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2009 | 2008 | 2005

15 items from 2008


Review: The Tale of Despereaux

19 December 2008 10:15 AM, PST | Cinematical | See recent Cinematical news »

Mice have enjoyed a great ride in the movies. The animated variety first rose to prominence thanks to Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse in the late 20s, enjoyed a rebirth as heroes in the late 70s and 80s with The Rescuers, The Secret of Nimh, The Great Mouse Detective, and An American Tail, and overflowed into live-action territory a few years later with Stuart Little. More recently, Flushed Away was a superior entertainment about a spoiled upper-class mouse who must learn to survive in the wild and wooly sewers, while the superb Ratatouille gave a rat a rare favorable turn in the spotlight as a culinary artist.

Adapted by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Dave) from the award-winning book by Kate Dicamillo, The Tale of Despereaux features both a rat and a mouse in leading roles, but the self-described fairy tale is much more than a slapdash character study of two rodents. The »

- Peter Martin

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Water(gate) Under the Bridge

11 December 2008 12:59 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

Frank Langella won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in the play Frost/Nixon, but he prefers his performance in the film version. "It's less theatrical, more internal, and more tragic than on stage," he says. "The comedy elements have been played down." He credits director Ron Howard for helping him make the transition. "Ron is an actor-oriented, not concept-oriented, director," Langella says. "He spent hours with me trying to understand the man's emotions, his highs and lows. Ron is relentless, observing you down to the flutter of an eyelash. There were a lot of takes. The major challenge was endurance and concentration and being able to give Ron what he needed in 14-hour days." Langella captures the essence of Nixon — the walk, the body language, the speech patterns — without resorting to impersonation. To prepare for the role, he studied hours of tapes of the former president, »

- Simi Horwitz

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Pass the cheese please. "The Tale of Despereaux" - New images in the gallery!

4 December 2008 2:27 AM, PST | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Movie Jungle has new images up for Universal Pictures' "The Tale of Despereaux" animated adventure. The film opens on December 19th and features a wonderfully talented array of actors including Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Lloyd, Robbie Coltraine, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci, Frank Langella, Ciaran Hinds, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Bronson Pinchot, Tracey Ullman and Sam Fell. Directed by Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhave, the film is adapted for the screen by Gary Ross based on the 2004 Newberry Award-winning book by Kate Dicamillo. Ross was hte helmer of the remarkable "Seabiscuit" of 2003 as well as "Dave," "Lassie," "Big" and "Mr. Baseball." Once upon a time, in the faraway kingdom of Dor, there was magic in the air, raucous laughter aplenty and gallons of mouth-watering soup.  But a terrible accident left the king broken-hearted, the princess filled with longing and the townsfolk despondent. »

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Pass the cheese please. "The Tale of Despereaux" - New images in the gallery!

4 December 2008 2:27 AM, PST | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Movie Jungle has new images up for Universal Pictures' "The Tale of Despereaux" animated adventure. The film opens on Christmas Day and features a wonderfully talented array of actors including Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Lloyd, Robbie Coltraine, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci, Frank Langella, Ciaran Hinds, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Bronson Pinchot, Tracey Ullman and Sam Fell. Directed by Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhave, the film is adapted for the screen by Gary Ross based on the 2004 Newberry Award-winning book by Kate Dicamillo. Ross was hte helmer of the remarkable "Seabiscuit" of 2003 as well as "Dave," "Lassie," "Big" and "Mr. Baseball." »

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Lennox Wows Audience At American Music Awards

23 November 2008 9:45 PM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Annie Lennox wowed audience at the American Music Awards with an emotionally-charged performance - just three months after undergoing successful spinal surgery.

The former Eurythmics singer was ordered to endure six months of physiotherapy before doctors expected her to walk properly again - after determining she was suffering from an impinged nerve in August.

Lennox's contributions to music were marked before her rousing performance on Sunday - when she was presented the Award of Merit at the 36th Annual AMAs in Los Angeles - lifting the star-studded audience to their feet.

Standing to take a bow, she was presented the award by pop superstar Justin Timberlake: "The Award of Merit is being given tonight to an artist who means a lot to me personally. There are certain musicians that other musicians love, and she is one of those special artists, held in the highest regard by her peers.

"l love that she's always been on the cutting edge of fashion, she's always looked so so cool and taught us how to look cool. Then there's her humanitarian work. She's been an activist for just causes all over the world, mostly in silent ways that you've never even heard about. She does this from her heart, motivated purely by love."

