Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of the Year Update: Trailergasm Edition

Okay, Trailergasm has been slacking as of late, so here it is, the end of the year massive update on the best trailers out there for movies still to come in the future (in no particular order):

"Transformers: The Dark of the Moon" - July 1, 2011

The third installment of Michael Bay's franchise has got to be better than "Revenge of the Fallen". No Megan Fox? Sure, we'll miss that face, but not that acting. This third act is going to be a huge improvement over the second film, count on it.




"Green Lantern" - June 17, 2011

Most casual fans aren't as familiar with this hero as let's say a Spider-Man or Batman, but that is no reason to shy away from this film. While the suit leaves a bit to be desired (they'll make it look much better as post production moves along), the cast is fantastic with Ryan Reynolds leading the way and a stacked supporting cast of Peter Sarsgaard, Blake Lively and Mark Strong backing him up.



"Thor" - May 6, 2011

This is Marvel's next huge film, having dropped "Iron Man 2" last summer in anticipation for 2012's "The Avengers". "Thor" takes the reigns this time around with director Kenneth Branagh at the helm, which is one thing the film has going for it. Branagh wasn't the most obvious choice to direct, he has a distinct theater background, but rememebr, Jon Faverau wasn't the seemingly perfect choice for "Iron Man", and that turned out pretty good. Natalie Portman..hot. This is one not to miss.



"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - May 20, 2011

Jack Sparrow may be one of the best characters ever to grace film screens and the reason for that is Johnny Depp. I don't care what crazy type of trouble the pirates have gotten themselves into this time, because no matter where Captain Jack Sparrow rides I'll gladly follow.



"Cedar Rapids" - February 11, 2011

This one may seem a bit out of place with all these action and superhero films, but this might be my favorite one to see of the bunch. Honestly the only reason I say that is because Andy Bernard, aka my boy Ed Helms is starring in this film, and he is one of my favorite actors and finally he is getting the chance to show off as a starring man. Sure, this won't be a perfect movie, but Dunder Mifflin's favorite employee is starring in it, and I know it will be hilarious. At least he will be.

'Empire Strikes Back' Among 25 Movies Named to National Film Registry


Every year the National Film Registry names up to 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films" to preserve at the Library of Congress, showcasing the full range of American film and its impact on our culture.

The films, which include Hollywood classics, documentaries and genres from every era of American filmmaking, have so far spanned the period of 1891-1996, for a total of 550 films. In the past some truly great films have been named for preservation, including "Fargo", "Goodfellas", "Raging Bull", and "Do the Right Thing", and this year's list is no different.

Of the 25 films named to the registry, some names that stick out include "Airplane!", "The Empire Strikes Back", "All the President's Men", "Malcolm X", "Saturday Night Fever", "The Pink Panther", "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and "The Exorcist".

Over 2,500 films were nominated, and the ones that were selected will have a copy of the original film preserved by the registry at the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Virginia, for future generations.

Whether it's by chance or by design, the list honors some filmmakers and actors who have passed away this year, including director's Irvin Kershner and Blake Edwards, along with actor Leslie Nielsen. Kershner was the director of "The Empire Strikes Back" which is considered by many to be the best sequel of all time, while Edwards was the director of the famed comedy "The Pink Panther". Nielsen of course starred in the spoof film "Airplane!", making famous his deadpan comedic delivery.

Spike Lee already had a film in the registry ("Do the Right Thing") and now adds another with "Malcolm X". Denzel Washington was phenomenal in the film, which was a no holds barred look at the life and death of Malcolm X.

I'm thrilled to see "All the President's Men" added to the registry. Randomly enough I am actually watching the film as I write this, and I can emphatically say it deserves a spot in the vault. The acting by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman is nothing short of phenomenal, and the film itself is a perfectly paced thriller.

I literally could go on all day about the films added to the registry, but I'll say that this year was one of the strongest lists in recent memory, and I'm impressed with the range of genres they chose from this time around, including horror ("The Exorcist") and comedy ("Airplane!", "The Pink Panther").

The full list:

Airplane! (1980), All the President's Men (1976), The Bargain (1914), Cry of Jazz (1959), Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Exorcist (1973), The Front Page (1931), Grey Gardens (1976), I Am Joaquin (1969), It's a Gift (1934), Let There Be Light (1946), Lonesome (1928), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Malcolm X (1992), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Newark Athlete (1891), Our Lady of the Sphere (1969), The Pink Panther (1964), Preservation of the Sign Language (1913), Saturday Night Fever (1977), Study of a River (1996), Tarantella (1940), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), A Trip Down Market Street (1906)

Gilliam Goes Steampunk With "1884"


It's really impossible for my ears to not perk up when I hear the words 'Terry', 'Gilliam', and 'steampunk'. Gilliam is one of the most talented and unique directors of all time, while the 'steampunk' era has made for some truly awesome films (i.e. the recent "Sherlock Holmes"). So it's fantastic news to hear that Gilliam is planning a project set to take place in that particular era.

According to Variety Gilliam and visual effects artist Tim Ollive are teaming for "1884", which is described as an $8 million "mixed-media adventure".

The project is an alternative history story of some sorts, with the story set in an alternate 1884 where the industrial revolution went a lot further and faster along than it really did, resulting in a futuristic metropolis filled with steam-powered flying cars and the scientific advancement of mankind.

What makes the project so intriguing to me is that the story will mix animation, live-action puppetry and computer graphics while the backgrounds will blend period photography, miniatures and graphics. Ollive will direct the project Gilliam will serve as both producer and advisor. Ollive co-wrote the screenplay with Dennis de Groot, while Gilliam said that some of the "Monty Python" cast would lend voices to the film.

Gilliam stated that the project would: "not [be] slick and sleek CG work, such as studios in L.A. particularly produce. It looks crafted by an artisan, and the scale and design are spectacular."

The film sounds like it will be wildly imaginative, and seemingly only something that only a guy like Gilliam could come up with. The alternative history aspect of things will be interesting to see, as will the blend of animation, live action, and computers. From the way the project has come together, it sounds like it will be something truly original we have yet to see onscreen.

Also, how cool will it be to hear some of our favorite "Monty Python" actors together again?

More news on this project should come early in the New Year.

Phil Noyce Opts Out Of "Salt" Sequel


After taking a break from the film industry for four years, award winning Australian director Phillip Noyce returned to theaters this past summer helming the spy action thriller "Salt" with Angelina Jolie. Noyce's last feature film that he directed before that was "Catch a Fire" released in 2006, which starred Derek Luke and Tim Robbins.

Noyce doesn't churn out films on a yearly basis, and he has stated now that if "Salt" spawns a sequel, he won't be the director of it. According to Moviehole, the director said: "Those three [alternate] Blu-ray cuts [of the film] represent just about everything I have to offer on Evelyn Salt. If there ever is a sequel, better its directed by someone with a completely fresh take on what I believe could be a totally entertaining and complex series of stories."

In the meantime, instead of worrying about further "Salt" films, the acclaimed director of films such as "The Bone Collector", "The Quiet American" and "Rabbit Proof Fence" has decided to focus on other projects.

One is the romantic drama "Timeless", which is being written by "Enchanted" scribe Bill Kelly, while the other is "Dirt Music", a project Noyce has wanted to work on for quite some time. According to the site, "Atonement" screenwriter Christopher Hampton is in negotiations to rework the script for Noyce's passion project, which is an adaptation of Tim Winton's thriller novel "Dirt Music". Russell Crowe is still attached to star in the project.

Noyce is one of Hollywood's most well-respected directors, and while I thought "Salt" wasn't great, I felt it was a quality return to form by the director. Some of his past films, especially "The Bone Collector", are some of my favorite films of recent years and I think it's a positive move for the director to move on from "Salt" and work on other projects, considering that in this past decade he has worked on only a handful of films.

