Tag Archives: cinema

Trailer Thursday: “Cloud Atlas”

What do you get you combine the mad genius minds behind “The Matrix” trilogy and the quick-cut renegade who directed “Run Lola Run”? Well, apparently, something like “Cloud Atlas”. I’m not sure what this movie is about or how each segment relates to the others, but, holy crap, does it look cool!

It also looks like the kind of movie that audiences are either gonna love or totally hate with a passion. With ideas this big, sweeping and crazy, there will be no middle ground and that makes me wanna see it even more! Go, “Cloud Atlas”!

Oh yeah, and if you dig the trailer, you might wanna watch the highly-unusual trailer introduction taped by the film’s directors, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and his new sister, Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski.

That’s right, amigos, one of the big galoots behind “The Matrix” is now a chick. And not a bad-looking one at that. I’m kinda digging the pink dreads…very “Run Lola Run” of her. Good on you, Lana!

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Google Doodle Celebrates Drive-In Movie Theatres!

I know it’s a little late in the day to bring this up, but, did anyone notice that cool-ass Google Doodle that’s been up all day today? And if you noticed it, did you take the time to actually click on it too?

Well, just in case you missed it, here again for your viewing pleasure is Google’s salute to the 79th birthday of the drive-in theatre! Wow…who knew they had drive-ins in the 1930’s? Crazy, huh?

Anyway, enjoy the clip below and if you happen to be lucky enough to live near a drive-in, I command you to head over there and get your outdoor movie theatre on! I grew up near the late, great Skyview drive-in in Santa Cruz and have many tales to tell of my adventures there, none of them suitable for a family blog, but all of them as vivid and wonderful as drive-in culture itself! Oh, the memories…

Happy 79th birthday drive-ins…seriously, you don’t look a day over 50 to me!

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Trailer Thursday: “Moonrise Kingdom”

OK, I take back what I said about not being excited about any of the films screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, because, the latest movie from Wes Anderson looks totally amazing!

Usually, I’m kind of cautiously excited about a new Wes Anderson flick, but, he’s been on a roll lately with The Darjeeling Limited and the weirdly-wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox, so, I’m betting Moonrise Kingdom will rock. And if nothing else, it will look cool and have a kick-ass soundtrack. Either way…enjoy!

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Cannes Film Festival Poster (2012)

Wow…it’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. How busy, you ask? So busy that I didn’t have any time to blog about this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped up Sunday. Yep, I said wrapped up, as in, the festival is over, the jury has gone home and I didn’t mention any of that nerdiness on my blog. Sad, huh?

I dunno if it was the lackluster slate of films in competition or maybe the fact that the star-factor of the jury left me kinda cold — even with Obi Wan himself, Ewan McGregor, on the panel! — but, for some reason, I just wasn’t that jazzed about this year’s fest. No Wong Kar-Wai, no David Lynch, no Woody, no Terrence Malick, hell, I woulda settled for another Tarantino master class, but, nope, not this year.

That said, the official poster for this year’s festival was freaking gorgeous, so, instead of babbling on and on about the films and filmmakers in attendance, this time, I’ll simply post the poster here instead. Enjoy!

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Happy Mother’s Day from “Brave”

I know I’ve been away for a while, but, hopefully this beautiful new Mother’s-Day-specific trailer for the upcoming Pixar release Brave will help soothe any hurt feelings out there. I still love this blog to death, but, actually contributing to it on a daily basis is another matter. Generating fresh content for two blogs, working on a spec screenplay and raising a toddler is hard, yo!

Anyway, I promise to come around more often (especially with Cannes on the horizon!) but, in the meantime, please enjoy this totally awesome trailer…and happy Mother’s Day!

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Woody’s winning streak…

While several of the key categories are still up in the air, there is one sure bet at the Academy Awards this Sunday, and that is that Woody Allen — the most nominated writer in Oscar history with a whopping 15 writing nominations alone! — will collect his fourth career Oscar for writing Midnight in Paris. That’s right, amigos, the Woodman is back!

And if there was any doubt about it, I’d say Allen’s Best Original Screenplay win at Sunday night’s WGA Awards pretty much sealed the deal. Beating out such worth contenders as Diablo Cody’s wicked-good script for Young Adult and Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni’s amazing work on Win Win, Allen took home his fifth WGA Award for Midnight this past weekend.