Imploring the audience to sit, Lennox added, "It's been an incredible journey - music, my friends, my accompaniment through my life, so much of my life. Much of that was with Dave Stewart, of the Eurythmics and it is very important that I say half of the award goes to Dave also.

"Thank you so much for this. I never thought that I would live to see the day that I could be 53-years-old, standing on the stage and so many people have inspired me in this experience and too many to mention."

Lennox joins a long list of music legends including Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Whitney Houston, who've also been honoured with the award. »

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Exclusive grisly clips from indie shocker Sam Hell

7 November 2008 6:52 PM, PST | Fangoria | See recent Fangoria news »

The folks at Son of Jason Films sent Fangoria a trio of exclusive clips from their new fright feature Sam Hell; you can see them below. The movie was directed by Michael Bayouth, who was also one of the producers and gives the company its name: He’s the offspring of Ted White, who played masked maniac Voorhees in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter.

“In Sam Hell, a young man who runs a Halloween spooky house finds what he believes to be an old movie prop at a yard sale, and decides to work it into his chilling attraction,” Bayouth tells Fango. “The grotesque decayed head in a cage turns out to be the real remains of a deranged mass murderer who begins to possess Sean, making him continue his bloody killing spree. When Sean’s girlfriend Jill realizes what’s happening, she enlists a pair of paranormal ass-kickers »

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Ford Tops Movie Presidents Poll

24 October 2008 5:09 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Harrison Ford has landed at the top of a new list of the best movie presidents.

His portrayal of President James Marshall in Air Force One has beaten out Morgan Freeman in Moviefone.com's quirky pre-u.S. presidential election poll.

Ford's Marshall landed 24 per cent of more than 1.1 million votes. Freeman's portrayal of President Tom Beck in 1998's Deep Impact came in second with 16 per cent.

The top five are:

1. Harrison Ford in Air Force One

2. Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact

3. Michael Douglas in The American President

4. Bill Pullman in Independence Day

5. Kevin Kline in Dave. »

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Ford voted best fictional Us president

23 October 2008 7:29 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Harrison Ford has been named the fictional Us president movie fans would most like to see in the White House. The Air Force One star pipped Morgan Freeman to the post in the online AOL Moviefone poll, which drew 1.1 million votes. Freeman gathered 176,303 backers for his role as president Tom Beck in the 1998 film Deep Impact. Michael Douglas was third for The American President, followed by Bill Pullman in Independence Day and Kevin Kline in Dave. Moviefone editor-in-chief Scott Robson told Reuters: "It seems everybody is looking for a commander-in-chief who can come in and take command. Our (more) »

- By Sarah Rollo

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Ford voted best fictional Us president

23 October 2008 7:29 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Harrison Ford has been named the fictional Us president movie fans would most like to see in the White House. The Air Force One star pipped Morgan Freeman to the post in the online AOL Moviefone poll, which drew 1.1 million votes. Freeman gathered 176,303 backers for his role as president Tom Beck in the 1998 film Deep Impact. Michael Douglas was third for The American President, followed by Bill Pullman in Independence Day and Kevin Kline in Dave. Moviefone editor-in-chief Scott Robson told Reuters: "It seems everybody is looking for a commander-in-chief who can come in and take command. Our (more) »

- By Sarah Rollo

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Geek Daily: Wolverine, 'Batman 3', 'Punisher' and 'Kick-Ass'

8 October 2008 9:20 AM, PDT | Cinematical | See recent Cinematical news »

There's actually a lot of noteworthy geek news today -- but alas, none of it is amazing enough to really warrant an entire post. Believe me, it makes me a sad panda not getting to devote an entire post to Wolverine. So, let's just get right down to it:

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner talked up X-Men Origins: Wolverine over on Superhero Hype: "It's closer to the first X-Men in tone because it's a little darker, but there's a lot of action. It's his origin story. It's really good. I've been in the editing room the last couple of weeks and I think that it's good and that audiences are going to like it. But it's a little darker ... You haven't seen this side of him. It's darker and sadder and it's kick-ass. There's a ton of action. It's really kick-ass." She also suggested the film borrows from Wolverine's Victorian »

- Elisabeth Rappe

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"Rachel Getting Married Feature" - The Best Wedding Toasts in Movies!