It's also good to see that Hampton will be working on the script for "Dirt Music", because in my opinion "Atonement" was just fantastic. Although Joe Wright, the director, is mostly responsible for how good it was, the script was truly great as well, having shaped an excellent novel into an even better movie.

More news on Noyce's upcoming projects should come early in the New Year.

Hendricks, Munn, Meyers Just "Don't Know"


With Sarah Jessica Parker already set to star, the film adaptation "I Don't Know How She Does It" has added some more talent to the mix, bringing on a crop of TV talent to the cast.

Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men"), Olivia Munn ("The Daily Show") and Seth Meyers ("SNL") have joined the cast of the film adaptation of author Allison Pearson's chick lit novel "I Don't Know How She Does It" according to The Los Angeles Times.

The first-person comedic novel follows a high-powered financial worker (Parker) who is the mother of two children and trying to balance the various competing elements of her life.
Hendricks is in final negotiations for the part and is set to play a friend of Parker's character.

The actress is best known for her role as Joan Holloway on AMC's acclaimed series "Mad Men." Munn, who is slated to play a colleague of Parker's character, is the TV personality from G4's "Attack of the Show" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show;" which she joined earlier this year. Munn has recently been working on more film roles, recently playing a part in "Iron Man 2".

Meyers joins an already stacked male cast with Pierce Brosnan and Kelsey Grammer also starring.

The book was a best seller in both England as well as the United States, and with the addition of the three actors, the project should broaden its appeal. It's great to see Hendricks's starting to branch out to more work, because she has been one of the steadiest and most promising actors throughout her four seasons on "Mad Men" and it will be great to see her in another role.

Anyone who is a fan of "The Daily Show" knows how funny Munn can be, and she should be the perfect compliment to Sarah Jessica Parker in the film. The rest of the cast is fantastic as well, and with all that talent involved this could be one of the sleeper romantic comedy hits once it's released, much like "The Proposal" was last year.

Douglas McGrath, who previously helmed "Infamous", directs and shooting is set to kick off in January.

Rob Marshall Explains Fourth "Pirates" Story


Captain "Jack" Sparrow is one of the best movie characters of all time, and actor Johnny Depp clearly plays him to perfection, as evidenced by his Oscar nomination for the first installment in the series.

One successful movie morphed into a billion dollar franchise, and after the third film "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End", many hoped they would see Captain Jack in action again very soon. That didn't happen exactly, but after a few years, four to be exact, Captain Jack is back.

The first trailer for the film debuted last week, building even more anticipation to director Rob Marshall's 3D extravaganza "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides". The director spoke to Movieweb about the film, elaborating on the story a bit after what was revealed in the trailer.

Said Marshall about the opening of the film: "The first third of the film takes place in London. So we start on dry land and there is an impostor that Jack is looking for. He then escapes from the palace, gets captured by King George and there is a huge carriage chase".

Marshall added a few more details about the film in the interview, explaining that Jack and crew will head out to sea in the second act of the film, and that it's a new ship named "Queen Anne's Revenge". He also elaborated on the overall story of the film, which culminates in "this incredible jungle adventure through caves where they are looking for the Fountain of Youth.”

The trailer of the film was fantastic, with just some good old Jack Sparrow antics and classic "Pirate" action. Penelope Cruz and Depp seem to have great chemistry, which is no surprise to me considering they worked together fantastically in "Blow" years ago.

I wasn't sure how Marshall would handle the action aspects of the film, considering that he has worked on musicals like "Chicago", but from the look of the trailer he seems to have had no trouble at all.

"Pirates" sails into theaters May 20, 2011.

Parker, Efron, Berry Celebrate "New Year's"


After recently adding Sofia Vergara and Jessica Biel to it's already star studded cast, Garry Marshall's "New Years Eve" has brought in a few more big name stars to the party.

Sarah Jessica Parker has signed on while Zac Efron and Halle Berry are in negotiations to star in the romantic comedy ensemble according to Reuters.

The story follows several characters as they make their way through the year-end holiday in New York City. Parker will play the mother of Abigail Breslin's character, who is too clingy with her daughter.

Efron is set to play a bike messenger who tries to keep a promise to Michelle Pfeiffer's character by scoring tickets to a big party. Berry is in talks to play a caterer who runs into an old lover.

All three should help bring some more people to theaters, especially Efron who seems to have a monopoly on teenage girls in America. The cast of the film is utterly stacked with Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, and Lea Michele also starring.

Shooting will begin very early in the 'new year' (aka 2011).

Jon Favreau Departs "Iron Man" Franchise


When Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. teamed up for "Iron Man" in 2008, I don't think anyone realized quite how successful the film would become. It grossed more than $500 million worldwide, was critically praised, and brought on some huge anticipation for "Iron Man 2." While that one wasn't quite as critically acclaimed as the first, it made even more money, and had everyone wondering what the duo would bring on for a third film.

Although a third film is set for the series, one thing that will change is the director. After a bit of speculation, Vulture and Faverau himself confirmed this past week that the director will not return for the third installment.

When the news broke, the Internet started buzzing about the reasons for the split. Some claimed that Favreau's price tag was getting too high, while some others speculated that the studio forced him off the project. Thankfully, the director himself put an end to that chatter, giving some clarity on the situation through his Twitter account and in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Through his Twitter account, Faverau said: "It's true, I'm directing Magic Kingdom, not Iron Man 3. I've had a great run with Marvel and wish them the best."

After that, Favreau gave an interview to The Los Angeles Times, saying his departure from the film was "no snap decision or the result of fractured relations." He also stated that he Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and him remain friends, and that Favreau will stay on as a producer on ”The Avengers.”

Although this may seem like a negative move for the "Iron Man" franchise, I think it's great because it always helps to inject some new life to a fracnshise, even one that's been as successful as this. Faverau wants to work on other projects, and with "The Avengers" still on the horizon, the third film probably wouldn't be released until 2013 anyway.

I honestly am excited to see what Favreau does with "Magic Kingdom," which is about a family that gets trapped in Disneyland after hours and soon discovers that the theme park's rides and characters come to life. I think the film idea has a lot of potential, primarily because of what Faverau brings to the table.

Shooting on "Magic Kingdom" should start filming next year.

Katee Sackhoff Is Kind Of a "Sexy Evil Genius"


Anyone who has ever seen the show "Battlestar Galactica" knows that deep down, they have a bit of a crush on Katee Sackhoff, aka Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. The actress doen't work all that much (although she gave a hilarious performance in a guest spot on "The Big Bang Theory" last year), so anytime she hops onto a project, I pay attention.

According to the Heat Vision Blog, Sackhoff is set to headline the independent comedy "Sexy Evil Genius," which will be directed by Shawn Piller, the executive producer of ABC Family’s "Greek."

The project centers on a group of strangers brought together in a downtown Los Angeles bar by their mutual ex-girlfriend (Sackhoff). The woman is mysterious about her intentions, but by the night's end, revenge will be had, romance made and the wronged woman will have delivered on her reputation as the sexy evil genius at the center of all their lives.

The script was written by Scott Lew, a filmmaker who is afflicted by ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Diseas). Lew is a quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound. He cannot speak and writes using an infrared dot on his forehead, pointing to letters and words on the computer screen.

Said Few to Heat Vision: “I thought why not do a story about early 30-somethings, where a sexy girl forces an unhappy guy to remember all his dreams and aspirations when they were 17 and dating.”

I think the concept of the film is just great and very unique. On top of that, I think Sackhoff really fits into this part well, because her character on "Battlestar" had a bit of an edge to her and this character sounds the same in that regard.

Sackhoff will also co-produce and the film should start shooting early next year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Classic Album Review: Common, "Be"


As it is with many different types of people in all fields of life, sometimes an artist's biggest disappointment can lead to their biggest success.

