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12 items from 2008

Discuss: 'Mac and Me'

22 November 2008 2:03 PM, PST | Cinematical | See recent Cinematical news »

I had always heard of 1988's Mac and Me in the most vague whispers of infamy, and so I always knew that I'd eventually get around to seeing it, being such an avid fan of train-wrecks and all. However, leave it to one Paul Rudd to show me the single scene that would jet this puppy right to the top of my Netflix Queue. He did, so I did, and now it's behind me.

Or is it? Surely, some of you have also seen this hilarious E.T. rip-off, in which a young boy (not played by Henry Thomas) cares for an alien creature -- separated from its family, natch -- with a girl his age who believes first (not played by Drew Barrymore), a skeptical older brother (not Robert MacNaughton), and an oblivious mother (not Dee Wallace), feeding it junk food (Skittles instead of Reese's Pieces, etc.) as faceless government »

- William Goss

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Spielberg's first film

24 October 2008 7:46 AM, PDT | JoBlo.com | See recent JoBlo news »

If you call yourself a movie fan at all, your no doubt familiar with the logo above. It's Amblin Entertainment, the production company started by Steven Spielberg that has produced many of the most successful movies of all time (including Jurassic Park, Back To The Future, Goonies, Men In Black, the Indiana Jones movies, Terminator 2 and E.T.). Well if you ever wondered where the hell Amblin came from, wonder no longer. The company is named after "Amblin'," a 1968 short film »

- Mike Sampson

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Henry Thomas tapped for 'Dear John'

23 October 2008 7:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Henry Thomas has joined the cast of "Dear John," a love story Lasse Hallstrom is directing for Screen Gems. Temple Hill is producing.

Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, the story centers on a soldier on leave (Channing Tatum) who falls for a woman (Amanda Seyfried) but then re-enlists after Sept. 11.

Thomas plays an older man whom the woman falls for while the soldier is away.

Relativity Media is financing.

Thomas, of "E.T." fame, next stars in Fruit Chan's horror flick "Don't Look Up"; last year he landed a recurring role on CBS' "Without a Trace." Some of his other credits include "Gangs of New York" and "All the Pretty Horses."

He is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. »

- By Borys Kit

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All aboard 'Transformers' at Universal parks

20 October 2008 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

"Transformers," the toy property that led to the Michael Bay film that raked in more than $700 million in worldwide boxoffice last year, is being developed as a theme park attraction in a partnership among Universal Parks & Resorts, Hasbro and DreamWorks Pictures.

Universal said Monday that the attraction will fuse 3D-hd media, special effects and robotics with a ride system. It's scheduled to debut first at Universal Studios Singapore and then at Universal Studios Hollywood, both before summer 2011.

Steven Spielberg, a producer of the 2006 film, is also involved. Spielberg serves as creative consultant to the Universal parks division and has worked with the company on Jurassic Park -- the Ride, an attraction at Universal parks in Orlando, Hollywood and Japan; the E.T. Adventure, in Orlando and Japan; and the "War of the Worlds" sets in Hollywood.

" 'Transformers' will be a jewel in our collection of world-class rides based on great movies, »

- By Mike Barnes

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Drew Struzan Retires

8 September 2008 12:51 AM, PDT | DreadCentral.com | See recent Dread Central news »

It truly is a sad day for movie fans worldwide as master artist and poster creator Drew Struzan has decided to retire from his life of illustration to focus on his family and his own paintings.

Over the last 40 years Struzan has been responsible for some of the most amazing poster art movie fans have ever laid eyes on, from all six Star Wars movies to Indiana Jones, The Goonies, The Muppet Movie, E.T., Blade Runner ... the list goes on and on. Most recently he did a poster for Frank Darabont’s The Mist as well as providing the painting of Roland from King’s Dark Tower series you see Thomas Jane painting at the beginning of the film.

