four Leaf Tayback, the Vietnam vet whose war memoirs were the basis for the screenplay; Matthew McConaughey as Rick Peck, Speedman’s aggressive agent; and Tom Cruise in a prosthetic belly and bald cap, as the villainous Les Grossman, the head of the studio.

The actors are generally excellent, above all Downey Jr. The exception to a strong cast for me was Ben Stiller, a comedic star I personally find to be very limited in the versatility of his characters and improvisations (notice how similar most or all of his film characters are; they tend to be hostile, overbearing, extremely dumb, or all three). The same goes for Tom Cruise, whose character turns out to be a one-note joke; the novelty of seeing Tom Cruise in disguise and playing such an unpleasant character was a gag that got old fast, and a role to which Cruise didn’t bring anything more.

The movie does have its grand comic moments, and some even hilarious. When it weakens is when the story becomes too dense; separate subplots play out onscreen, but Stiller’s unskilled hand as director treats all of them with equal importance, and the audience is distracted by narratives that should have just been extremely minor subplots. What’s more, enormous stretches of time pass in the film’s over-long running time when we don’t see or hear from one character or another, creating a very uneven story during the middle part of the movie.

Nevertheless, “Tropic Thunder” redeems itself and entertains the audience enormously during its stronger parts, and it even has its truly brilliant moments.

One separate note: The subject of a Caucasian actor playing an African-American man and verging on blackface buffoonery has turned out not to provoke the negative reaction you would have imagined, and I think rightly so, because it’s an issue of satire and what that character as a Hollywood star is willing to do. However, the element that has drawn criticism and even a boycott after all is the melodramatic, Oscar-bait role Tugg Speedman (Stiller) had played in his previous outing, “Simple Jack” about a developmentally disabled young man. Stiller is certainly less deft as an actor than Downey Jr., and plays that fictional part with less seriousness – because even a comedic character has to take himself totally seriously, even if the audience laughs at him. And maybe it’s because of the broad, exaggerated absurdity of Stiller’s performance in the part, but several groups dedicated to the rights and dignity of people with disabilities have organized a boycott of “Tropic Thunder.” I respect their motives wholeheartedly, but I don’t personally agree with them; the character is nothing more than a skewering of Hollywood actors and these roles they play, whether for the challenge of embodying a character they couldn’t possibly fully understand, or to raise awareness of the disadvantages faced by different groups in society, or as in the case of Tugg Speedman in “Simple Jack,” to show off their dramatic chops and try to win an Oscar. It’s not disrespectful of people with disabilities, in my opinion, but just Hollywood satire, and I’m confident that was Stiller’s intention as writer, director and actor.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/15 at 12:00am

Mike Myers joins Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Bastards’

08.15.2008 | By |

Mike Myers joins Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards'

Mike Myers has been recruited by Quentin Tarantino to join the ensemble cast of “Inglorious Bastards,” the Tarantino-scripted pic that the Weinstein Co. and Universal will put into production Oct. 13 in Germany.

Myers will play British Gen. Ed Fenech, a military mastermind who takes part in hatching a plot to wipe out Nazi leaders.

Brad Pitt recently committed to star in the film, along with Eli Roth, and Tarantino is also courting Simon Pegg, Nastassja Kinski, David Krumholtz and B.J. Novak.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/14 at 12:00am

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior

08.14.2008 | By |

Rating: 2.0

Rated: PG-13 for violence, and sexual content including references.
Release Date: 2008-08-19
Starring: Randall McCormick
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: No disponible.

 Go to our film page

See how the legend of The Scorpion King began!  When a young Mathayus witnesses his father’s death at the hands of the king (UFC Champion Randy Couture), his quest for vengeance transforms him into the most feared warrior of the ancient world.  From the producers of The Mummy and the director of Resident Evil: Extinction and Highlander comes a heroic adventure filled with heart-stopping action and thrilling visual effects!

 

Experience pulse-pounding action and see how the Scorpion King legend was born when the highly-anticipated prequel The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior comes to DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def on August 19, 2008 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. An adrenaline-fueled adventure of epic proportions, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior takes viewers back to the beginning of the saga of Mathayus, the young warrior who would become the fearsome Scorpion King. Directed by Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction, Highlander), the film stars world-renowned, five-time Ultimate Fighting Championship winner  Randy Couture.  The DVD is priced at $29.98 SRP and the Blu-ray version at $39.98 SRP.

In addition, a special Scorpion King Warrior Pack will be available day and date, containing the new DVD as well as the original action blockbuster DVD, The Scorpion King starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, priced at $36.98 SRP.