Way back in the year 2000, Common released his fourth album "Like Water for Chocolate" and received great reviews as well as solid sales results. The recognition from the album elevated Common to a point where he was on the cusp of mainstream success and stardom. So two years later when he was set to release his next album, anticipation and expectations were very high.

In 2002 Common dropped the hotly anticipated "Electric Circus", but that mainstream success was put on a screeching hold when the album proved to be disastrous commercially. Critics praised the album, and I don't think anyone questioned how skilled Common was as a musician and rapper, but clearly something didn't work out quite right, and the album was considered a big disappointment.

Hoping to have a better outcome for his new album, Common made one of the best moves of his career when he decided to team up with fellow Chicagoan Kanye West to produce his next album. In 2005 Common released "Be" under Kanye's own label, 'GOOD Music' to stellar reviews and excellent commercial sales. The album sold over twice as many as "Electric Circus" and catapulted Common into the mainstream.

Released in May 2005, "Be" is solid and concise from top to bottom. Although there are only 11 tracks, the tight song list doesn't have a single 'skippable' track in the bunch. You literally listen to the album straight through without ever having to touch a dial. Clearly Common was inspired to make a great album, and he emphatically succeeded, crafting some truly fantastic tracks. While I feel the whole set list is excellent, "Go!", "Testify", "They Say", "The Corner", and "The Food" stand out above the rest.

"Go!", which featured John Mayer, was the most commercially successful track on the album and one of the best. Although Common at first was unsure if he wanted to bring on a non-hip-hop artist onto the track, it proved to be an extremely good move, with Mayer providing a perfect compliment to the rapper. On top of that, Kanye West's production is top notch, creating one of the catchiest beats on the entire album.



Common really has a great way with words, as proved on this verse as he raps with supreme confidence: "Freaky like the daughter of a pastor, said I was bait for her to master/Little red corvette now she was faster, wet dreams Le'maire cream the bathroom/We made love and then laughter, and anyway I wanted I could have her/Said there were some girls that did attract her, a new chapter she was after so I said let's/To a place that you wanna be, uh get what you want from her and me uh/Free love I wanna see uh, hot sex in the third degree uh/You gettin' served while servin' me uh, dirty words encourage me to/Rock steady and sturdily on, you turnin' me no turnin' back the further we."

"The Corner" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and it very well may be one of the best. The track features Kanye West and The Last Poets and was nominated as Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammy's that year. Detailing what life is like on the street corners of tough neighborhoods, Common sounds his most inspired, rapping seamlessly over another solid beat produced by Kanye.



Common paints a fully illustrative portrait of life on the street as he raps: " Streetlights & deepnights cats trying to eat right/Riding no seat bikes with work to feed hypes/So they can keep sweet Nikes they head & they feet right/Desires of streetlife cars & weed types / It's hard to breath nights days are thief like/The beast roam the streets the police is Greeklike/Game at it's peak we speak & believe hype/Bang in the streets hats cocked left or deep right."

One of the most fitting parts of the track is the spoken word segment by The Last Poets to close out the track, perfectly placing the idea of the 'corner' in cultural and historical context: "The corner was our Rock of Gibraltar, our Stonehenge/Our Taj Mahal, our monument/Our testimonial to freedom, to peace and to love/Down on the corner..."

"Testify" is one of the most creative an interesting tracks on the album and it also was nominated for a Grammy, this time for Best Rap Solo Performance. The track details a story about a woman who manipulates a judge and jury to find her partner guilty of a crime she committed. Common has always had the skill of telling a story through his rhymes, and this track might be the perfect example of that.



His slick rapping and passionate tone coupled with another quality produced beat by Kanye make you completely visualize the story as it's unfolding. Common builds up the story on top of the beat as each verse goes on leading to a thrilling conclusion/last verse, which is one of his best on the whole album: "The court awaited as the foreman got the verdict from the bailiff/Emotional outbursts tears and smeared makeup/He stated, he was guilty on all charges/She's shaking like she took it the hardest/A spin artist, she brought her face up laughing/That's when the prosecutor realized what happened/All that speaking her mind testifying and crying/When this bitch did the crime- the queenpin..."

While I don't think "Be" rewrote the rulebook, or was all that groundbreaking in any particular way, it's hard to argue with its quality as an overall album. Common raps as good as he has throughout his entire career, and the production from Kanye West (with a little help from J Dilla) provided the foundation for an all around solid album with some jazz and soul sounding beats.

In my opinion "Be" is Common's best work. The album is a tightly condensed yet utterly enjoyable collection of tracks that holds up many years down the line. Although not revolutionary or a game changer, the album was easily one of the best of the decade, and is surely a classic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Matt Damon In Talks For "Elysium"


Last summer when "District 9" hit theaters I had no idea what to expect. That was something rare for this day in age, with constant movie spoilers and news coming 24 hours a day, but all I honestly knew about the film was that it had to do with aliens and took place in South Africa. That was it.

After sitting through the film I was completely blown away. I thought it was easily one of the best movies of the year, and I was absolutely enamored by Neill Blomkamp's directing job and Sharlto Copley's performance.

After the film blew up to such high proportions, I knew that Blomkamp's follow up would be something to follow closely. I was hoping he would be able to harness the same type of feel for his next film, and so far things seem to be headed in the right direction, especially when it comes to casting.

According to Deadline Matt Damon is in talks for a role in Blomkamp's next sci-fi thriller, "Elysium".

Not much is known about the director's next film in regard to plot, but one thing that is certain is that "District 9" star Sharlto Copley is re-teaming with Blomkamp's on this project. The thought of Damon and Copley working together is fantastic, although details on story or roles are scarce other than the action being set on a distant planet.

Once this project starts to come together it will easily be the one I am most looking forward to seeing (except for "The Dark Knight Rises" obviously). Matt Damon has established himself as one of the most versatile and talented actors in Hollywood and the fact that such a big star is attached to the film should only make it easier to sell once Blomkamp starts looking for financing.

The director did a pretty fantastic job in my opinion with "District 9", a film that had no name actors in it, so he should be thrilled to have someone with the star power of Damon on the project.

Blomkamp will helm from his own script and will present the project to financiers next year when further cast members are locked down.

Minghella, Wright Team For Clooney's "March"


The last time George Clooney stepped behind the camera was for 2008's uneven comedy film "Leatherheads", which was a completely different turn from his previous film, "Good Night, and Good Luck". Clooney's film on Edward R. Murrow was absolutely fantastic, and earned Clooney a nomination for Best Director.

Clooney's next directorial project, "The Idea of March", looks to be more along the lines of "Good Night, and Good Luck", which is a welcome move for the actor/director. With the calendars about to change to 2011, the film has added a couple solid names to its cast.

According to The Daily Mail and Deadline, Max Minghella ("The Social Network") and Jeffrey Wright ("Casino Royale") have signed onto star in the George Clooney directed political drama, which already has Ryan Gosling attached.

Based on Beau Willimon's Broadway play "Farragut North", the story follows a young, idealistic press spokesman (Gosling) who works for an inspiring, though unorthodox, presidential candidate (George Clooney).

During the campaign, his career is done in by more seasoned politicians who thrive on partisan politics, dirty tricks and back-stabbing. Willimon loosely based the story on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential election campaign.

Character details for the pair haven't been revealed. They join a fantastic cast which includes Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Clooney co-wrote the script with Grant Heslov and will both direct and produce the feature, which he is independently financing.

Clooney and political themes are always a good mix in my eyes. Clooney seems to do some of his best work when projects are politically charged, and this project should be no different. On top of that, the cast is just fantastic, and with the additions of Minghella and Wright only strengthen it.

Minghella did solid work on "The Social Network" earlier this year, and I'm intrigued to see what type of role he plays in this film. Wright is just great in everything he does, and he and Clooney are already familiar with each other from 2005's "Syriana" (for which Clooney won an Oscar for his role).