”I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to do all the work I did,” Struzan said in a statement on The Raider. ”I am well pleased to have »

- Johnny Butane

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Drew Struzan Retires

5 September 2008 2:58 PM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

Legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan announced his retirement earlier this week. According to a post at The Raider, Struzan made the announcement this way on September 3:

"Having been working at not working has produced a guy who could never return to illustration again. It took a lot to attempt the idea of retiring from my 40 years of effort and sacrifice but now that I have, I am delighting in life as never before. I had forgotten how to rest, to smell the proverbial roses and to see the future as opportunity. I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to do all the work I did. I am well pleased to have been able to give a gift of beauty and peace through my artwork to so many throughout the world. Now I have laid down the burden and have peace and happiness as the reward for my day's labor. »

- Robert Greenberger

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Who is the Most Overrated Director?

28 August 2008 1:48 PM, PDT | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

From left to right: Quentin Tarantino, M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, Ethan and Joel Coen, Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese In search of an idea for another top ten list I got to thinking about directors. Who is the best director? Who is the worst director? Those two questions require some serious research and I just don't think I am learned enough to say one way or another. Then I got to thinking about who may be the most overrated director? The best thing about this question is that it eliminates the likes of Uwe Boll from the conversation and I don't need to regurgitate what so many others have said concerning the directors that have gone down in history as great. I don't have to worry about telling you how great Alfred Hitchcock is and why. It's fantastic. However I »

- Brad Brevet

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First 'Don't Look Up' Pics, Eli Roth Cameo?

17 August 2008 9:07 PM, PDT | bloody-disgusting.com | See recent Bloody-Disgusting.com news »

This evening the first behind-the-stills images were posted online from Don't Look Up, two of which reveal horror director Eli Roth in a cameo scene. An idea from the mind of The Rings' Hideo Nakata, Don't Look Up is the story of a film crew that goes insane after ghosts from the past attach themselves to their film stock. Henry Thomas ("E.T. The Extra Terrestrial," "Legends of the Fall") and Kevin Corrigan ("Pineapple Express," "The Departed") star, and Fruit Chan directs the horror film. Read on for your first look at 11 behind-the-scene stills that feature all sorts of craziness (there's a bloody birth scene, that much is known for sure). »

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They're back! The details on what happens when your favorite shows return

25 March 2008 9:55 AM, PDT | The Watcher | See recent The Watcher news »

In April, dozens of scripted shows will return to the broadcast networks. Thank goodness! Though I've already posted details on the returns of "The Office" (here and here) "30 Rock," "Ugly Betty" and "House," I thought I'd collect all the information I have in one place.

First, here's a chronological list of return dates (to see the return dates sorted by network, go here).

Second, for those who want more than just return dates, I've got details on what will happen on many shows, in addition to the ones mentioned above, on the second half of this item.

If you don’t spot a favorite show on either list, by the way, be aware that some programs aren’t returning until fall, and the fate of several others has not been officially announced yet. There's more info on what's returning in the fall here.

Here are the return dates of scripted »

- Tempo

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5 March 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

HONG KONG -- A comic trio formed by a poor workman, his son and his alien pet drive the story of CJ7, a hyperactive, wishful-thinking special effects fantasy suitable for family outings. It is the long-awaited brainchild of Stephen Chow, the comedian-writer-director who pioneered the unique Hong Kong genre of mo lei tau (nonsensical) comedy in the early 1990s.

Despite Chow's self-professed desire to salute E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and oblique borrowings from Japanese anime Doraemon, the sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers springs foremost to mind as Chow's one-of-a-kind magnetic screen persona seems to have been abducted by aliens, who replaced him with a pod spouting moral platitudes and CGI-enhanced emotions.

A joint effort by Chow's Star Overseas and Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, "CJ7" has worldwide release ambitions; it bows stateside Friday. Even with Chow's trademark smart-ass Cantonese neologisms and Hong Kong's ineffable local color filtered out while proficiently rendered visual effects stand in for gags, Chow's strong Asian fan base is still flocking to the theaters. Convincing a North American audience more familiar with Jackie Chan and Jet Li and more likely to prefer Chow's more exotic and action-packed Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle won't be so easy, though.

