Saturday, February 28, 2009

Watch the Watchmen get Unscripted

To be honest, I know very little about the Watchmen comic book series. I've never read them, and I'm ashamed to say, I had never heard of them until about a year ago. So my typical fangirl excitement isn't there. But I think Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, and Matthew Goode are enough to get me excited. I snagged the complete Watchmen Unscripted interview from Moviefone below:

Go to the Moviefone site to watch four more bonus clips from the interview.

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Opening today – The Jonas Brothers rot your tween daughter's brain

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Otherwise known as the movie that's kicking Coraline out of 3D theaters, this documentary/concert (whatever) about the Brothers Who Refuse to Get Laid, serves to remind me about what a nutcase I was back in high school. Go ahead and watch this, but in a few years you'll be ashamed to say you did.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
This movie is based on a popular video game and was directed by the same man who brought us Doom. Needless to say I fully expect this film to be a little bit God awful.

Limited Release

Crossing Over
Harrison Ford, stars in this tale of interweaving lives of immigrants from all over the world, who struggle through their daily lives in Los Angeles. One can understand how bright young stars Summer Bishil and Jim Sturgess could stand to be in a poor man's version of Crash, but you'd think Harrison Ford would be past this by now.

Echelon Conspiracy
The bland title has me wondering how on earth this movie avoided going straight to DVD. Shane West stars, and Martin Sheen somehow made his way to the set. Check out the trailer below:

The Trouble With Romance
A romantic comedy with interconnecting stories dealing with love and the troubles that come with it. I could swear a slicker, glossier version of this movie came out a few weeks ago.

The movie I'd go see this weekend: Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. February is a movie dumping ground okay? It's not like I'm just dying to see this movie.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two new 'Wolverine' photos

A shiny new French poster and photo of X-Men Origins: Wolverine have found their way onto the interwebs. It's kind of hard to tear your eyes away from Hugh Jackman's massive arms. Why didn't he show us this much skin during the Oscars? You can check out the new photos below:


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Gigantic genius of Paul Dano

Gigantic looks like the kind of indie dramedy that I've grown tired of: syrupy, pretentious, too cute for its own good. But, I find its star, Paul Dano, irresistible enough to be convinced that he can do no wrong. Dano plays a mattress store employee hellbent on adopting a baby from China. Add Dano's quiet presence to Gigantic's relatively good reviews, and my excitement has gotten hard to contain.

Gigantic is one of four films Paul Dano stars in this year. The others are Explicit Ills, Taking Woodstock – directed by Ang Lee and also starring Paul Dano's The Girl Next Door co-star Emile Hirsch, and Where the Wild Things Are.

2009 might be the stepping stone from promising young actor to bonafide genius. Certainly his sullen teenager in Little Miss Sunshine and his quiet confidence opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will be Blood will have a lot to do with that transition. Yet, 2009 seems like a promising year for him. I don't mean fangirls will chase him through the streets Rob Pattinson style, but perhaps there will be a level of credibility that puts him at the same level with say, Ryan Gosling.

Gigantic and Taking Woodstock stand out the most. For the first time, Paul Dano plays the romantic lead opposite Zooey Deschanel (equally irresistible) in Gigantic, and he works with Ang Lee in Taking Woodstock. The Academy's on and off romance with Ang Lee, and Paul Dano's appearances in two Oscar nominated films (There Will be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine) makes Taking Woodstock harder to ignore.

I could be wrong about all of this. Paul Dano's performance with Zooey Deschanel may be overshadowed by that other quirky, indie romance that also stars Deschanel with a supremely talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Taking Woodstock could somehow get Hulkified. I'll have to return to this post a year or more from now to see if I was right or wrong. You can watch Paul in the Gigantic trailer, so that you can, you know, get excited. Or not:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's official: Emily Blunt will not star in Iron Man 2

Jon Favreau has confirmed what we already knew. Emily Blunt will not be in Iron Man 2, and has instead been optioned by Fox to star in Gulliver's Travels. There, I said it with a straight face.
Luckily Blunt has The Young Victoria and blockbuster The Wolf Man to keep us from weeping entertained.

So before the Iron Man 2 trainwreck completly heads out of the the station without Ms. Blunt, we're left wondering who Favreau will choose to play Black Widow.