Shooting kicks off in January in Michigan and Ohio.

Guggenheim Talks Barry Allen In "Flash"


Superhero movies are a dime a dozen these days. Just look at the upcoming slate of films set to be released this year and beyond: "Green Lantern", "Thor", "The First Avenger: Captain America", "The Avengers", "Iron Man 3", and "The Dark Knight Rises". I could go on, but you get the point.

Understandably so, the 'less popular' hero films have taken a back seat to some more high profile projects, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep an eye on them anyway. Especially if it's one of my favorite superheroes from my childhood, better known as "The Flash".

Writer Marc Guggenheim, who wrote the screenplay for the upcoming "Green Lantern" film, is pulling the same duty for the upcoming "Flash" project, and he spoke to MTV News about the film, and gave some details on the story.

Guggenheim is currently putting the finishing touches on the scrip with fellow writers Michael Green and Greg Berlanti, and explained in the interview why they decided to use the original incarnation of "The Flash", Barry Allen, for the film.

Said Guggenheim: "It's very similar for the whole reason we went with Hal for the Green Lantern. That's the Silver Age character. That's the character people grew up on. That's the name first associated with that character. So part of it is honoring the legacy aspect, and the other aspect is just practical - you can go forward, but you can't really go backward. Just from a practical standpoint, I feel it's better to go in a linear, generational fashion than it is to double back."

Guggenheim also spoke about the villains in the film, and the fact that "The Flash" has one of the best rogue's gallery lineups in comics. Although he didn't give any specific names who would appear (the studio would kill him), he mentioned that the villain Chunk will not appear in this first movie.

One of the most interesting quotes of the whole interview came when Guggenheim spoke about the tone and influence of the film, and the main characters profession.

Said Guggenheim: "When Barry Allen was the character, he was a science policeman. We’re obviously updating that and now he’s in forensics and CSI. The tone is sort of darker, and more like "Seven" and "Silence of the Lambs" in that mysterious and noir-ish way, which is also working in conjunction with the superhero elements. It's a lot of fun. I think the character is made for a story and a screenplay that gives you more than the sum of its parts."

I love that Guggenheim and the writers are working on a darker toned story, it looks to be more in the vein of "The Dark Knight" rather than let's say the original "Spider-Man", which to me is a plus. Utilizing Allen's profession as a policeman and being influenced by films such as "Seven" and "Silence of the Lambs" should make the film extremely interesting and help thrust a second tier-type hero into the forefront.

Although the project is a few years off, snippets like this only raises excitement and anticipation for audiences. Look for "The Flash" to run his way into theaters sometime in 2013.

TV: 'Dead,' 'Boardwalk,' 'Justified' Land WGA Noms


The Writers Guild of America usually does a good job at predicting what TV series will garner major awards love come next years big ceremonies, and this time around is no different.

HBO's "Boardwalk Empire", FX's "Justified" and AMC's "The Walking Dead", are among the nominees for Best New Series, with TNT's "Men of a Certain Age" and another HBO series, "Treme" filling out the category.

The new series category is always a favorite of mine, and this year I think it really showcases some truly great series that hopefully will stick around for years to come. "Boardwalk" ended its first season on a high note and it already is gearing up for season two. "The Walking Dead" gained popularity like wildfire and I can only imagine what they'll do when they have 13 episodes up from just 6 in the first year.

But out of all the shows nominated I am most happy to see "Justified" score here because I feel it was one of the best and most underrated shows of the entire season. Timothy Olyphant's acting was superb, but even more so was the writing, which was sharp with humor and very intelligently crafted.

"Boardwalk" also scored a Best Drama nomination along with established shows such as "Breaking Bad", "Friday Night Lights", "Dexter", and "Mad Men". This category is extremely strong from the top down, with five shows that could easily take the award with no arguments from me. I say "Mad Men" is the front runner, although "Breaking Bad" had arguably its strongest season yet this past year.

On the comedy side, this year's Emmy newcomers, Fox's "Glee" and ABC's "Modern Family" made the list along with Showtime's "Nurse Jackie", and NBC's "30 Rock" and "The Office". While I absolutely love "Modern Family" and have great respect for all of the other shows nominated, no series does a better job when it comes to writing than "The Office", so I'm hoping they pull out with the award.

While the winners of the awards aren't always a perfect prediction on who will be victorious at next year's Emmy's, the WGA always seems to get their nominations right. I was hard pressed to find series that were undeserving of their nominations.

The awards will be handed out Feb. 5 at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards. The full awards list can be found at the link.

'True Grit' to Open Berlin Fest


The Berlin Film Festival just got a bit gritty. The Coen Brothers' upcoming remake "True Grit", which is scheduled for a December 22 release in the US, will open the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival on February 10.

The film, which stars Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, will screen out of competition and Berlin will serve as its international premiere. Bridges and the Coens made their last joint trip to Berlin in 1998 with "The Big Lebowski".

Said Berlin Festival director Dieter Kosslick: “Joel and Ethan Coen stand for first-rate American independent cinema. With their penchant for irony and off-the-wall characters and stories they have repeatedly captivated audiences."

"True Grit," stars Bridges, Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. The Western tale, based on the novel by Charles Portis, tells the story of 14-year-old Mattie (Steinfeld), who, with the help of fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), sets out to find the man who murdered her father.

The role of the tough lawman was made famous by John Wayne, who won his only Oscar for Henry Hathaway's 1969 version of "True Grit."

The Coen Brothers have truly proven themselves as some of the most talented filmmakers in Hollywood, and there's no doubt in my mind that "True Grit" will be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards early next year. The cast is exceptional and just from watching the preview it's clear that the Coen Brothers are on top of their game, especially in the Western genre.

Bridges is dominating the month of December, which will see the US release of two of his films, "True Grit", as well as "TRON: Legacy", which opens December 17th.

Paramount will release "True Grit" in Germany on Feb. 24, four days after the festival ends.

Biel, Vergara To Celebrate "New Year's"


What better way to ring in the new year than with two of Hollywood's most beautiful actresses. According to The Hollywood Reporter Jessica Biel and "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara are in negotiations for roles in Garry Marshall's "New Year's Eve".

The film serves as a sort-of sequel to this years release "Valentine's Day", but this time the ensemble project will follow various lovers preparing for the New Year holiday. The numerous storylines will combine, with Biel playing a pregnant woman who tries to win a cash prize given by a hospital to the couple who are first to give birth on New Year's Day.

Lea Michele and Abigail Breslin are already confirmed while Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank and Ashton Kutcher are in various stages of negotiations to join the cast.

Both actresses have string comedic talents, especially Vergara who has clearly proven herself to be quite the comedienne on "Modern Family". Although "Valentine's Day" was extremely formulaic, I admit it got some laughs out of me, and I'm sure this film will do the same. The cast truly is shaping up to be fantastic, and with a comedic vet like Marshall at the helm, it surely won't disappoint.

Filming kicks off shortly in New York City.

Jesse Eisenberg Takes Some "Free Samples"


Jesse Eisenberg gave one of my favorite performances of the year in "The Social Network". Funny, dramatic, abrasive, he did it all.

Eisenberg has been one of my favorite actors since his "Squid and the Whale" days, and his turn as Mark Zuckerberg just might garner him an Oscar nomination in the coming months.

The success of the film leaves Eisenberg in a great place when it comes to picking his next role, basically he can to whatever he'd like. To follow up on his critically acclaimed performance Eisenberg has signed up for the dramedy "Free Samples" according to The Wrap.

The story follows a law-school dropout (Jess Weixler) who fills in as a server as a friend's food truck, where she doles out free samples of ice cream. The job tests her patience, and while she figures out what to do with her life, she finds herself being courted by a young man (Eisenberg) whom she barely remembers from the night before.