30 September 2008 2:37 PM, PDT | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

To mark the release of Sony Pictures Classics' "Rachel Getting Married," we've thrown together what we think are some of the best wedding toasts seen in film. "Rachel Getting Married" stars Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George and Tunde Adebimpe. Hathaway has grown up from the "Princess Diary" days and shows her true value as an actress who is most adaptable. Anne's had her time with some of the best of Hollywood, most recently in this summer's strong performer "Get Smart" starring Steve Carell. From comedy, family, drama, horror, animated, romance and more, Hathaway is the poster child for talent and versatility. What's "Rachel Getting Married" about? This is a contemporary drama with an aggressive sense of humor about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister's wedding. Kym's (Hathaway) reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, »

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David Letterman Questions NBC's Replacing Leno

3 September 2008 5:10 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Despite their on-air rivalry for the past 15 years, David Letterman is displaying empathy for Jay Leno – given the way NBC is showing the Tonight Show host the door, to be replaced by Conan O'Brien on June 1, 2009. "Unless I'm misunderstanding something, I don't know why, after the job Jay has done for them, why they would relinquish that," the CBS Late Show host, 61, tells Rolling Stone in excerpts made available to the Associated Press and The New York Times. "I guess they thought it was a less messy way to handle what happened to me at NBC. I don't know." Asked »

- Stephen M. Silverman

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Ben Kingsley

6 August 2008 9:03 PM, PDT | avclub.com | See recent The AV Club news »

Though he had performed onstage and on British television for more than 15 years, Ben Kingsley was a relative unknown when he won the leading role in Richard Attenborough's 1982 epic Gandhi, which swept the Oscars. Kingsley's Best Actor award didn't pay initial dividends, perhaps because he was identified too closely with the part, but when he earned a second Oscar nomination in 1991 for his role in Bugsy, his versatility was undeniable. Since then, he's offered up Oscar-nominated turns in Sexy Beast and House Of Sand And Fog, and memorable roles in Searching For Bobby Fischer, Dave, Death And The Maiden, and Schindler's List. He's been particularly prolific this summer, appearing in The Wackness; The Love Guru; War, Inc.; and Transsiberian. In the new film Elegy, based on Philip Roth's novel The Dying Animal, Kingsley stars as David Kepesh, an aging college professor and notorious lothario who launches a »

- Scott Tobias

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'Hellboy II' tops boxoffice

13 July 2008 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Universal enjoyed a heavenly bow with "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," as the action fantasy from helmer Guillermo del Toro grossed an estimated $35.9 million to top the domestic boxoffice this weekend.

Sony's Will Smith starrer "Hancock" -- like the session champ, a film about an offbeat superhero -- absorbed a modest 47% drop over its sophomore outing to ring up $33 million in second place and a 10-day cume of $165 million.

More than 900 3-D screens padded grosses of the Warner Bros.-distributed adventure film "Journey to the Center of the Earth," lifting the New Line-Walden Media co-production to a better-than-expected $20.6 million in third place over the busy frame.

But Fox's Eddie Murphy comedy "Meet Dave" debuted as weakly as feared, with just $5.3 million in seventh place.

Industrywide, the weekend's $151 million represented a 17% decline from the comparable frame last year, even though the top three films all outperformed pre-frame expectations. But the 2007 comparison was always going to be a tough one, matching up with a year-ago frame topped by a $77.1 million opening for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

The boxoffice season is now tracking 3% behind last summer. Year-to-date, 2008 is 3% behind the same portion of last year, at just under $5 billion.

Among this weekend's other holdover titles, Picturehouse's "Kit Kittdredge: An American Girl" dropped just 29% in its second session of wide release to produce $2.4 million in 10th place. The Abigail Breslin-starring Depression-era yarn -- spun from a popular line of girls' dolls -- now totes an $11 million cume.

"It was all matinee business," Picturehouse president Bob Berney said of the latest frame. "It looks like we're going to hang in there and become the matinee movie for the summer."

Among limited releases, Sony Pictures Classics' Ben Kingsley starrer "The Wackness" added 25 engagements for a total of 36 and grossed $224,715, or a solid $7,249 per playdate, with a cume of $478,964.

IFC's period drama "The Last Mistress" added four theaters for a total of 23 and grossed $73,232, or an acceptable $3,184 per venue, with a cume of $289,291.