“By far Universal’s most ambitious DVD OriginalTM to date, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior raises the made-for-DVD bar to the next level with production values that deliver theatrical-style action, adventure and excitement,” said Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms. “Our strong track record in this arena has encouraged us to pursue this market even more aggressively as of late.  With The Mummy continuing to successfully build on its global popularity and appeal at the box office, we saw a unique opportunity to offer home entertainment consumers a new, engaging experience that embraces the iconic elements they love about this franchise.”

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior is the latest in a series of top-selling Universal DVD Original® releases that includes American Pie Presents: Beta House and Bring It On: In It to Win It. Both the DVD and Blu-ray are packed with behind-the-scenes interviews, exciting deleted scenes and outtakes, and astonishing Scorpion King secrets.

In addition to Couture, the cast of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior features Michael Copon (Bring It On: In It to Win It), Karen David (Batman Begins) and Natalie Becker (The World Unseen).

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/14 at 12:00am

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

08.14.2008 | By |

Rated: PG for some thematic elements.
Release Date: 2008-08-15
Starring: Henry Gilroy, Steve Melching, Scott Murphy
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.starwars.com/theclonewars/

Go to our film page

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Unless you are a hardcore Star Wars fan, it will be difficult for the average moviegoer to remember all six, oh my humble apologies, seven Star Wars film episodes. With that said, in preparation to see the new computer animated ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ film, questions were beginning to emerge in me about George Lucas’ creativity. Is he stuck for eternity in this Star Wars bubble and is he incapable of filming anything else? I believe it is a warranted question. This is the same guy who wrote, directed, casted, and edited ‘American Graffiti’, a cinematic effort that earned him five Oscar nominations in 1974. That is evidence he can do something else outside of ‘the force’ – so why doesn’t he? This, my friends, is the million dollar question.

Lucas has been driven, for some time now, to create this new animated feature to coincide with the launch of his Lucasfilm Animation universe. The movie transports us to the middle of episodes two and three (as communicated to me by a Warner Bros. representative) where Jedi Knights struggle to maintain order and restore peace. Systems are falling prey to the forces of the dark side as the Galactic Republic slips further under the sway of the Separatists. Anakin Skywalker (soon to be Darth Vader) and his Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano (a sort of intern) find themselves on a mission that brings them face-to-face with crime lord Jabba the Hutt. But Count Dooku and his sinister agents, including the nefarious Asajj Ventress, will stop at nothing to ensure that Anakin and Ahsoka fail at their quest. Notable is a cameo of Samuel L. Jackson lending his voice for his character Mace Windu.

Since new characters are introduced here, and not continued in the following adventures of the Jedis, it is hard to say whether or not this film fits in nicely with the rest of the episodes. We will have to wait and see.

Nevertheless, boy was it entertaining! It began with great animated fighting sequences and it kept that tempo throughout the very end, a characteristic that spells out pure fun. I would actually dare to say it was more entertaining than Lucas’ recent Star Wars trilogy – Episodes I, II and III. Most of this decision is based on Hayden Christensen’s vapid and uninspiring acting as Anakin Skywalker in the aforementioned works, resulting in an unmemorable experience. These computer generated ‘actors’ did a better job of engaging me than he.

The premise was easy enough to understand, the characters were likable, the sequences were dynamic and full of brio. The film is obviously for fans of the Star Wars saga, but looking to attract young new legions of fans.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/14 at 12:00am

‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ moves to Summer 09′

08.14.2008 | By |

'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' moves to Summer 09'

Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that it has moved back the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princeto Summer 2009.  The sixth installment of the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise will now open day-and-date domestically and in the major international markets on July 17, 2009.  The announcement was made by Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros.

In making the announcement, Mr. Horn stated, “Our reasons for shifting ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to summer are twofold: we know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment.  Additionally, like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers’ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films—changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of.  We agreed the best strategy was to move ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer.”

Jeff Robinov, President of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, confirmed, “The release date change does not alter the production schedule for this or future Harry Potter films.  Post-production on ‘Half-Blood Prince’ was completed on time, and the studio’s release plans for the two-part ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ will not be affected by this change.  We know Harry Potter fans are eagerly anticipating seeing the final chapters unfold onscreen.  In fact, the good news for them is that the gap will now be shortened between ‘Half-Blood Prince’ and the first part of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’”

Commenting on the release date change for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” David Heyman, the producer of all the Harry Potter films, offered, “When Jeff Robinov explained the rationale behind moving the release date of ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ to July 2009, it was immediately apparent that this offered us the potential to reach the widest possible audience.  I am extremely proud of this latest film and of the work of David Yates and our incomparable cast; I believe we have developed and pushed the series further still.  We are all looking forward to sharing it with Harry Potter fans around the world, even if we have to wait just a bit longer.”