Eisenberg's love interest character is described as a supporting role.

The (most likely) future Oscar nominee will join Jason Ritter (who previously shared the screen with him in "The Education of Charlie Banks,") and will co-star along with Tippi Hedren, Hallie Pfeiffer, Keir O'Donnell, Jocelyn Donahue and Matt Walsh.

Eisenberg is clearly one of Hollywood's best young actors, so his appearance in this film will only be a positive. On top of that the last time Eisenberg and Ritter worked together was on the film "The Education of Charlie Banks" which was one of the most underrated movies I have seen in quite a long time. Eisenberg and Ritter were both fantastic in the film and I could see a repeat of that type of work from the duo in this film.

The indie type dramedy fits in perfectly with Eisenberg, who should definitely add some humor as the love interest in the film. Jay Gammill is directing "Free Samples" from a script by Jim Beggarly.

The project doesn't have a release date yet but production is currently underway in Los Angeles.

Classic Album Review: Big Pun, "Capital Punishment"


Like most artists, filmmakers, MC's, writers, authors and other creative talents, rapper Big Pun and his music career was greatly affected by his childhood and upbringing.

Hailing from the South Bronx, Big Punisher had a tough time growing up, witnessing drug abuse, his father leaving his family and dealing with an overbearing stepfather.

But through all this Christopher Rios, better known as Big Pun, came out stronger for it, pushing past adversity to achieve great success in the industry, although it wasn't an easy road. Throughout the 1980's and early '90's Big Pun began laying the groundwork for what was to come in the future, forming his own crew and refining his rapping skills.

The most significant moment of his early career came when he met rapper Fat Joe, who gave him his first chance to be a star, a move that paid off in ways neither of the two could have imagined. Although he passed away only two years after releasing his debut, Big Pun left a huge impact on the industry, becoming the first solo Latino rapper to have his album go platinum.

That album was the 1998 release "Capital Punishment", which was Big Pun's studio debut and the album that emphatically put him on the map. The album is filled with some amazing hardcore tracks, including "You Came Up", "I'm Not a Player", "Punish Me", "Still Not A Player" and "Beware". Although there are a bit too many skits and interludes on the album (seven), the rest of the track list outweighs that negative aspect.

"Beware" is the first full track on the album and is arguably one of Pun's best. It's a perfect way to kick start his debut, setting the tone right away with a haunting beat and a sweet Mobb Deep sample. Pun starts off with one of his best verses as he raps: "Yo...what you thought punk, shit was sweet, now you can't sleep/Gotta keep ya eyes open wide and hide ya face from the streets/I'm like the beast with a warrant, far from alarmin'/Gave you fair warnin' now you on the stairs swallin'/I'm callin' out any rapper that I doubt, smack 'em in the mouth/Throw 'em in the yoke, BOOM!, then I knock 'em out."



Many tracks on the album feature guest appearances including "You Came Up" which features Norega. The track is an excellent example of how Pun can swiftly and seamlessly change up styles, from some truly hardcore tracks on the album to this one, which has more of a laid back, R&B tone to it. Pun spits some fantastic lines on this track and references Tupac multiple times including at the edn of his firs verse when he raps: "I had to pay my due, lay a few/But I ain't saying who, stayin' true to da game/No names, playin' it cool just me and da crew/Holdin' it down long as we round/We gonna keep sockin' it to you like Homey the Clown/Going down like Pac ready to ride or die nigga/La da le la la la la la."



Two of the most well known and popular tracks on the album are "I'm Not a Player", and the remix of that track, "Still Not A Player". While "I'm Not A Player" was the first of the two to be released and is a very solid track, it's the remix that really helped Big Pun reach the top of the charts. The song is catchy and shows off Pun's lyrical skills, making himself seem arrogant yet self deprecating at the same time. In my opinion the beat is one of the best of the past couple decades, maybe even of all time. Looking back now, the beat is so recognizable paired with Big Pun's fantastic flow on the track.



Throughout each verse he spits some of his best lines, and the appearance of Joe on the track only adds to it. The two team up for one of the best choruses of all time as they spit: "I don't wanna be a player no more…I'm not a player I just fuck a lot/But Big Punisher, still got what you're lookin for/For my thug niggas, for my thug niggas/Uptown baby, uptown/Don't wanna be, don't wanna be - I don't wanna be a player no more/I'm not a player I just fuck a lot/But you know Big Punisher still down by law/Who's down to crush a lot."

Pun spits one of the best verses on the entire album on this track as he raps so smoothly: "I love from butter pecan to blackberry molass'/I don't discriminate, I regulate every shade of the (ass)/Long as you show class, and pass my test/Fat (ass and) breasts, highly intelligent bachlorettes/That's the best, I won't settle for less/I wanna ghetto brunette, with unforgettable sex/I lay your head on my chest, come feel my heartbeat/We can park the Jeep, pump Mobb Deep, and just spark the leaf."

Although I wouldn't say this album is groundbreaking in regards to style or in the evolution of the genre, one thing I would say is that it is one of the purely best produced albums of the entire decade. The beats are fantastic from top to bottom, and Pun's lyrics and flow are nearly second to none in regards to quality and delivery. Just listen to hip-hop classic "Twinz (Deep Cover '98)":



Many more of the album's cuts are considered the best tracks from the '90s without a doubt, and due to the sad fact that he passed away before his time was up, Big Pun will as well. Skits aside, this album is Big Pun's definitive album and is definitely a classic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jason Alexander Developing New Show at CBS


Will the "Seinfeld" curse live on for Jason Alexander? CBS is looking to find out once again, developing a show with the man best known as George Costanza, according to Variety.

Alexander last starred in the CBS short-lived 2005 sitcom "Listen Up", which was based on the life of broadcaster Tony Kornheiser, which never caught on with audiences, but this time, he's going to be a bit more dramatic. CBS has given a script order to an untitled hour long series that would star and be executive produced by Alexander.

Alexander would play a former TV star that's down on his luck and winds up joining his ex-wife's detective agency. Once there, the character reinvents himself as an investigator with a penchant for disguise.

Although Alexander hasn’t been able to find success in TV with a show of his own yet, he has appeared frequently on many other shows including on "Criminal Minds" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" opposite former "Seinfeld" cast member Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Alexander has also appeared himself on Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" in a hilarious "Seinfeld" related story arc.

I actually think this is a great idea for Alexander to take on, because it obviously would be a bit different than anything he had previously done before, and could allow him to finally break his own "Seinfeld" curse.

Jerry himself never really suffered from it, considering how successful he still is, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss now has put that behind her with the success of "New Christine". I won’t get into Michael Richards's problems, but I'll put it this way, he'll always be Cosmo Kramer to me.

Either way if this show is done in the right away, it could showcase Alexander's immense acting talents. Yes, the man who played George Costanza is an excellent actor. The man was nothing like the character he played on the TV series "Seinfeld" and has proven over the years to be a prolific and talented theater actor.

I'll always support my man George Costanza, and this show will be no different. Hopefully this time around it will be more successful than his last CBS show.

"Social Network" Dominates NBR Awards


Back when I first heard about "The Social Network" I admit I was fairly skeptical with the idea of a film about Facebook.

But then David Fincher joined on as director and Aaron Sorkin as the writer, and I began to get extremely intrigued about what it could be. After the cast came together with one of my favorite actors (Jesse Eisenberg) as the lead, I truly thought the film would be something special.

After seeing it in theaters it did not disappoint me one bit, and the National Board of Review seems to agree. Yes folks, it's true, awards season is upon us. The critics award race got started off last week as "The Social Network" pretty much dominated The Nation Board of Review awards, taking in four of the main categories.