As you know, I’m a HUGE Woody Allen fan, so, I’m very excited for him, even though Midnight was not my favorite of his movies (I voted for Young Adult), it was cute and fun and fluffy, but, at the end of the day, he’s done magical realism better in The Purple Rose of Cairo, Alice and even Broadway Danny Rose. That said, as a lifelong fan, it is really cool to see a Woody Allen movie nominated for writing, directing, and best picture again.

So, good on you, Woody. I look forward to seeing who picks up your Oscar for you this year! Kudos also to Alexander Payne and his co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Nash for winning the WGA’s Best Adapted Screenplay award for their stellar work on The Descendants. That one I did vote for!

To see a list of all this year’s WGA Award Winners, click here.

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Oscar Nominees 2012

Alright, I admit it, I’m too lazy to cut and paste the blog post I just wrote about this year’s Oscar Nominations on my other blog here. Sorry, I’m just too tired, and until WordPress re-instates the blog-sharing feature, I’m gonna have to just leave you with a link. So, if you wanna read what I think about this morning’s Oscar nominations (Yay, Gary Oldman! Boo, “The Ides of March” and “Margin Call”!) you’re gonna have to click here now.

See ya on the other side, amigos…

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2012 Screen Actor’s Guild Award Nominees

I don’t normally stay up to watch the live broadcast of the SAG Award Nominations, but, was up anyway wrapping Christmas presents and dealing with a sick baby, so…I watched. And, well, it was kind of a snooze. No real big surprises. No gasping from the audience (or me, for that matter), just kind of the usual suspects at this point.

I’m not saying the nominees aren’t deserving, because they totally are — especially the cast nominations for “The Descendents”, “Bridesmaids” and “Midnight In Paris” — but I was a bit disappointed to see Charlize Theron overlooked for her stellar work in “Young Adult” and the same goes for Maria Bello’s incendiary performance on NBC’s recently-shelved “Prime Suspect”. Those are two of the best performances of the year in my book, and I was bummed to see them both overlooked by SAG.

But, hey, there’s always the Golden Globe nominations on Thursday. And you know those crazy foreign press guys love hot blonde chicks, so…I’m betting they both get a lot more love then. At least they’d better!

To see the full list of SAG Award Nominees, click here.

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Yoda vs. Yoda in “The Phantom Menace”

OK, hold on a minute, I might have to reverse my decision on one of George Lucas’ “tweaks” to the “Star Wars” films for their Blu-Ray debut. I actually think the new CGI Yoda in “The Phantom Menace” is a huge improvement over the dead-eyed, Cracked-out Yoda puppet that originally appeared in the film. I mean, seriously, what is wrong with that f-ing puppet, man? Yikes…he musta scared the freaking midi-chlorians outta little Anakin!

So, you win this round, Mr. Lucas, but, I still ain’t buying all those damn Blu-Rays till they go on sale. Or, you know, someone like my talented and lovely wife gifts them to me for Christmas…

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Video Mart, Grants Pass, OR

OK, since we’re on the subject of great, old-school video stores, I gotta tell ya about one more of them. Video Mart is located literally on the wrong side of the tracks in my wife’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon, but, don’t let that stop you, because this store seriously rocks!

Although it’s been in Grants Pass for years, I just discovered Video Mart this past July with my nephews. They were drawn in by the store’s amazing Sunday deal on video games — all games are a dollar and you get them for five days! — but what really thrilled me was the store’s vast selection of truly unique movies.

Sure, they have all the top-40 shit up front and yes, they rent Blu-Ray too, which is awesome, but, the thing that kept us coming back was their rocking selection of older titles. The pricing didn’t hurt either, every older title is available to rent for $1.00 for three nights. And if you rent more than five, you get to keep them for five glorious nights! Awesome!

Needless to say, I got myself a membership (yep, they let me get one even though I live out of state!) and we got down to some serious movie renting. All totaled, I think we rented somewhere between 10-15 movies during our visit and at least 4 video games. Best. Vacation. Ever!

And kudos to the fine folks at Video Mart for knowing their shit too. The dudes at Odd Obsession would probably still take the gold in a movie trivia head-to-head, but, trust me, there are some truly knowledgeable film and game geeks working here too.

So, next time you’re in Southern Oregon, grab yourself some Abby’s Legendary Pizza, a six pack of Weed Pale Ale, a movie from Video Mart, and call it a night…

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Happy 70th, Krzysztof!