David Yates, the director of both “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and who will also helm “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” added, “It has been a joy to work on ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’  Dan, Rupert and Emma and all our returning young cast continue to blossom, and our new cast members bring fresh color and life to Hogwarts.  Even as we put the finishing touches on this latest film, we are already beginning preparations on the final two films—we start filming in February—and I am excited to bring this remarkable series to the exciting and moving conclusion its loyal fans deserve.”

In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was.  Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching.  Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts.  Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/14 at 12:00am

‘Kung Fu Panda’ to have a sequel

08.14.2008 | By |

'Kung Fu Panda' to have a sequel

Dreamworks is in talks to make a sequel to animated film Kung Fu Panda, the movie studio has confirmed.

Chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told Reuters an announcement could be made within two months.

“We’ve started conversations about it, and I think in the next 30 or 60 days, we’ll be able to talk completely about that,” he said.

Set in China, Kung Fu Panda follows the journey of a clumsy panda in his efforts to become a kung fu warrior.

Voiced by Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu, the film took $560m in global ticket sales and became Dreamworks’ most successful movie, surpassing the Shrek franchise.

Mr Katzenberg was speaking at a screening of clips from Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a sequel to the original 2005 movie featuring the voices of Ben Stiller and Chris Rock.

He added the company would also produce and release at least one, and possibly two, more Madagascar movies after the sequel, which is due out in November in the US.

Alex Florez

By

2008/08/13 at 12:00am

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

08.13.2008 | By |

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality, and smoking.
Release Date: 2008-08-15
Starring: Woody Allen
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA, Spain
Official Website: http://vickycristina-movie.com/

Go to our film page

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Not so long ago, New York based director (at that time, anyway) Woody Allen once confessed to us that the reason there are never any prominent hispanic characters in any of his films is because he sticks to what he knows.  Meaning of course, old Jewish families, upper class Manhattanites and chaotic love affairs that usually flirt with death.  So what does Allen now know about Catalonia and Spanish culture in general that prompts him to set his latest film on the mediterranean coast? Other than that they will finance his films?

To answer my own question, I think the appeal for Allen has been the idea that such sexual promiscuity and emotional confusion also exists outside the realm of New York and in practically every single corner of the globe.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona, his first and most likely last film to be set in Spain, pits Scarlett Johansson (Cristina) and Rebecca Hall (Vicky) as two American friends who decide to spend their summer in Barcelona.  Cristina, more of a wandering spirit, is always on the lookout for adventure, while Vicky on the other hand, is much more sensible and committed to her fiance back home.

But their radically different attitudes towards love are tested when they meet Spanish painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) and his volatile ex-wife Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz).

A case can be made that Allen has made this same film 35 times over (excluding the ‘early funny ones’). As usual, you’ll find plenty of sarcasm, infidelity and yes, a few rounds fired from a gun.  But the plot only sizzles when Penelope Cruz joins the cast.  Her turbulent behavior is wildly reminiscent of Judy Davis’ brilliant performance in Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997). 

Unfortunately, in this film, Cruz is the catalyst for an event that never arrives. The sense that something absurd, tragic and utterly hilarious would take place in the end, the way it did in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) for instance, kept building throughout the film. Instead, it moves right along, one lustful scene after another, wondering what sort of statement it wants to make about ‘love’ that it hasn’t already.

 

Then there’s the mysterious voice over which threads the film together. Totally unnecessary given that it doesn’t really explain anything nor does it provide any insight from an omniscient point of view.

The movie’s funniest moments, without question, rely on the chemistry between Bardem and Cruz, giving way to the little momentum the film manages at times – making Johansson and Hall seem out of touch with the whole ‘Woody Allen genre’.

Hispanics however, will marvel at how well Allen’s neurotic language translates in Spanish. While most of the film is spoken in English, the few scenes where Bardem and Cruz exchange a few words in, are hysterical.  More evidence that these days, the international community seems to get Woody more than we do.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/13 at 12:00am

George Clooney buys rights to ‘The Challenge’

08.13.2008 | By |

George Clooney buys rights to 'The Challenge'

George Clooney is taking a taxi to the dark side.