ThinkFilm's Werner Herzog-helmed Antarctica documentary "Encounters at the End of the World" added 13 runs for a total of 32 in grossing $83,950 -- a so-so $2,623 per location -- with a cume of $365,688.

The "Golden Army" opening represented a 50% improvement over 2002's $23.2 million opening for Sony-distributed "Hellboy." Universal grabbed the chance to work with del Toro in producing a franchise follow-up after Sony -- which partnered with then-producer Revolution Studios on the original -- passed on the sequel rights.

"The campaign peaked, and I think the reviews really helped," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "We're really happy. We loved doing the project with Guillermo. This guy has so much talent, and (releasing the sequel) was the right thing to do."

The first "Hellboy" grossed $59 million domestically, but the rousing start should see the sequel approach or even surpass $100 million. That could tempt del Toro and Universal to collaborate on a second sequel, and preliminary discussions about that already have been held.

Del Toro and topliner Ron Perlman posted career bests with the bow, in both cases surpassing their opening with 2002's "Blade II" ($32.5 million).

"Golden Army" skewed heavily male, with audiences almost evenly split between moviegoers under 25 and older patrons. More than half of the film's support came from urban and Latino moviegoers.

"Journey" -- a PG-rated actioner starring Brendan Fraser -- featured double-screening at dozens of its 854 3-D venues, which rang up theater averages more than three times higher than those in conventional venues.

"That's the highest of all the films we've released," RealD chairman and CEO Michael Lewis said. "So we're really thrilled."

More than 57% of the total "Journey" tally -- or $11.7 million -- came from 3-D locations, which represented just 30% of its total playdates.

For Warners, the release presented all sorts of distribution and marketing challenges, and studio execs were passed the baton on the film just months ago when New Line was downsized from a production-and-distribution division to a production shingle.

"We exceeded people's expectations," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "People just thought it would perform for young boys and their parents, and it was much broader than that."

About 40% of tickets represented non-family purchases, with 73% of patrons 25 or older. Males represented 60% of audiences.

"Dave" was a disappointment ranking at the lower end of Murphy's career openings.

"People liked the movie, but not enough of them came," Fox senior vp distribution Bert Livingston said.

Fox, New Regency and Dune co-produced and financed "Dave," whose space alien theme bore unfortunate parallels with Murphy's "The Adventures of Pluto Nash." That comedy bomb opened to $2.2 million in August 2002 and grossed just $4.4 million domestically.

Looking ahead, next weekend is shaping up as a potentially watershed session for the summer boxoffice.

Interest is so high in Warners' Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" that midnight and even 6 a.m. showtimes have been set for the Christian Bale-Heath Ledger starrer's opening day on Friday. Also scheduled to unspool are "Mamma Mia!" -- Universal's star-studded adaptation of the Broadway musical, which is looking strong with older women -- and "Space Chimps," a CGI comedy from Fox that could do modestly well with family audiences.

That will make for six wide openers over a span of eight days, challenging holdover films to maintain market traction with moviegoers often displaying a collective short attention span these days.

Not that any of that seemed to hurt "Hancock" this weekend.

"That was a fabulous hold for the picture, and it just goes to show the star power of Will Smith," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Also this weekend, DreamWorks Animation's Paramount-distributed animated feature "Kung Fu Panda" became the summer's third $200 million grosser, after "Iron Man" ($312.7 million) and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($310.5 million). "Panda" pulled in another $4.3 million to land in eighth place on the frame and boost its domestic cume to $202 million. »

- By Carl DiOrio

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Opening This Week

19 May 2008 2:51 AM, PDT | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

By Neil Pedley

It's a battle of filmmaking titans this week, the kind of event that comes around once in a lifetime . Steven Spielberg and Uwe Boll will duke it out at the multiplexes. (Forgive us, but that might've been our only opportunity to ever get to put those two names in the same sentence.)

"The Children of Huang Shi"

Set during the Japanese occupation of China during the 1930s, this sweeping historical epic comes from Roger Spottiswoode, the director behind both "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" and the narrative remake of "Shake Hands with the Devil." The first official co-production between Australia and China, the film tells the true story of Australian nurse (Radha Mitchell), who with the aid of a British journalist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), escorts 60 orphaned children 700 miles through the Liu Pan Shan Mountains to evade Japanese secret police. "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" co-stars Michelle Yeoh »

- Neil Pedley

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2009 | 2008 | 2005

15 items from 2008


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