I know I’ve been away for a while and I’m sorry about that, but, I guess the allure of summer sunshine has been too impossible to resist this year.

I mean, summers and two-year-olds are kinda all about the outdoors and by the time I finally plop down in front of my computer, well, lets just say Daddy is too tired for much else than a quick rundown of the happenings on Facebook.

And speaking of FB, it was there just now that I was reminded by a good friend of mine that today would have been the 70th birthday of one on my all-time-favorite writer/directors, the great Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski. Not only did he make some of my favorite films, but his unique visual style and beautifully-interwoven storytelling techniques have informed everything I’ve written or wanted to write since I first saw his film “The Double Life of Veronique” way back in the early 1990’s.

Simply put, the man was a genius who died way before his time. Thankfully, Kieslowski completed at least two other masterworks before his death in 1996, the groundbreaking “Three Colors Trilogy: Blue, White, Red” and his indelible, early-career masterpiece, the ten-hour TV miniseries,“The Decalouge”.

If you haven’t seen any of his work yet, today is a great day to start. Celebrate the mad genius tonight by watching one (or if you have time, all) of his films…you will not be disappointed. Seriously, there was no one like him.

Happy birthday, Krzysztof, we miss you…

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Malick’s “The Tree of Life” takes the top prize @ Cannes

Despite being loudly booed at it’s first screening at Cannes, Terrence Malick’s controversial, love-it-or-hate-it, “The Tree of Life” took home the big prize at the Cannes Closing Ceremonies yesterday afternoon. Whoo-hoo! Go, Terry!

Of course, the famously-reclusive Malick was not there to collect his award (which was accepted in his absence by “Tree of Life’s” producers Dede Gardner and Bill Pohlad) but the fact that the movie won the top prize bodes well for it’s limited U.S. release this Friday.

I mean, man alive, if you thought I wanted to see “Life” before, just imagine how excited I am to see it now. Wow…I might start camping out for tickets tomorrow.

Another big American winner was Kirsten Dunst (yes, that Kirsten Dunst) who took home a Best Actress prize for her work in Lars Von Trier’s freaky-deaky-looking “Melancholia“. Trust me, if the movie is anywhere as dark and strange as Von Trier is, it’s gonna rock!

For a list of all this year’s big winners at Cannes, click here. And, until next year at this time…adieu, adieu, to you and you and you…

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Trailer Thursday: “The Tree of Life”

Alright, I know I’m already breaking my rule about blogging too much about Cannes, but, when I saw the first trailer for Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”, I knew I had to share it here as well.

I’m not entirely sure what the plot is here — it looks a little “2001”-ish to me, which would be awesome! — but Malick’s visuals, as always, look pretty damn spectacular. And what a cast! People who have seen previews of the movie are already saying Brad Pitt is a lock for a Best Actor Oscar. Whoa…

Either way, dying to hear what the Frenchie’s think of the movie when it premieres at Cannes on Monday. Go, team Malick!

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Cannes starts today!

OK, you all know by now what a big old Cannes geek I am, so, this year, I promise to keep the coverage to a minimum…you know, unless something really cool happens. And with a jury featuring Uma Thurman, Jude Law, and headed by Robert DeNiro and a new film by my man, Terrence Malick, screening in competition, some cool shit could definitely happen…so, stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to be sure and share with you guys this year’s gorgeous new Cannes Film Festival poster. The picture is of Faye Dunaway and was taken in 1970 during production of her little-seen film “Puzzle of a Downfall Child”. I consider myself something of a Dunaway fan (especially of her early work!) and even I had never heard of this film, but, apparently it was the directorial debut of Jerry Schatzberg (who also took the pic on the poster) and, for whatever reason, was hardly ever shown stateside.

Anyway, a completely restored print of the film is going to be screened at Cannes this week, with both Dunaway and Schatzberg in attendance. And if the movie is even a quarter as slick as this poster, well, shit, sign me up for the Blu-Ray when it comes out. I mean, seriously, could Dunaway look any cooler in that shot?

Wow…let the festival begin!

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Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

I know there’s already tons of coverage out there today about the legendary life and loves of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, so, I’ll try and keep it brief and post some of my favorite pics of Taylor over the years instead.

I didn’t love all of her movies — I mean, seriously, have you ever tried sitting through “Cleopatra”? And don’t even get me started on “Giant” — but she is one of the rare stars who could make even a bad movie totally watchable. And when Taylor had great material to work with, man alive, she set that screen on fire!