This is Chow's first directorial work shot entirely in China, but geographic and cultural character look fuzzy. He plays Ti, a construction laborer who pays through the nose to send his only son Dicky (Xu Jiao) to an elite school. Dicky's street urchin looks make him a target for bullying. Only his teacher, Miss Yuen (Kitty Zhang), shows some kindness.

Dicky wants his classmate's cyber toy CJ1, but the impoverished Chow finds him a scrap-yard substitute that he names CJ7. The florescent green blob morphs into a creature with a fluffy mane and a bouncy, squishy torso. Dicky dreams of impressing his classmates with alien high-tech gizmos but ends up thoroughly humiliated. However, when an accident happens, CJ7 reveals its hidden powers.

The first half-hour depicts father-son relations with a mischievous charm reminiscent of Chow's early films. Xu, a girl who impersonates the boy Dicky, is the one who holds the film together. A natural in front of the camera, she has a wealth of facial expressions even in solo scenes with a computer-generated figure. Zhang, who wears a cheongsam tight enough to moonlight in a hostess bar, never stirs as a love interest.

"CJ7" revels in a cartoon-like depiction of abject poverty with a priceless scene where cockroach swatting is an alternative to PlayStation. However, such social issues as education, employment and inequality of wealth are glossed over by slogan-like mottos of being poor but virtuous. The storybook ending is artificial and offers no antidote to Ti and Dicky's problems.


Sony Pictures Classics

Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia/the Star Overseas/China Film Group


Director: Stephen Chow

Screenwriters: Stephen Chow, Vincent Kok, Tsang Kan-cheong, Lam Fung, Sandy Shaw, Fung Chih-chiang

Producers: Stephen Chow, Chui Po-chu, Han Sanping

Director of photography: Poon Hang-sang

Production designer: Oliver Wong

Music: Raymond Wong

Co-producers Vincent Kok, Connie Wong

Costume designer: Dora Ng

Editor: Angie Lam


Ti: Stephen Chow

Dicky: Xu Jiao

Miss Yuen: Kitty Zhang

Mr. Cao: Lee Shing-cheung

Building Site Foreman: Lam Tze-chung

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG


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Chow's 'CJ7' shakes up cell phones

13 February 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

HONG KONG -- New Stephen Chow comedy "CJ7", which cleaned up at the local boxoffice during the Chinese New Year holiday period, is providing the inspiration for the world's first film-inspired, motion-sensing mobile phone game, Sony Pictures Television International and Sony Ericsson said Tuesday.

"The high penetration rate of mobile phones in Asia presents us with a growing market for our branded movie and TV-based mobile content," said Rosemary Tan, SPTI's director of mobile entertainment Asia. "The CJ7 mobile pack is a vivid example of our dedicated effort in developing cutting edge mobile content,"

The plot of "CJ7" revolves around a struggling man who discovers the titular alien in a garbage dump one night and presents it to his son as a toy. In the mobile game, users must care for and look after the daily needs of CJ7.

The "E.T".-inspired CJ7 is the first CGI character in a Chinese-language film. It was created by Hong Kong's Menfond Electronic Art, whose portfolio includes "Initial D", "A Chinese Tall Story" and "Fearless".

Rather than use the keypad to control the action of the game, the user need only shake their mobile telephone. »

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More 'Myths' for TV Land?

14 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

TV Land is exploring the truth behind more Myths & Legends.

The network has greenlighted a second season of its original series, which aims to find out the truth behind mysteries, scandals, rumors and urban legends revolving around celebrities, music, TV series and movies. TV Land has ordered seven half-hour episodes, the first of which will premiere at 10 p.m. Aug. 27.

Among the topics the second season will explore are whether Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally cast as TV's Incredible Hulk and if Jennifer Lopez's derriere is really insured for $1 billion.

Other investigations include whether Mars Inc., maker of M&M's, turned down product placement in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, allowing Reese's Pieces to step in and benefit immensely.

Myths debuted in January 2007, averaging 819,000 viewers over its six-week run, which marked a 54% improvement over the same period a year earlier, according to Nielsen Media Research. The network also aired a special installment in August centered entirely on Elvis Presley. »

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12 items from 2008

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