My casting choices are always a little out there, but I'll throw my hat in the ring and suggest Marion Cotillard, Natalie Portman, Rebecca Hall, or Eva Green. I would suggest Malin Ackerman, but she's already doing her Watchmen thing, and Scarlett Johansson is trying my patience. So, who would you suggest to play Black Widow?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Full list of 2009's Oscar winners

Best Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk”
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Original Screenplay: “Milk”
Best Art Direction: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Cinematography: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Costume Design: “The Duchess”
Best Film Editing: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Makeup: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Music (Original Score): “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Music (Original Song): “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Sound Editing: “The Dark Knight”
Best Sound Mixing: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Visual Effects: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Animated Feature Film: “WALL-E”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Departures”
Best Documentary Feature: “Man on Wire”
Best Documentary Short: “Smile Pinki”
Best Short Film (Animated): “La Maison en Petits Cubes”
Best Short Film (Live Action): “Toyland”

2009 Oscar highlights

I can't believe there are Oscar highlights. I fully expected to be miserable and bitchy over the lack of Dark Knight and Revolutionary Road love, but this has been one of the most fun ceremonies I've seen in a long time. I'm glad I watched.

Hugh Jackman hosting
He's great at hosting the Tony Awards and I thought he was great tonight. He was charming and spontaneous. He sang beautifully, the bit he did with Anne Hathaway was hilarious. I hope they have him host again.

The speeches

  • Penelope Cruz's speech was touching and I'm not ashamed to admit that she made me cry.
  • Dustin Lance Black looked gorgeous and his speech was incredible. I hope one day soon, his dream and Harvey Milk's dream comes true.
  • Heath Ledger's family accepting for him was so moving. It's heartbreaking he didn't live to see this day, but his family has decided to celebrate his life. I hope his movies live on for a very long time.
  • Kate Winslet won with a gorgeous speech. All the critics who have been hating on her for giving speeches without a script can rant all they want over her win. She won and she deserved it.
  • Sean Penn's win was my favorite of the night. Mickey Rourke was the favorite but I thought Sean would win, and he deserved it. You can watch his speech below before it's pulled from youtube:

Red carpet highlight
All the young actors from Slumdog Millionaire arrived and they were adorable. They looked so excited to be there.

Random highlight
Chris Nolan looked really hot tonight.

What's your opinion on the ceremony? I can't tell if I'm too giddy about the whole thing because Sean Penn won, so I'd love to get other perspectives.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An Oscar plea to Dark Knight fans

Today is Oscar day. Most years I wake up with butterflies in my stomach and I watch the mindless cooing over free diamonds on the E! network. Right now I'm watching Debbie Snuffleupagus help a bag of bones model (dressed in some neon pink nightmare) put on lipgloss.

There are no butterflies this year. There is no Dark Knight best picture nomination. No Christopher Nolan or Jonathan Nolan nod. It's enough to make you want to boycott. I understand the anger, bitterness, and feeling of betrayal. It's enough to make you understand how Harvey Dent went batshit crazy.

Within the first hour of the ceremony, Heath Ledger will win the Oscar he also deserved three years ago. If you love the Joker, and if you respect Heath Ledger's work, then you know that this is bigger than hurt feelings. Five years from now nobody will remember or care what was nominated for best picture, or what picture won. Heath Ledger's Joker, however, can't be forgotten; the maniacal laugh, the leering at a panicked Rachel Dawes, that magic trick. Watch the Oscars for that.

Watch it to support the crew that created Chris Nolan's masterpiece. Watch it because Jonah Nolan is a classier man than any member of the Academy could hope to be. Watch it because even though in your heart of hearts you want to watch the Oscars burn, you also want to honor the people who gave us one of the most memorable crime dramas in recent memory. Keep watching even as the nominees lose to someone else. Making a film takes blood sweat and tears, and two people involved with The Dark Knight did not live long enough to see this moment. Watch the Oscars for all of them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

These movies do not direct themselves

Ben Lyons points out the obvious charade that is this year's directing Oscar nominations. The Dark Knight has 8 Oscar nominations - among them are nods for Special Effects, Editing, Cinematography, and Sound Mixing. The film's Best Picture snub at the Oscars is easily explained, but the nominees did not direct themselves. Christopher Nolan deserved a nomination.

Ben Lyons might be a hack and a tool, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. It's a crying shame that the only thing that interests me about this year's Oscars are seeing Heath Ledger win and swooning over Hugh Jackman. I'd upload the rest of Lyons' mindless ramblings, but I don't want to make your ears bleed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The movie star bites the dust

Christopher Goodwin from The First Post thinks that the $20 million deal is over. He dregs up exhibit A, B, C, and D - the impending clusterfuck of doom recession, union disunity, plummeting DVD sales, and the "inability of any major star to guarantee that a film will make a profit". However, I don't fully agree with this hair on fire assessment:

Final proof that star power means nothing in today’s Hollywood came when Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith, who many had called Hollywood's last movie star, foundered at the box office when it opened just before Christmas.
This is hardly proof. At least not in Will Smith's case. Will Smith had a smash hit with the weirdness that was Hancock last summer, and Seven Pounds isn't the first film of Smith's to crash and burn. He bounced back after the Bagger Vance nightmare stronger than ever. Were it any other star I would be inclined to agree with Goodwin 100%. But not when he cites Will Smith.