The multi-tasking thesp has bought the rights to Jonathan Mahler‘s legal thriller The Challenge,” about the long campaign waged by U.S. Navy lawyer Charles Swift and Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal to ensure a fair trial for Salim Hamdan, the bodyguard and driver of Osama bin Laden.

Project will be developed through Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s Smoke House shingle. Deal is believed to be in the low-seven-figure range.

As with any Smoke House project, “The Challenge” remains a potential directing, writing and starring vehicle for Clooney.

A spokesman for Clooney confirmed that no decision had been made yet on what exact role Clooney would take on the project, although some are already speculating that the role of idealistic lawyer Swift may prove a fit for the thesp.

Clooney had been tracking Mahler’s story for some time, and Smoke House execs met with the writer months before the book’s recent publication. While there had been interest from other potential buyers, Clooney’s persistence is believed to have played a key role in persuading Mahler to sign with Smoke House.

Hamdan was sentenced Aug. 7 by a panel of military officers at Guantanamo Bay to a prison term of 66 months, including time already served. The Yemeni-born convict was found guilty of material support for terrorism but cleared of the more serious charges of conspiracy to commit murder, seen by some analysts as a victory for retired naval officer Swift’s efforts.

Mahler’s book ends with the landmark 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the military tribunals ordered for Hamdan and other Guantanamo Bay detainees violated the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code for Military Justice. While Mahler is planning to update the paperback edition of his book to include Hamdan’s trial verdict, it is unclear when Clooney’s bigscreen adaptation of “The Challenge” will end.

Project is the latest in a series of politically charged projects being developed by Smoke House.

Also in the pipeline are dramedy “Escape From Tehran,” recounting the CIA’s attempts to use a fake movie project to smuggle a handful of Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis; “Men Who Stare at Goats,” based on Brit author Jon Ronson’s book about the U.S. Army’s 1st Earth Battalion, which was authorized to use paranormal powers; and “Our Brand Is Crisis,” an adaptation of Rachel Boynton‘s doc about the 2002 Bolivian presidential election, when candidate Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada hired James Carville‘s political consulting firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to help him win.

Mack Chico

By

2008/08/12 at 12:00am

Smart People

08.12.2008 | By |

Rating: 2.5

Rated: R for language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality
Release Date: 2008-04-11
Starring: Mark Poirier
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.smartpeople-themovie.com/

 Go to our film page

Despite its sharp cast and a few laughs, Smart People is too thinly plotted to fully resonate.

This is not Juno. In fact, I don’t think this movie gives anything new that we haven’t known about. People who are intelligent can be so smart that they lose touch on what’s important, they slowly distance themselves from those who care about them without even realizing it. Smart People got a lot of brain but… not enough heart. Yes it’s smart, witty, and occasionally funny but along the way, something is missing. Something that would make it captivating instead of boring, which is what it is.

All I can say is thank heavens Thomas Haden Church is in this movie. His character is probably the most interesting one. He’d come up with smart-ass remarks and comebacks that are entertaining. Not laugh out loud funny, but good enough to keep us from sleeping.

The tone of the movie for the most part is depressing. The filmmaker wants you to see how smart people can be so detached that when they start to feel something, they don’t know what to do with it or they react in the wrong way. Ellen Page’s character’s crush on her uncle, played by Thomas Haden Church is one example.

Dennis Quaid does an excellent job playing a clueless, unhappy professor, Sarah Jessica Parker has a certain charm and cuteness, but would somebody please give Ellen Page some other character to do!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Juno, but what Ellen Page needs now is not another independent movie (Hard Candy, Tracey Fragment, An American Crime).

She should try another big budget project that would challenge her to do a different role in a different style or genre (she was in X-Men 3 by the way)

The movie does okay in depicting a dysfunctional family without being too outrageous and messed up. But you’ll mostly get frustrated with how it can’t seem to carry itself and bring itself to a good conclusion or resolution.

It’s sorta like hearing a note held for the longest time with only a few fillers from time to time, but only a few unfortunately. The self-realization moments aren’t groundbreaking. This movie fails to leave a lasting impression. It’s another independent movie that will easily be forgotten in time.

Alex Florez

By

2008/08/12 at 12:00am

CJ7

08.12.2008 | By |

Rating: 2.5

Rated: PG for strong language.
Release Date: 2008-03-07
Starring: Stephen Chow, Chi Keung Fung, Vincent Kok, Sandy Shaw, Kan-Cheung Tsang
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:Hong Kong
Official Website: http://www.sonyclassics.com/cj7/

 Go to our film page

Select a Page