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “Suddenly Last Summer”, “A Place in the Sun”, “National Velvet”, hell, she made awesome movies in just above every era she lived. And though Taylor stands right up there with the acting great, I have always been a bigger fan of the balls-out way she lived her life rather than her filmic output.

Taylor was famous for most of her life and though that might make some people weird or camera shy, she was anything but. Taylor was funny, candid, and shockingly foul-mouthed…in a word, she was a first class dame. And I ain’t talking about the royal kind.

In my mind, Taylor was a broad in the best sense of the word. She could eat and drink and brawl with the best of them and for that, I salute her.

Hollywood is a freaky place and it changes most people for the worst, but, Taylor always kept it real and remained true to who she was — a totally-hilarious, brassy, old broad — till the very end. So, rock on, Miss Taylor, your humor, humanitarianism and total zest for life will be greatly missed…

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Production begins on “The Hobbit”

I know it seemed like this day would never come, but, I’m very pleased to announce that after years of delays and behind-the-scenes drama, production on Peter Jackson’s two-part “Lord of the Rings” prequel, “The Hobbit”, finally began today at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand. Hooray!

Even more awesome than this news are the super cool on-set pics Jackson posted on his Facebook page today. Whoo-hoo! Don’t you just wanna live in that sweet little hobbit house? And could that gorgeous, sun-dappled Shire look any more lush and inviting? Wow…

I know they just started shooting, but, I’m ready to throw on my hobbit cape and get in line for tickets, like, today. Bring it on, Mr. Jackson!

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Christopher Nolan wins WGA award for “Inception”

On Saturday night, Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan came one step closer to winning an Academy Award when he took home the WGA’s prestigious Best Original Screenplay award for “Inception”. Whoo-hoo! Finally someone that I actually voted for wins the top prize. So cool!

Of course, Nolan will have a tougher fight at the Oscars, where he’ll square off in the Best Original Screenplay category with Academy-favorite Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” and David Seidler’s amazing script for “The King’s Speech”, which wasn’t eligible for WGA consideration. So, here’s hoping the sci-fi geeks in the Academy follow the WGA’s lead and give Nolan his due.

In fact, maybe I should hire someone cool like this to plant the idea in their heads right now. Hmmm…

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Oscar Nominees 2011

I’m sure everyone will be talking about “The King’s Speech” and it’s very-well-deserved 12 Academy Award nominations today, but, the biggest surprise for me this morning was all the Oscar love for  “Winter’s Bone”! The fact that a gritty, totally-authentic independent film like that could score a whopping four Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) wow, that is just plain rad!

I mean, we expected a nod in the Best Actress category for the the film’s lead, the luminous Jennifer Lawrence, but the fact that her co-star, the always-amazing, John Hawkes snuck in there with a Best Supporting Actor nomination is like, over-the-top awesome! Yee-haw!

And speaking of Best Supporting Actor, holy crap…how do you chose between those five guys? There is literally no fat in that category this year, man. I’m pretty sure Christian Bale will take the golden guy home for his exceptional work in ‘The Fighter”, but, is it wrong to hope for a five way tie?

Also, very excited to see “Inception” score so many nods today as well. And even though Christopher Nolan got bumped from the Best Director category this morning, he was bumped by the Coen Brothers for their badasss remake of “True Grit”, so, that makes it a little easier to take. Plus, Nolan scored a producer and writer nod for “Inception”, so, wherever he is, I’m sure he’s smiling…

Was kind of surprised to see “Black Swan’s” Mila Kunis get bumped from the Supporting Actress category, but, that little upstart Hailee Steinfeld gave one of my favorite performances of the year in “True Grit”, so, sorry, Mila.

Also, was totally stoked to see “Toy Story 3” clean-up in so many categories and become only the third animated movie to score a Best Picture nomination. I have watched this movie with Greta literally dozens of times since it came out, and, trust me, it holds up beautifully. So, rock on, Woody and Buzz!

I was also thrilled to see Oscar co-host James Franco score his first Academy Award nomination for “127 Hours”. I don’t think he’s gonna win with Colin Firth in the mix, but, how cool would it be if he did? I mean, what does he do with his award, just stuff it in his pocket and keep on hosting? Crazy!