"The Social Network" won awards for Best Film, Director (David Fincher), Actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). While there were a number of excellent nominees this year, including films like "The Town" and "Inception", I can't disagree with any of the awards the film won.

I honestly felt like it was a "Best Picture" worthy movie when I saw it, mainly due to the fantastic script and excellent direction by Fincher. On top of that the entire cast was excellent alongside Eisenberg, including Andre Garfield and Justin Timberlake.

Eisenberg plays Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the film, which has won critical praise and earned more than $180 million worldwide at the box office. I'm really glad he picked up the award, because although I think he is worthy for an Academy Award nomination later on, I think Colin Firth will take that home for "The Kings Speech", so its good to see the young actor take home some hardware that is truly deserving.

The National Board of Review has had a decent track record the past few years in predicting the Oscar outcome. In the past three years, the National Board of Review winner has twice gone on to win best picture at the Oscars: "No Country for Old Men" in 2007 and "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2008. Last year's winner was "Up in the Air."

The awards will keep coming as the year draws to a close, but it's clear that we'll be hearing a lot more about "The Social Network" in the coming months.

Wachowskis Update Robin "Hood"


The rich better watch out, and the needy better put their hands out, because Robin Hood is back. The Wachowskis are set to do a contemporary update of the Robin Hood myth in "Hood" for Warner Bros. Pictures according to Heat Vision.

Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski wrote the script for the film, but like many of their projects, the plot details are shrouded in secrecy. According to reports the duo are already reaching out to actors, including Will Smith.

Although the plot details are under wraps, this type of project could be perfect for the pair. Their visual style mixed with their affinity for comic book-type art should be a great combination to get the mood and tone of the film just right.

The project follows a popular move in Hollywood these days, taking a well-known classical tale or character and putting a new spin on it. It worked beautifully with "Sherlock Holmes" and a handful of other projects such as the upcoming "Three Musketeers" films as well as an in-development "Frankenstein" are on the horizon.

The duo has been working on their Iraqi war movie, "CN-9", which is told from the point of view of archeologists piecing together events from the U.S. occupation of Iraq using found footage and includes two male soldiers falling in love and a plot to assassinate George W. Bush. While the project has been slow to find financing, the pair have shot some talking-head sequences with Arianna Huffington, Salman Rushdie, Jesse Ventura and Cornel West.

While that project sounds infinitely interesting, I'm glad to see the duo return to a project that should really bring out their talents. I think "The Matrix" was an unbelievable achievement, and although the sequels were mediocre at best, I recently rewatched them and I have to say once I took myself away from all the hype and anticipation that surrounded the films, I see now that they really weren't as bad as I had thought. Not perfect by any respect, but definitely better.

Although the pair flopped with "Speed Racer", I think "Hood" could be one that puts them right back on the map.

New Details On Malick's "Burial"


Legendary director Terrance Malick has always been known as one of Hollywood's biggest recluses, as well as being one of it's biggest genius's, the latter of which is one reason why he has been stealing headlines lately.

The director just finished work on his film "The Tree of Life", which had its trailer debut this weekend, and a whole bunch of details have recently emerged about his next project according to The Wrap.

Supposedly titled "The Burial", Malick recently fnished shooting on the project, which is a romantic drama starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Barry Pepper. The site has put together a synopsis with information found from numerous call sheets from the film. Beware, some spoilers ahead.

From The Wrap: "Set over a period of years, the film stars Affleck as Neil, a failed writer stuck in a loveless marriage with Marina (Kurylenko), whose expiring visa put pressure on Neil to propose. Neil and Marina have a daughter (Tatiana Chilin) together, but both of them are looking outside the marriage.

Neil is drawn to Jane (McAdams) and Marina betrays her husband by having an affair with Charlie (Charles Baker). Both Neil and Marina seek guidance from Father Quintana (Bardem), a priest frustrated by his inability to live his own life because he's too busy advising his parishioners on theirs.

The couple's dysfunctional relationship begins to take a toll on their daughter, who starts having problems in school."

Malick's projects are usually shrouded in secret. For example it took an extremely long time for anyone to really find out what his upcoming film "The Tree of Life" was all about, although of now it has an official release date and a trailer. (The film, which stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, will open May 27, 2011 and the trailer is excellent, definitely check it out.)

Malick's new film sounds the most intimate of all his previous films, which include the classic features "Deays of Heaven" and "Badlands". The cast of the film is truly spectacular, with Affleck continuing his string of excellent film choices, such as this fall's "The Town". Along with Weisz, McAdams, and Barden, the cast is just loaded with stars and the dramatic tension of the film should fit with Malick's deft direction style beautifully.

I think Malick's film "The Thin Red Line" is the most underrated film of the past few decades and I am totally intrigued to see how this film turns out. Don't expect a trailer anytime soon, but you can fill the void by checking out the director's new film "The Tree of Life"

Dunst, Moretz Double Team A "Hick"


In my opinion Chloe Moretz gave one of the performances of a lifetime as the diminutive hero "Hit Girl" in the film version of "Kick Ass" earlier this year. On top of that Moretz has proven to be an extremely talented young actress, giving scene stealing turns in "(500) Days of Summer" and "Let Me In", so any film that she joins up on, I have my eye on it.

According to The Playlist. Kirsten Dunst and "Kick Ass" star Moretz are teaming for the coming-of-age drama "Hick".

Based on Andrea Portes' novel which the author herself adapted for the big screen, the story follows a 13-year-old Nebraska girl who flees her alcoholic and abusive parents and heads out on the road. The world outside her door proves just as cold and uncaring, including the adult figures that come into her life like a crooked guy who eventually rapes her.

Dunst will play another of those figures, a cocaine-snorting hard-living grifter who takes the girl under her wing in an effort to shield her from some of the rougher aspects of life.

I think this film has real potential to be a good one, mainly because of the talents of Dunst and Moretz. The two should have great on screen chemistry and clearly will be driven by how powerful their performances will be. Dunst has given some great performances through her career, and this one will be no different, especially due to the subject matter.

This will be just another good role for the young actress Moretz, who has really put together an impressive resume in her brief career.

Derick Martini directs and shooting kicks off in New Mexico early next year.

Classic Album Review, Busta Rhymes, “When Disaster Strikes”


Although he has been somewhat overlooked at times due to his mediocre work in the latter parts of his career, rapper Busta Rhymes has proven that he truly is one of the most intriguing and unique characters in hip-hop history.

Bursting on the scene as a solo artist in 1996, Busta rose to the status of hip-hop superstar on the strength of his debut album "The Coming", which was a huge commercial and critical success. The album peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and one of the tracks was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

On that first album, with the help of guest starts such as Q-Tip, Redman, Charlie Brown and Keith Murray, Busta showed off his interesting rapping style and delved into a topic he would take on frequently in his career (including on his next album), the apocalypse.

With his second album "When Disaster Strikes", released a year later in the fall of 1997, Busta uses that topic as a framing device, portraying himself and everyone else in a place where the rules don't exactly apply anymore. While the theme doesn’t stick to every single track on the album, it gives the whole set list a unique vibe and made Busta's album stand apart from what was being released by other artists at the time.

The album is much longer than "The Coming", sitting at 19 tracks, many of them some of Busta's best work. While most of the tracks are excellent, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See", "Rhymes Galore", "Get High Tonight" and "Dangerous" stand out above the rest.

"Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" easily has one of the best beats on the album. Busta's flow is more laid back than on most of the tracks on album, which is one reason why it works so well. I have always been a big fan of the chorus, which has always stuck in my memory all these years because of how simple, yet catchy it is: "Do you really wanna party with me/Let me see just what you got for me/Put all your hands where my eyes could see/Straight buck wylin in the place to be."



