Well, it was only a matter of time, right? Beginning October 30, 2009, the world will have a front-row seat for Michael Jackson’s final concert, as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment release Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
This Is It is being produced with the full support of The Estate of Michael Jackson and will be drawn from hundreds of hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage, captured in high definition with state-of-the-art digital sound as the late singer was preparing for his concert series in London. The film, which will also offer select sequences in 3-D, will provide a unique career retrospective and feature interviews with some of Jackson’s closest friends and creative collaborators.
The majority of the film’s footage was shot in June 2009 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California, and The Forum in Inglewood, California, as Jackson prepared for “This Is It,” the series of fifty concerts Jackson planned to present at the O2 Arena in London.
This Is It will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer, his career, and the stage spectacular that would have been. The film will provide moviegoers with an unforgettable front row experience compiled from extensive footage that shows Jackson’s meticulous preparation for his 2009 London shows.
“People who have seen this footage are astounded by the amazing quality of Michael Jackson’s performance,” said Sony CEO Michael Lynton. “This historic recording of the last time he sang and danced on stage shows the legendary artist in an incredibly powerful way, with crystal clear images and sound. We understand the importance of producing a film that pays tribute to Michael as an artist, and are honored to work with the Estate of Michael Jackson to give audiences the gift of his final performances. I know this film will serve as further proof that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest entertainers who ever graced a stage.”
Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is a successful real estate agent who, upon getting engaged to the woman of his dreams, Zooey (Rashida Jones), discovers, to his dismay and chagrin, that he has no male friend close enough to serve as his Best Man.
Peter immediately sets out to rectify the situation, embarking on a series of bizarre and awkward ‘man-dates,’ before meeting Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), a charming, opinionated man with whom he instantly bonds. But the closer the two men get, the more Peter’s relationship with Zooey suffers, ultimately forcing him to choose between his fiancée and his newfound ‘bro,’ in a story that comically explores what it truly means to be a ‘friend.’
Cast: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones; Directed by: John Hamburg
The Making of ‘I Love You, Man’
Outtakes and Gag Reel
Extended Scenes and Deleted Scenes
Watch an Exclusive DVD Bonus Feature:
Mike O’Donnell seemingly had it all. He was a star athlete headed straight for a college scholarship until he decided to give it all up to settle down with his high school girlfriend Scarlett. Now at 37, Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) has become a miserable and unhappy businessman who wishes that he could go back and become the young Mike O’Donnell (Efron) he once was, and correct all the mistakes he made which resulted in him becoming the unhappy businessman he has now become. His wish soon becomes reality as he turns 17 again and gets to live his life over again.
Cast: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry, Michelle Trachtenberg, Melora Hardin, Hunter Parrish, Jim Gaffigan; Directed by: Burr Steers
“Way Cool” Tell All Trivia Track
Zac Goes Back (Blu-ray)
Going Back to 17 (Blu-ray)
Zac’s Dance Flashback (Blu-ray)
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Will & Grace star Eric McCormack headlines X-Files veteran R.W. Goodwin’s feature directorial debut, a playful send-up of 1950s-era sci-fi films tracing the bizarre events that unfold after a mysterious space object crashes into a California mountaintop. Based on a story by James Swift and Steven Fisher (who also penned the screenplay), the Technicolor-flavored genre-bender follows a benevolent alien (McCormack) as he attempts to fend off a seriously strange invader. Robert Patrick, Jenni Baird, and Jody Thompson co-star.
Cast: CEric McCormack, Jenni Baird, Dan Lauria, Robert Patrick, Jody Thompson, Aaron Brooks, Sarah Smyth, Andrew Dunbar, Sage Brocklebank, Tom McBeath, Vincent Gale, Jerry Wasserman, Jonathan Young, Michael Roberds; Directed by: R.W. Goodwin
Nora Ephron adapts Julie Powell’s autobiographical book Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen with this Columbia Pictures production starring Amy Adams as an amateur chef who decides to cook every recipe in a cookbook from acclaimed celebrity chef Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) in order to chronicle it in a blog over the course of a year. Streep’s Devil Wears Prada co-star Stanley Tucci re-teams with the actress as Child’s husband.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond; Directed By: Nora Ephron
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
G.I. Joe,” the live-action feature based on Hasbro’s line of action figures.
While some remember the character from its gung-ho fighting man ’60s incarnation, he’s evolved. G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer. The property is closer in tone to “X-Men” and James Bond than a war film.
Cast: Channing Tatum, Brendan Fraser, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sienna Miller, Dennis Quaid, Rachel Nichols ; Directed By: Stephen Sommers
A Perfect Getaway
Honeymooning couple Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) is hiking an eleven-mile trail in Hawaii when they cross paths will ex-military man Nick (Timothy Olyphant), who earns their trust by helping them navigate a particularly treacherous mountain cliff. A few yards later, the trio runs into a group of girls whose parents are begging them to return home following reports that a honeymooning couple has been murdered on one of the other islands. The suspects in the killings are a young white couple, and when Cliff and Cydney meet Nick’s frees-spirited girlfriend Gina (Kiele Sanchez), tensions start to rise. The further the foursome walk together, the more delicate the balance of trust and suspicion becomes.
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Marley Shelton, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth Katie Chonacas; Directed By: David Twohy
If any film this year has suffered the one-two punch of bad buzz and worse marketing, it’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Those who’ve spent even a small amount of time reading online sites and movie mags have likely caught wind of problems in the editing room, problems with the script, problems with the director, Stephen Sommers, and, most importantly, problems with the movie itself – rumors which were hardly dispelled by the film’s downright unimpressive trailers. That, coupled with the hesitancy of the die-hard Joe fans to support any adaptation – as well as the fact that today’s kids simply weren’t raised on the classic toys and cartoons – virtually paved the way for a film that appeared as if it’d make Transformers 2 look like Twelfth Night in comparison.