And finally, how cool is it that Mr. NIN himself, Trent Reznor, can now and forevermore call himself “Oscar nominee Trent Reznor”? So cool…

To see a full printable list of this year’s nominees, click here. Oh, and if you’re coming to our Oscar party, you best start hunting squirrels now, because our “Winter’s Bone” hillbilly stew recipe calls for lot’s of vermin!

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Williams-Sonoma “Star Wars” kitchen collection on sale!

I have been waiting for the chance to blog about the super-cool “Star Wars” Collection at Williams-Sonoma for a while now. But, every time I wanted to write about it, something came up, and then, when I heard that the entire collection of cookie cutters, pancake molds, sandwich molds, aprons and spatulas was on sale for 20% off through Sunday 01/23, well, I knew the time had come.

Released a little over a year ago, every piece in the “Star Wars” collection was personally approved by Mr. Lucas himself. And, from the looks of it, the dude likes to eat, so, I’m thinking he knows what he likes in his kitchen gear. And, hello, it’s made by Williams-Sonoma, so, you know this shit is gonna last forever.

We started our collection with the “Star Wars Heroes and Villains Pancake Molds”, and, though the  details on Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper’s masks run together a bit when they cook, as you can see from our pics, the Yoda head pancake looks freaking awesome on the plate.

We also have both sets of the cookie cutters — which work beautifully and look amazing either frosted or un-frosted — the Darth Vader spatula and the “Galactic Empire Cupcake Decorating Kit”, which is like, my childhood fantasy come to life. So cool! Where were you when I was ten, Williams-Sonoma?!

Anyway, whichever side you chose to align yourself with — as you can tell, we lean towards the dark side in this household — the “Star Wars” collection at Williams-Sonoma is a must for any true fan. To paraphrase Obi Wan: “These definitely are the kitchen gadgets you’re looking for! And they NEVER go on sale!” So, get shopping already!

Oh yeah, and make sure and pick up one of those handy Williams-Sonoma Pancake Pens too. They make pouring the batter into the molds easy as pie and they open at both ends, so, clean-up is a dream!

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2011 Golden Globes wrap-up

OK, after reading several, far better and far more in-depth accounts of all that went down at the Golden Globe Awards last night, I just have two things to add.

One, I thought host Ricky Gervais, though a bit crass at times, was even better as a host this time than he was last year. Yes, he pushed some buttons, but, man alive, some of his shit was hilarious. The bottom line is that he kept the crowd on their toes and I haven’t heard any of the Gervais-haters say they were bored by the show. So, kudos to you for keeping it real, Ricky!

The second thing is that I was really pleased, if not entirely surprised, by most of the winners. Everyone who won seemed really excited and honored to be there and that always makes for a good show.

And though I cheered out loud for several of the winners, I gotta say, seeing a dyed-in-the-flannel, 90’s alt-rocker like Trent Reznor collect a Golden Globe for his brilliant work on “The Social Network” soundtrack…wow…that was the highlight of the night as far as I’m concerned.

I downloaded Reznor and Atticus Ross’ soundtrack last week on Amazon and have been listening to it non-stop. The movie itself is collecting a little too many awards for my taste — if I have to see that smug-ass Aaron Sorkin pick up another award for his hugely-overrated screenplay, I might puke. Urgh! — but “The Social Network” soundtrack deserves every award it wins. So, rock on, guys!

And finally, if there was any doubt about who will not only be nominated, but also win Oscars this year in the major acting categories, it was wiped away last night. With the exception of a surprise Best Supporting Actress nod for the amazing Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit” — which might give Melissa “The Fighter” Leo a real run for her money — I think everyone pictured here will repeat at the Oscars.

Yeah, Annette Bening is overdue for some Oscar gold, but her ham-fisted work in “The Kids Are All Right” is so not her finest hour on film. She’ll get another shot someday and if it makes her feel any better, she won’t lose an Oscar to Hilary Swank this time out. So, there’s always that!

Which means, we’ll have two royals in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories at this year’s Academy Awards: The extremely-deserving Colin Firth for “The Kings Speech” and Queen Amidala of Naboo herself for “Black Swan”. Yee-haw!

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The Return of Alexa Chung!

Hooray! for the first time in, like, well…forever…NBC’s Golden Globe Pre-Show was actually worth watching. And it had nothing to do with a strangely-overdressed Natalie Morales or that stupid-old WGA scab, Carson Daly. Nope, this time, they had a real fashionista on the red carpet, someone who knew their shit and had a rocking sense of humor to boot. And guess who that fair lass was?