Goodwin writes that Hollywood is not going in the direction of the star, but rather that of the franchise:
These days it's the franchises owned and controlled by the studios - series like Batman, Harry Potter, Transformers, Mission Impossible and next summer's Star Trek and X-Men sequels - which are the big money earners.

A good example of the kind of starless film Hollywood is increasingly betting on is the adolescent vampire romance Twilight, based on the popular book series.

So what's the future of movies according to Goodwin? It's grim:

As the recession bites and audiences look to the movies for entertainment and a way out of the gloom, Hollywood is looking forward to clearing heavy-duty Oscar movies out of the cinemas so it can slot in more starless franchises and comedies like the current US box office champ, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

God help us all. I'd rather watch Seven Pounds on loop. If the future of mainstream cinema is Paul Blart, Hollywood cannot be surprised when people illegally download its middling wastes of celluloid.

What do you think people? Is it over for the movie star? And if it is, which movie star would you like to see go away?

Top 5 highly anticipated (mostly) independent films

This is the first list I have ever posted. It's more my personal preference rather than what I think the general public is excited to see.

5. Shrink

Jonas Pate makes his directorial debut with this story about a celebrity shrink whose life spirals out of control following a tragedy. While the film stars Kevin Spacey, it's bright young starlet Keke Palmer who has me wanting to watch this. I've followed her career since her riveting performance in The Wool Cap opposite William H. Macy, and though she's been busy with television, it will be great to see her back on the big screen.

4. Good Hair

Co-written by comedian Chris Rock, this documentary centers around the complicated relationship black women often have with their hair. I believe it will be aired on television instead of getting released in theaters. For me, the film will be worth watching mostly because as a black woman I have lived this story my entire life.

3. Cold Souls

This semi-sci-fi dramedy stars Paul Giamatti, playing an actor named Paul Giamatti. He lucks into finding a company that lessens emotional suffering by deep-freezing and transplanting souls; Giamatti's soul is exchanged in the process. The premise is what draws me. Admittedly it sounds like a combination of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I find it intruiging in spite of its Charlie Kaufmanlike quality, not because of it.

2. Mammoth

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Mammoth chronicles the lives of an affluent New York couple and the Philippino nanny they've employed to care for their 8 year old daughter. Meanwhile in the Philippines the nanny's family tries to deal with her absense. The plot sounds like 2006's Babel (globalization seems to be a running theme for Bernal), but Gael Garcia Bernal and his co-star Michelle Williams consistantly make solid, well crafted films.

1. The Last Station

This is the second film on the list starring Paul Giamatti. The historical drama about the life of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy boasts one of the most talented casts in years with Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer (as Tolstoy), James McAvoy, and Giamatti. My Oscar predictions are the kiss of death for a film, so I'll just refrain from mentioning anything having to do with the Academy Awards in regards to this film.

What almost made the list:

Medicine for Melancholy - the story

It Might Get Loud - a documentary with my husband rocker Jack White

Paper Heart - Charlyne Yi's adorable face gets me every time

The September Issue - Forget the Devil Wears Prada, this is the real thing

Since the year is still young(ish) I will soon have a few more lists for my most anticipated movies – blockbusters, French films, comedies, etc. Which movies are you dying to see this year? It doesn't matter if they're independent or otherwise you can share in the comments section.

Friday, February 6, 2009

About that title...

Come Back Shane! exists because of my mother and my grandmother. When my mother was a young girl in Jamaica, my grandmother took her to the movies all the time. It was always just the two of them, and some movies they watched decades ago are now my favorites.

My grandmother loved Westerns most, Shane being one of the films my mother distinctly remembers. Though my mother can't remember the plot, she has always remembered Shane's ending: a young Joey (Brandon De Wilde) calling after his idol as he rides off into the sunset - “Come back Shane!” Though the quote is actually “Shane! Shane! Come back!” followed by a sad "Bye, Shane", for a little girl to hold on to that quote for 40 years, the movie must have made an impact.

Naturally, with my mother's talk of dark movie theaters (something I grew up without while I lived in West Africa), and my grandmother deciding which summer movies to watch – I became a cinephile. Hence the blog, and its odd title.

The blog will frequently focus on young Hollywood talent (artists and actors not a day over 35), and movies I'm drawn to (mainstream movies, indies, French films, and some of the classics). The title, therefore, has a sort of double meaning based on its focus on young talent. Brandon De Wilde was Oscar nominated for his role in Shane at age 11 and tragically dead at 30. So the blog's spirit will always try to be a youthful one (obsessing over classic movies notwithstanding).