On "Rhymes Galore" Busta raps with ferocity and speed, never losing track of the beat or his train of the thought. It's impressive how distinct Busta sounds, especially on this track. He brings on one of his best verses on the entire album when he raps: "Dominatin like Kings Dominion/Leanin on niggas like we on motorcycles pop a wheel-e and/A yo number one Roman numeral completing the executional shit is usual/I ain't scared of ya/Takin all of ya powafenalia/That's my words on misses Mahelia/Hope you know your best bet/Just to get the fuck out of my area."



"Dangerous" is easily the most well-known track on the album, and it might also be the best. The track was nominated from a Grammy and has Busta spitting amazing line after amazing line. The chorus is absolutely fantastic, and what makes it even more interesting is the fact that it was a slogan used in the '80s by the Long Island Regional Poison Control Council warning children of the danger of loose prescription medications.



The chorus is instantly recognizable, with Busta rapping: " This is serious/We could make you delirious/You should have a healthy fear of us/'Cause too much of us is dangerous."

I think the last verse of the track is Busta's best as he raps with seom ferocity: " Feelin the heat up in the street rockin the beat/Step up in the club, take me to my reserved seat/Comin around, all of my people surround me/So much bottles are leakin, ya'll brothers will drown me/Makin ya drunk, feelin the fun, blazin the skunk/Stay hitten with the shit that blow a hole in ya trunk/Afraid of us, you know this ain't no game to us/You strange to us that's when we gettin dangerous/Come on."

It's almost funny to look back now and hear Busta's paranoia about the apocalypse that never came (well not yet at least), but before 2000 there were a decent amount of people afraid about what could happen with 'Y2K'. Nevertheless I think Busta's point was about more than an actual apocalypse; he realized things were changing in the world, and looking back now that is definitely true.

One thing that made "When Disaster Strikes", work so well was Busta Rhymes himself. His distinct style and sarcastic yet playfully serious tone throughout the album make it one of the most interesting releases of the late 1990s. The album shined the light back on East Coast rap in the mainstream after the West Coast had been dominating for some years prior. "When Disaster Strikes" is Busta's most original work, and is definitely a classic.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

DiCaprio Stands On The Grassy Knoll in the Upcoming JFK Movie


No matter what day of the week it is, it seems that Leonardo DiCapro can’t escape the news.

Whether it's him being onboard a flight that had to make an emergency landing, or that he's producing a new film, America's favorite star can’t hide.

And I don’t think anyone's complaining.

After news came out that he will shoot Clint Eastwood's "Hoover" biopic early next year, DiCaprio has signed on to star and produce "Legacy of Secrecy," a film adaptation of Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann's book about the John F. Kennedy assassination, according to Variety.

The book follows FBI informant Jack Van Laningham (DiCaprio), who was part of a dangerous and long-term undercover operation in which he became confidant to Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello, a man who ran much of the organized crime throughout Louisiana and Texas.

The book claims Marcello confessed to Van Laningham to having ordered JFK's assassination and includes a bunch of information from declassified FBI files dealing with the clandestine undercover operation. Marcello's name did not appear in the 1964 Warren Report on the assassination.

Although the release date is ways off, it's great to see that such a talented actor has lined up so many good projects in the near future. After blazing screen's this year in "Shutter Island" and "Inception," DiCaprio seemingly can't miss.

He is set to star in the upcoming "The Great Gatsby" film as the title character as well as the upcoming "Hoover" movie. Both should pack prestige and box-office--as will this project once it gets off the ground.

DiCaprio will produce through his Appian Way production company. A 2013 release is likely to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

Coen Brothers' "Gambit" Remake Goes Forward


As they ready for the release of their new film, the remake of the John Wayne classic "True Grit," the Coen Brothers may have finally found a home for another project they have worked on.

Way back in January, word spread around that the Coens' remake of the 1966 British caper "Gambit" was finally getting off the ground, with Doug Liman in the director's chair. The brothers scripted the film, but after a bit of time, Liman dropped out and the project remained in limbo.

But according to Deadline, Crime Scene Pictures has signed on to finance the remake with director Michael Hoffman at the helm. Hoffman has previously directed "The Emperor's Club," "One Fine Day" and "The Last Station."

Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine starred in the original about a cat burglar who tries to rob a billionaire of a priceless statue. He enlists the help of a waitress who is a dead ringer for the victim's late wife, but the job's execution is complicated by his relationship with his accomplice.

Considering the Coen Brothers penned the screenplay, there's no doubt in my mind that this will be a quality production. I would love to see what the duo would create if they directed this script, but having seen some of Hoffman's past work, I think he will do a formidable job.

One of Hoffman's most recent films, "The Station Agent," was a surprisingly good film and "The Emperor's Club" was vastly underrated. On top of that, "One Fine Day" is a guilty pleasure of mine, and the film showcased Hoffman's ability to balance two romantic leads in George Clooney and Michele Phiffer. His experience on that film should come in handy on this picture.

Casting should begin soon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Daniel Day-Lewis to Play Abraham Lincoln in Biopic


Talk about a look-a-like.

Steven Speilberg's biopic of President Lincoln has been simmering in Hollywood development hell for a few years now. For most of that time it was known that Liam Neeson was set to play President Abraham Lincoln in said biopic.

For many years, it seemed as if the film was always in pre-production, never to see the light of day. Then in August Neeson dropped out of playing the President, which left the film's future in doubt yet again. Doubt no more.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis has signed on to play the iconic President for Spielberg's film, which will begin filming next fall.

The story will be based on the best-selling Doris Kearns Goodwin book "Team Of Rivals," but renamed "Lincoln."

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") has penned the screenplay. In a press release, DreamWorks said the film will focus on “the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition [of slavery] and the end of the Civil War.”

Of Lewis, Spielberg said: "Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln."

Day-Lewis is known for his commitment to roles, as well as the fact that he doesn’t take on too many of them. He recently starred in the musical "Nine" and before that took home his second Best Actor nomination for Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood." Day-Lewis played oil man Daniel Plainview, turning in one of Hollywood's all-time best performances.

Although I had previously though Neeson was the perfect actor to portray Lincoln, this matchup is even better. Day-Lewis is easily the best actor of this generation and his commitment to his work is unbelievable. While on the set of his films the man doesn't break character, so anyone who is on the crew of this up coming film should be prepared to see the most realistic version of the iconic President as they probably ever will.

The film is scheduled to begin filming in the fall of 2011, with an anticipated release in the fall of 2012.

Here's a super duper early Oscar prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis wins one for this role. You heard it here breezers.

Trailergasm of the Day

Today's trailergasm goes straight out to my boy Dillion Tedesco holding it down in the nation's capital, much like Daniel Criag holds down some aliens in this bad ass trailer.

Directed by Jon Favreau this film looks to be one of the most enertinaing of 2011 and the trailer does not disappoint. The film clearly wants to hold true to its Western roots, and while it won't be the gritty variety of lets say "Deadwood", the film is as much a Western story as it is a science fiction one.



The film has an absolutely stellar cast including Harrison Ford as the harsh town leader as well as Sam Rockwell, the super hot Olivia Wilde, Clancy Brown and Paul Dano. Oh, and it's exec produced by Steven Spielberg, so get your six shooters and laser ready.

The invasion begins July 29, 2011.

DiCaprio's J. Edgar Hoover Flick Begins Filming Early Next Year


After a year in which he gave two of his best career performances, Leonardo DiCaprio literally is in a place where he can take on whatever role he pleases. Early on, he gave one of his best in "Shutter Island" before dizzying audiences in Christopher Nolan's "Inception" over the summer.

Around that time came news that DiCaprio would be starring in Clint Eastwood's biopic about J. Edgar Hoover, but there was no word on when that would actually begin. But now we have confirmation from the actor himself. Filming on the project will start early next year.

Word comes from DiCaprio through Coming Soon, who commented on the project on Sunday during a Q&A presentation titled "Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese in Conversation."

