31 March 2009

News good and bad

First, the good ... Director David Cronenberg told MTV News that he is moving forward with a sequel to his superb 2007 film Eastern Promises. DO NOT follow the link if you have not seen the film, as it reveals a crucial plot twist. Without giving it away, the ending made the movie—though it was satisfying on its own—feel like a small part of a much larger story. When it was over, I wanted to see more of Viggo Mortensen's Nikolai and the Russian gangsters operating in London's underworld. Viggo and Cronenberg will have their hands full trying to top Eastern Promises, but given that they have made not one but two excellent films together (see also: A History of Violence), I think they will be up to the task.

Eastern Promises

Now for the downer ... Actor/musician Andy Hallett, best known as the green-skinned, karaoke-singing demon Lorne on the TV series Angel, died Sunday, of congestive heart failure at the age of 33. Apparently, he had been suffering from heart problems for the past five years, problems so severe that they had virtually ended his acting career. Andy was always such a warm presence on Angel, a show that went to some awfully dark places. He was far from a household name, but he had many fans (I'm one of them), who I'm sure are sending their thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

Andy Hallett


Andy Hallett

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut is "based on the true story," but that matters little to me. Wherever its origins lie, a movie lives or dies on its own merits. Even if the events depicted actually happened, a movie should be well acted, intelligently written and competently filmed to be worth your time and money.

Too often, I feel, movies—particularly in the horror genre (think The Amityville Horror)—use the "based on the true story" preface as a crutch, as if it somehow adds weight and importance.

Back to The Haunting in Connecticut.

23 March 2009



In Duplicity, writer-director Tony Gilroy's follow-up to his superb Michael Clayton (2007), nothing is what it seems. Always keep that in mind as twists and double crosses are doled out at every turn. It plays like a more sophisticated Ocean's Eleven, the extra heft coming from its corporate setting.

The lead roles of former MI6 operative Ray Koval and ex-CIA agent Claire Stenwick all but but cry out for movie stars, and Clive Owen and Julia Roberts fit the bill. The movie is at its best when they share the screen. There is an old Hollywood charm and chemistry to their verbal sparring, the banter and energy between them sizzling.

Roberts has appeared mostly in supporting roles this decade, so seeing her in a star turn now feels fresh again. Owen plays everything so slick and smooth that when he's rattled it's enough to do the same to the audience.

20 March 2009

I Love You, Man

I Love You, Man

The so-called “bromance” has become one of the more prevalent comedy subgenres. Producer-writer-director Judd Apatow has been its champion, bringing us classics like Superbad, along with more forgettable fare, such as Step Brothers and Pineapple Express.

The typical “bromance” follows the expected beats of a romantic comedy, only it’s not about the love between a man and woman, but the friendship of two men. They used to be called “buddy movies.” These films are, in fact, about love—in their own raunchy, staunchly heterosexual way. I Love You, Man, one of the best “bromances” to date, does not even try to hide from that.

The movie—which, like last fall’s Role Models, is not an Apatow production but feels like it is—begins with sensitive Los Angeles real estate agent Peter Klaven, played by The Great Paul Rudd, proposing to Zooey (Rashida Jones, formerly of “The Office”). She immediately shares the news with her closest friends, while Peter is content to call his parents the next day and tell his co-workers on Monday.

19 March 2009

Linkorama: 'I Love You, Man' edition

- The A.V. Club interviews Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.

- The New York Times profiles Paul Rudd.

- EURweb interviews Rashida Jones.

- Canada.com has a story on Jason Segel.

- "Is John Hamburg the new Judd Apatow?" asks The Los Angeles Times.

- MTV.com chronicles "The History of the Bromance."

- Geddy Lee of Rush talks to Entertainment Weekly about his band's appearance in the movie.

13 March 2009


I'm toying with the idea of picking random movies on DVD and reviewing them when I haven't seen a new release (maybe not so random; they will be movies I enjoy). We'll see if I have the time and motivation to do that. I can report that next week I will have a review of "I Love You, Man," another funny movie with the great Paul Rudd. Until then, enjoy these links ...

- Baltimore Sun movie critic Mike Sragow points out the similarities between Watchmen and The Incredibles, and explains why The Incredibles is the vastly superior film. I have to agree.

- Results from a contest in which entrants changed one letter in a movie's title and created a poster for it.

- An amusing, movie-related brief from The Onion.

- The A.V. Club interviews British comedian Russell Brand. I haven't seen his new standup special on Comedy Central, but he stole the show as rock star Aldous Snow last year in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

That is all.

11 March 2009


I am going to try to post here more often, even if it is just a collection of links I find interesting. Speaking of ...

- The A.V. Club has an interview with Nathan Fillion, star of the new ABC series "Castle." You might remember him from such TV series as "Firefly" and such movies as "Serenity," "Slither" and "Waitress."

- Another good one from The A.V. Club: an interview with Wes Craven, focusing mostly on "The Last House on the Left," both the 1972 original and the remake, which hits theaters Friday.

- The legal battle between novelist Clive Cussler and Crusader Entertainment over the "Sahara" script could end up costing him $28 million. Ouch. The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

- Watchmen screenwriter David Hayter is practically begging fans to see the movie again this weekend.

- Steven Spielberg is quietly finishing up his work on "Tintin," his much-discussed collaboration with Peter Jackson.

- Alex Proyas, whose new film "Knowing" hits theaters March 20, is guest blogging at /Film and taking a look back at "Dark City."

- Nominations for the Saturn Awards, which recognize movies and TV shows in the science fiction, fantasy, horror and action/adventure/thriller genres, have been announced. "The Dark Knight" and "Lost" received the most nods.

05 March 2009



Apparently, comic book fans have been waiting for a film adaptation of Watchmen for a long time. It’s been in various stages of development ever since DC Comics published the limited series, later packaged as a “graphic novel,” in 1986.

Written by Alan Moore (who refused to be credited on the movie due to his dissatisfaction with adaptations of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, “Watchmen” was hailed as revolutionary in the comic book world. It’s publication has been described as the moment when comic books “came of age.” In 2005, Time included it on its list of the “100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.”

I know this because Wikipedia knows this.