That’s right, my girl, Alexa Chung, has returned to American television, amigos! I don’t even know why they needed those other two layabouts, because when it came to hip, fresh, and fun red carpet interviews, Alexa Chung ruled the roost.

So, if anyone at NBC is listening, please, for the love of God, ditch the three-host approach and give Alexa full-reign over the red carpet next year. She’ll kill it!

Long live the new queen of all media, Alexa Chung!

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“Star Wars: The Complete Saga” coming to Blu-Ray this fall!

Even if you didn’t have a ticket to CES last week, self-respecting “Star Wars” fans everywhere felt a powerful disturbance in the Force when it was announced on Thursday that the “Star Wars” saga is finally coming to Blu-Ray Disc this September. Whoo-hoo, thank the maker!

No official street date has been announced, but, you can pre-order your “Star Wars” saga three different ways this time out.

Old School: in a set containing only the original three films and all the extras, New School: the Prequel Films only, with all the extras, or, you can go whole hog and get the Complete Collection of all six films in one big old boxed set for somewhere around $139.99. Hmmm…guess which one I have my eye on?

I think the only bad news for hard-core fans is that we’ll have to buy the full set of “Star Wars” movies…again! I mean, shit, if you count Videodisc, VHS widescreen and full-frame, Laserdisc and DVD, I’ve bought these same damn movies like, five times over. But, hey, who’s counting?

If the rad-ass new trailer (above) is any indication, the Blu-Ray editions are gonna rock, so, start saving your Republic Credits now, baby! Yee-haw!

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WGA Screenplay Nominees (2011)

Most years, I have a hell of a time narrowing the nominated films on my awards ballot down to ten, but, this year…well…let’s just say it was a struggle to find ten worthy films to nominate.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some really great movies released in 2010, but, the good ones (“The Social Network”, “Inception”, “The Fighter”, “Black Swan”) were so good that the rest of the nominees felt like total filler.

And when you couple that with the fact that several of the biggest Oscar-bait flicks this year (“The King’s Speech”, “Winter’s Bone”, “Toy Story 3”) were considered ineligible for WGA nominations, well, the list of nominatable films was pretty damn slim this year.

That said, this was the first year since I can remember that almost every single movie I voted for got nominated (rock on, “I Love You, Phillip Morris”!!) so, that’s kinda fun for a change.

In any case, congrats to all the nominated writers and here is this year’s freshly-minted list of WGA nominated films. Enjoy!

Original Screenplay

Black Swan (Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin)

The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington)

Inception (Christopher Nolan)

The Kids Are All Right (Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko)

Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)

Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours (Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy)

I Love You Phillip Morris (John Requa & Glenn Ficarra)

The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)

The Town (Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard)

True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

Documentary Screenplay

Enemies of the People (Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath)

Freedom Riders (Stanley Nelson)

Gasland (Josh Fox)

Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck, Adam Bolt)

The Two Escobars (Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist)

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? (John Scheinfeld)

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R.I.P. Pete Postlethwaite…

Oh man, I always get bummed out when actors we really love die before their time, but, this one took me totally by surprise. Apparently, Postlethwaite (who was 64) had been battling cancer for a number of years — which you could kind of see in his craggier-than-usual face in his recent films — but, I had no idea he had taken a turn for the worst…until tonight.

Strangely enough, Christine and I had literally just finished watching Ben Affleck’s “The Town”, which featured another totally unforgettable turn by Mr. Postlethwaite, when we heard the sad news.

Postlethwaite’s character was so vile and loathsome in the movie that we actually cheered when he very-deservedly got (SPOILER ALERT) his balls shot off by Ben Affleck at the end. I’m sorry, but the dude totally deserved it!

Always humble and a total gentlemen in interviews and such, Postlethwaite may have considered himself just another average bloke who got lucky in the movies, but, to me, he was one of the greatest character actors of all time. Seriously. If you need proof, pull up his IMDB page and randomly watch any movie he was in (even “The Shipping News”!) and I guarantee you that Postlethwaite’s performance will totally elevate the material.

And if that ain’t classically great acting, I don’t know what is. Rest in peace, Pete Postlethwaite, you will be greatly missed…

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“TRON: Legacy”

I should have trusted my gut on this one. You know, that little voice that kept telling me not to get too excited because even though it had rad, state-of-the-art (at the time) effects, the first “TRON” kinda sucked too.