Come Back Shane! is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, who passed away in December, 2008 – movie buff, lifelong Paul Newman fan, and the best film teacher a little (fan)girl could hope for.

Opening today - Dakota's twofer

He's Just Not That into You
Five years ago I would have raced to see Scarlett Johansson in anything. But romantic comedies do NOTHING for me unless most of the cast has a British accent. Director Ken Kwapis may have directed some episodes of the American version of The Office, but if knowing he also directed License to Wed doesn't have you screaming from the movie theater, I don't know what will.

The first of Dakota Fanning's movies (surley we get two tickets for the price of one). Unlike her live action movie, this animated fantasy about a girl who discovers a strange new world, looks promising. The animation is stunning, but that's to be expected from director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas). The PG rating means it might scare the crap out of the kids much the same way Nightmare did me. Call it my lust for vengeance unleashed upon a new generation.

The Pink Panther 2
Peter Sellers rolling in his grave aside, expect it to make a bucket load of money. I refused to watch the first Pink Panther with Steve Martin (Clive Owen cameo be damned), and this one looks worse if such a thing is possible. Quelle horreur.

This is not the sensation from Sundance:

“A shadowy government agency is genetically transforming citizens into an army of psychic warriors – and ...disposing of those unwilling to participate.”

Haven't we seen this before? My girl brain is excited about a drool worthy Chris Evans, but with the exception of Sunshine his films are painful to watch. I expect getting through this will be agony.

Limited Release:

With its very limited release the DVD won't be far behind its US release. It does sound interesting – there aren't exactly a lot of Western films about an ass kicking girl with autism, who takes on an organized crime ring:

Everything I know about this movie leaves me pretty fucking irritated. Star Wars fanboys going on a road trip in 1999 to watch Episode I? Before I go into my own fangirl tirade (fuck you Jar Jar) I have to ask: why does the Weinstein Company hate us?

Jump right in with a comment. Which film are you planning on seeing this weekend? Got a review of any of them (which to steer clear of, which to watch)?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An open letter to Hilary Duff

If you need some backstory, here's the rundown: Former Disney cash cow Hilary Duff will take on Faye Dunaway's role as Bonnie Parker in a remake of Bonnie and Clyde called, The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Dunaway's natural retort to this casting nightmare? “Couldn't they at least have cast a real actress?” On Tuesday, Duff lashed out at the Oscar winning legend. Watch as Hilary Duff disgraces herself:

Dear Hilary,

This is not the only website that thinks you playing infamous gangster Bonnie Parker is a dreadful idea. Faye Dunaway's brutal opinion sounds severe, but it's not the opinion of an old, bitter, jealous actress as you would have us believe. It's an opinion shared by many outside of your obviously clueless fan base, who you claim isn't knowledgeable enough to even know who Faye Dunaway is.

Before I proceed, I urge you to command your minions fans to watch the original film. Sadly, if they are as clueless as you let on, they'll grow bored with having to watch a film that was made long before they were born.

With the news that you are going full steam ahead with this project I urge you to consider one of the following:

Request #1 – Realize that you're going to fail

The original Bonnie and Clyde is an Oscar winning classic and Faye Dunaway's performance is iconic. If you haven't already seen the film, don't. Watching will only make your work even more disastrous. You'll either try to mimic Dunaway's sexy outlaw (irritating), or you'll choose to learn nothing at all and give your typical forgettable performance (less disastrous). If I were you I'd choose the latter to avoid public ridicule. Many of us don't expect much from you so you won't be accused of disappointing us.


Request #2 – Prove Faye Dunaway (and me) wrong

Give a performance that's the equivalent of a middle finger. Dunaway was only four years older than you are when she played Bonnie and was nominated for an Oscar. But at the time, Bonnie and Clyde was only her third on screen role. So really, you've got more screen experience than Dunaway did, and therefore have no excuse for your middling performances. So make a fool of Faye, Hilary. Immerse yourself in the character, read everything you can about the Great Depression, spend every waking moment getting to know your Clyde (the talented Kevin Zegers), and hell, if you're going to shoot your mouth off, you might as well learn to shoot the real thing – take shooting lessons.

Hilary, you could have learned from Faye Dunaway's experience and wisdom. You could have avoided looking like a childish, spoiled brat and suggested Faye Dunaway judge your performance after seeing the film. Instead you resorted to insulting her looks (for the record she's still a knockout). So you can either accept your lot in life, leaving us all to forget you exist, or you can knock our socks off. Again, I suggest you choose the latter Ms. Duff, or you risk looking like a prized fool.