Legendary actor-director Clint Eastwood will direct DiCaprio in the role of Hoover, while screenwriter Dustin Lance Black penned the screenplay. Black of course won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for penning the screenplay for "Milk."

Said DiCaprio at the event: “I will be working with Clint very soon on the Hoover project. I think it's going to start very soon, maybe January or February.”

Since Black had previously written "Milk" and is openly gay, many in the industry think the script could focus on Hoover's rumored homosexuality and cross-dressing. Eastwood, has confirmed that that's at least partly true, but still hasn't divulged much.

Said Eastwood: "He was a very complex person. The homosexual aspect is just one of many. I would say that's the least of his problems. But he was also very clever, whether rightfully or wrongfully, he was very clever about keeping himself in a certain position in life, so it is an interesting study."

Hoover vehemently denied he was gay, but willed his estate to Clyde Tolson, his alleged lover. The two men also worked together, Tolson landed the plum post of associate director after only three years at the agency, and frequently socialized together. Other evidence that Hoover was gay includes the fact that many of his closest friends were closeted men. Rumors that Hoover was a crossdresser persist to this day.

Whether they focus on the homosexual aspect or not, this film is shaping up to be a supreme awards contender whenever it is released. With talents like Eastwood, DiCaprio and Black all collaborating together, the sky is the limit when it comes to quality. I'm sure no one would be surprised if the three ended up landing Oscar nominations for their work.

Filming should kick of early next year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Classic Album Review: DMX, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot


In the mid-90s the hip-hop community was reeling. Everyone was still dealing with the tragic deaths of both 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. and the industry was entering one of its toughest periods it had ever known. People were angry, people wanted answers.

Hip-hop was waiting for something to happen, for someone to take the flag from those fallen stars and continue to bring hardcore rap into the new century. Whether it was out of anger, frustration or timing, DMX was that man.

Soon after those tragedies DMX came along, his Ruff Ryder crew in tow, and brought on some inner-city toughness and machismo that the industry was looking for. While he had done some guest work and had released some lesser known tracks, Earl Simmons, aka DMX was still looking for his breakout.

That breakout came in May of 1998 with his debut album, the aptly titled "It's Dark and Hell is Hot". The album introduced DMX to the masses, and unlike most other hardcore rappers who had more bark than bite, he had the physical presence to go along with his aggressive rapping style.

Filled with barking, growling, and snarling, the album had a personality of its own, personified by the man who made it. Produced in parts by Swizz Beats, Irv Gotti, and Dame Grease, the album is filled with some great tracks including "Stop Being Greedy", "How's It Goin' Down", "X-Is Coming", "Get at Me Dog", "For My Dogs", and of course the "Ruff Ryders' Anthem".

The album itself helped throw the spotlight back on hardcore rap, and showcased that DMX was more than just a growling machine, with him bringing so much emotion to the album while portraying different characters and mindsets throughout, including on the track "Damien".

"X-Is Coming" is one of the most interesting but also dark tracks on the album. The beat a sort of horror or gothic sound to it, referencing the film "A Nightmare on Elm Street" throughout the track as well. DMX delves into some serious lyrics, involving issues such as violence, murder and rape. The beat is haunting, and DMX is fierce on the track as he raps: " And ask you seriously what you wanna do?/Frustratin isn't? Wanna kill me but I'ma kill you!/Now watch me f**k, just a little while longer, please will you?/This is revenge, know that before you die,/Despite how much I hate to see a grown man,/ I'ma make you suffer,/See yo' ass in hell motherf**ker!"



"How's It Goin' Down" was the third single off of the album and could be considered a bit less hardcore than the rest of the tracks. The lyrics go over DMX meeting a girl and eventually carrying on an affair with her, which leads to the girl's current boyfriend attacking a man he believes is DMX. By the song's end, DMX decides that carrying on the relationship would be wrong and tells the girl she should go back to her boyfriend. I actually think this is one of DMX's most underrated tracks because of his ability to change up from his usual hard delivery into a smoother rap style.



One of his best verses on the track comes at the end as he spits: " Aiyyo this chicken got me digging her moves, 'cuz she smooth/Wanna lose, whoever she choose, it's the dues/Respect is not expected but it's given 'cuz it's real /Being neglected and all, expect it, the deal/Lie, cheat, and steal for me/Putting something in a nigga's wig if you squeal for me/Kill for me, you still with me/'Cuz we get down like what."

"Stop Being Greedy" has one of the best beats on the album hands down. It samples a part of a Diana Ross track and from the second the track starts you can see how ferocious DMX is, starting off barking and spitting some fast rhymes. One of the most interesting aspects of the track is something DMx does throughout the album, showing two sides of his voice. He uses the smooth voice to represent no trouble while the angry voice represents hostility and trouble. Lyrics on this track are focused on violence and stress which represents DMX's anger towards greedy people not wanting to help the one who needs it.



The "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" is easily the most recognizable tracks on the album and is also one of the best. Produced by uber-producer Swizz Beats, the repetitive and pounding beat is impossible to ignore. Whether you liked it or not, the song was catchy, and showed off DMX's skills as a rapper as well as his penchant for humor.



DMX brings it full force on this track as he sets the tone and raps: "Niggaz wanna try, niggaz wanna lie /Then niggaz wonder why, niggaz wanna die/All I know is pain/All I feel is rain/How can I maintain, with madd shit on my brain/I resort to violence, my niggaz move in silence/Like you don't know what are style is/New York niggaz the wildest."

While many may not think of this album as one of the best of all time, looking back over ten years down the line, there's no doubt it is. DMX makes his voice a character like no other rapper can, and throughout the album he intelligently battles with the good and evil sides of himself.

On top of that, unlike most of the hardcore rappers of that time, DMX makes his lyrics meaningful and symbolic, rather than just about material issues. He raps about inner strength, as well as qualities like survival, wisdom, strength, respect, and faith, while also maintaining his hard edge.

While DMX may have slipped off in his later years, there is no doubt that "It's Dark and Hell is Hot" is his best work, and easily a classic hardcore hip-hop album.

Soderbergh Helms "Man From U.N.C.L.E."


Over the years, Steven Soderbergh has consistently impressed me with his selection of films. He has proven to be one of the most versatile directors of all-time, seamlessly directing such varied films as "Traffic," "Ocean's 11," "Erin Brockovich" and "The Informant."

Soderbergh now looks to add another film to his already lengthy and impressive resume, with Heat Vision reporting that the director is in line to direct the film adaptation of classic 60's NBC TV series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." for Warner Bros. Pictures.

U.N.C.L.E. aired on NBC from 1964-68, during a Cold War period that saw numerous spy shows hit the airwaves. James Bond author Ian Fleming was a creator of the show, which focused on the adventures of American and Russian members of a secret agency called the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Robert Vaughn and David McCallum starred in the original spy drama as two agents from U.N.C.L.E. who fought the forces of Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (T.H.R.U.S.H.).

David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") was most recently attached to direct and while that's no longer the case, Dobkin will remain onboard as producer alongside John Davis and Jeff Kleeman.

Scott Z. Burns, who wrote the Soderbergh films "The Informant" and the upcoming "Contagion," will likely join to do a rewrite of Max Borenstein's latest script draft.

Soderbergh has kept himself busy lately with projects, including "Haywire," his first foray into action territory, with Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and Michael Douglas, and is currently shooting "Contagion," a thriller with another all-star cast, this one featuring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Kate Winslett.

Obviously, only time will tell on what tone or style Soderbergh will take on the film, but he could go either way, making things a bit more comical and light, or more serious and realistic. Either way, I'm excited for this project mainly because of the director. I think "Traffic" is one of the most under appreciated films of all time, and "The Informant!" was pure genius.

The director will aim to shoot U.N.C.L.E. at the end of next year.