Unfortunately, I did not listen to my inner voice and have spent the past few weeks hyping the shit outta “TRON: Legacy” to Christine, who, had absolutely no interest in seeing the movie. Well, what can I say, amigos? Once again, Christine was righter than rain.

“TRON: Legacy” is a bloated, boring, totally derivative peice of crap. I’m not kidding, man, this movie sucks major ass. At least the first flick had the wow factor of the cool “in the grid” effects and all, this movie plays like a soulless, two-hour ad for toys and spinoff sequels and shit. And except for a sparkling, seriously transcendent score by electronica legends, Daft Punk, the movie is a complete and total waste of your time.

I mean, hell, if I — a child of the 80’s who worshipped the effects of the first movie and played the hell outta the “TRON” videogame — hated it, just imagine what non-“TRON” geeks, people like Christine, with no connection to the first film whatsoever, will think of this junk?

Yikes…thanks for ruining another cherished, childhood memory, Disney.

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Blake Edwards (1922-2010)

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but, it’s raining cats and dogs here and on a day like today I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the late, great Blake Edwards, than snuggling up with the ones you love and watching his classic film version of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Edwards directed dozens of awesome films — I lived for the original “Pink Panther” movies when I was a kid and “Victor/Victoria”, “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Experiment in Terror” were all instant classics — but for me, his most memorable flick will always be the perfect little gem of a movie that it “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Great cast, lushly-beautiful locations — both the real-life and backlot NYC locales look gorgeous! — and that swinging Henry Mancini score…wow…watching “Tiffany’s” is like eating giant strawberries dipped in really great chocolate. Mmmm…sheer cinematic yumminess all around.

Ironically enough, I just recently sat Greta down and made her watch “Tiffany’s” in all its widescreen DVD glory (she loved the music and any scenes with “Cat” the best!) and lemme tell ya, it holds up beautifully.

So, rest in peace, Mr. Blake Edwards. Thanks to you, I have an instant, tried-and-true cure for the “mean reds” for years to come…

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“Surely, you can’t be serious…”

First Mrs. Cleaver, and now Leslie Neilson?! Yikes, people from the cast of “Airplane” need to stop dying already! I know he made like, a million movies in his day, but, Leslie Neilson will always be my man for his iconic roles in the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” movies.

Hell, they even renamed the most recent DVD release of “Airplane”, the “Don’t call me Shirley” Edition. And if that isn’t testament to the staying power of Mr. Neilson’s crackerjack delivery of an awesome line, I dunno what is!

RIP, dude. Surely, you will be missed…

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“Inception”

OK…I know we’ve only seen like three of this year’s big award-season contenders (“Toy Story 3”, “Hereafter” and “The Social Network”, which were all awesome, by the way) and therefore, we probably shouldn’t be making any broad, sweeping predictions yet, but, mark my words, amigos, Christopher Nolan will win an Oscar for “Inception”.

Whether it’s for writing, directing or producing is still to be determined, but, the mad genius behind “Memento”, “The Prestige” and the Christian Bale “Batman” movies has really outdone himself with “Inception”, and for that reason alone, I see many gold statues in Nolan’s future. And boy does he deserve them!

Taut, suspenseful, positively gorgeous to look at, and populated by the coolest indie cast this side of Sundance, “Inception” is the best movie we’ve seen this year. Yep, I said it, the best. Of course, most of you probably already know this since you saw the movie when it came out, you know, last summer.

But, babysitters being increasingly hard to come by, Christine and I didn’t get to see “Inception” on the big screen until last week at Warner Brothers and lemme tell ya, it blew us away. To say that our heads were swimming (in the best way!) for days afterwards is a serious understatement.

This was no mere movie, amigos, it was total immersion in a completely original and boldly realized new world. And we loved every crazy second of it!

I know I geek out over things a lot, and tend to overhype stuff that I really love, but, I kid you not, I haven’t felt this way about a sci-fi movie since we saw the first “Matrix” or “Terminator” flick way back when.

The dazzling technical elements aside, “Inception” is that rare breed of totally game-changing screen stories that will inspire whole generations of nerdy kids to wanna make movies. For me, it was “Star Wars”, for Generation Whatever, it’ll be Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”. Again, mark my words.

Anyway, I don’t wanna give anything away by going too much into the plot or anything, but, trust me, you don’t have to love sci-fi or even Leo DiCaprio to love this mind-bending little jewel of a movie. Simply put, if you like movies, “Inception” will knock you flat on your movie-loving ass. You have never seen anything like it. EVER.

So, you best get busy on that acceptance speech, Mr. Nolan. The clock is ticking…

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“Hi, Sally!” clips…

Oh, man…I am such a dick! It just occurred to me that by blaming the heat wave for the fact that celebrities were “dropping like flies” last week, I inadvertently mocked the heat-related death of the late, great film editor, Sally Menke. See, last week, it literally was the heat wave that killed Sally Menke as she was hiking with her dog in Griffith Park.

Urgh…so sorry, Sally. I totally suck. Here’s hoping this mini-tribute will more than make up for my earlier lameness…

Over the years, Sally Menke worked with such big-name directors as Billy Bob Thornton and Oliver Stone, but, she is probably best known for the films she edited for Quentin Tarantino. The two began their fruitful collaboration on Tarantino’s first film, “Reservoir Dogs”, when Tarantino hired Menke because she was “cheap”. From then on, they were inseparable, with Menke being QT’s go-to editor on everything he’s worked on since.

Scoring Oscar nominations for editing “Pulp Fiction” and this past year’s rocking WWII sage “Inglourious Basterds”, Menke was often referred to as more of co-writer than an editor by Tarantino, who was always quick to give Menke credit for her vital role in shaping the plot and pacing of his movies.

Another cool thing Tarantino did for Menke was to make sure to shoot several outtakes during production with the cast and crew calling out “Hi, Sally!”. This became a tradition between the two of them and the footage is often hilarious. My favorite is a shot of the chick from “Grindhouse: Deathproof” hanging onto the hood of the car for dear life and chirping “Hi, Sally!”. So awesome!

Anyway, in honor of the passing of the sweet-faced, badass known as Sally Menke, here are just a couple of the best “Hi, Sally!” clips from YouTube. Enjoy…

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“Bonnie & Clyde: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” on DVD

Wow…I was gushing over Arthur Penn so hard in my last post that I totally forgot to mention that after years of being relegated to a horribly-grainy, extras-free, pan-and-scan DVD version, “Bonnie & Clyde” was finally given it’s due back in 2008 with the absolutely gorgeous “Bonnie & Clyde: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” DVD.

Remastered, restored and packed full of totally awesome DVD extras, this is the version to buy or, you know, receive as a lovely gift from your friend Ginger (thanks again, chica!). Disc one features a lush, widescreen transfer of the film that will really knock your socks off. Trust me, if it looks good on our old-ass TV, the image quality will positively dazzle on a good HD set!

Disc two features such super cool extras as “Love and Death: The Story of Bonnie & Clyde”, a History Channel documentary on the real-life Bonnie and Clyde, two deleted scenes, Warren Beatty’s original wardrobes tests, a replica of the original road show press kit, and a beautifully put together documentary entitled: “Revolution! The Making of Bonnie & Clyde”. Featuring outstanding interviews with every principal member of the cast and crew, this is the thing that really makes the second disc soar.

Warner Brothers may have taken their sweet time releasing a home video version worthy of this cinema classic, but, wow, they certainly did a bang-up job of it! One of the funniest things I learned from the extras was that Morgan Fairchild (who is interviewed in the “Revolution!” documentary) was actually Faye Dunaway’s stand-in on the shoot. Wow…who knew?

Oh, there is also a miniature folded reproduction of the original telegram that WB studio head, Jack Warner (who was never a fan of the movie, even after the acclaim) sent to Beatty and Penn on the first day of production, wishing them well. I know it sounds completely geeky, but, man, I love that little folded telegram to death. So cool!!

But all that awesomeness aside, my favorite extra in this slick, elegantly-appointed boxed set — even the DVD’s themselves are cool with little bullet holes over each of the stars faces! — is the 36-page collectors book of photos. Usually the so-called “books” included in collector’s edition DVDs are more like pamphlets, but, not this time. This is a genuine article book here, folks, loaded with some of the coolest behind-the-scenes pics you’ll find anywhere. Amazing!

And, hey, even if you don’t dig all the groovy extras, the pristine new print of the movie alone will, pun intended, blow you away. So, light a candle for the late, great Arthur Penn and get thee to a video store…

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