Count us surprised then that G.I. Joe doesn’t disappoint. In fact, taken in the proper spirit, it delivers a relatively action-packed and – dare we say – fun bit of mindless entertainment in a fashion that’s been missing from movie screens this summer. In these days of more serious-minded (and wildly successful) adaptations, it is unexpectedly refreshing for a film to be so wildly “popcorn” without falling into the realm of the unengaging and inane. Let’s make no mistake here, however. This is a B-level action movie with relatively well-drawn characters, a few minor subplots and smartly staged, near-constant action. Shakespeare, it ain’t. For better or worse, it feels very much like Sommers’ The Mummy, chock-a-block with massive set pieces and broad, dramatic beats without ever taking itself too seriously.
When weapons manufacturer McCullen – soon to be known as Destro – tries to frame NATO forces for the theft of his own metal-eating nano-bot rockets, an even more elite Special Forces group enters the picture: G.I. Joe. Soon, a military caravan led by officers Duke and Ripcord is hijacked by the Baroness and her men, thwarted only by the sudden appearance of Scarlett, Snake-Eyes and Heavy Duty, blasting away in true Joe fashion. Eventually, the pair is allowed to tag along with the group on a mission to retrieve the missles before Destro, Baroness, Storm Shadow and the soon-to-be Cobras can use them against strategic, well-populated targets in an effort to… what else?… take over the world!
As Duke and Ripcord prove themselves to be true Joe material, past events for many of the character (particularly Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Duke and the Baroness) play a major factor in the emergence of a figure who may very well become the Cobra Commander of legend. And it is in these minor flashbacks and subtle relationships that actual characters being to take shape – with motivations and emotions that, while not constituting great drama, go far to invest the audience enough to follow along.
The action shifts from dense forests, to subterranean facilities, to the streets of France, to underwater bases, to high-altitude jet fights and a number of places in-between. The major sequences are both intense and sufficiently humorous, laden with eye-rolling, though faintly charming, one-liners and a speaker-shattering, non-stop barrage of explosions, chases, shoot-outs and sword fights. The action is well paced and the effects – much like the cinematography itself – blend the tangibly real and the colorfully cartoonish in a way that captures the spirit of G.I. Joe. There’s no attempt to explain why or how these massive bases might feasibly have been constructed; no effort made to convince the audience that jamming electrodes into a dead person’s skull shouldn’t allow you to replay their last memories; and no real explanation as to why taking over the world is all that appealing to begin with.
It all just is…
You may have heard it stated that this is the perfect movie for eight year olds… or, at the very least, the eight year old that you once were. And while the former is true, the latter is somewhat misleading. G.I. Joe doesn’t require that you awaken your inner-child and dismiss any sense of your adulthood to enjoy it. You just have to take it in the spirit in which it is intended. In fact, there is something rather admirable in Sommers’ attempt to neither pander to his audience nor unnecessarily class-up the source material. The good guys are good guys; the bad guys are bad. The schemes are ridiculous and the characters are broad. But nothing here is ever too much of anything. This is an adult’s interpretation of a childhood phenomenon, and if you’re willing to give it a shot and not expect a work of cinematic art, one suspects that you’ll find yourself entertained enough to give your best, “Yo, Joe!”
These are the new DVD releases for August 4, 2009.
Derek Charles (Idris Elba), a successful asset manager who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage to the beautiful Sharon (Beyonce Knowles). But when Lisa (Ali Larter), a temp worker, starts stalking Derek, all the things he’s worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.
Cast: Beyoncé Knowles, Idris Elba, Ali Larter, Christine Lahti, Bruce McGill, Scout Taylor-Compton, Ron Roggé; Directed By: Steve Shill
Playing Together Nicely
Obsessed: Dressed to Kill
Race to Witch Mountain
For years, stories have circulated about a secret place in the middle of the Nevada desert, known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings. It’s called Witch Mountain, and when a Las Vegas cab driver (Dwayne Johnson) finds two teens with supernatural powers in his cab, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he can’t explain. They work together to discover that the only chance to save the world lies in unraveling the secrets of Witch Mountain, and the race begins.
Columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) is at a dead end. The newspaper business is in an uproar, his marriage to a fellow journalist has fallen apart and he can’t entirely remember what he loved about his job in the first place. Then, one day, while walking through Los Angeles’ Skid Row, he sees the mysterious bedraggled figure Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), pouring his soul into a two-stringed violin.
At first, Lopez approaches Ayers as just another story idea in a city of millions. But as he begins to unearth the mystery of how this alternately brilliant and distracted street musician, once a dynamic prodigy headed for fame, wound up living in tunnels and doorways, it sparks an unexpected quest. Imagining he can change Ayers’ life, Lopez embarks on a quixotic mission to get him off the streets and back to the world of music.
But even as he fights to save Ayers’ life, he begins to see that it is Ayers—with his unsinkable passion, his freedom-loving obstinacy and his valiant attempts at connection and love—who is profoundly changing Lopez.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root; Directed by: Joe Wright
Commentary by director Joe Wright
An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist
Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez
One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles
Kids on a family vacation must fight off an attack by knee-high alien invaders with world-destroying ambitions. At the same time, the youngsters work hard to keep their parents in the dark about the battle upstairs.
It’s the Pearsons versus the aliens who “came from upstairs,” in an all-out battle that will decide the fate of the Earth—and kick-off the ultimate summer vacation.
Cast: Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Andy Richter, Doris Roberts; Directed By: John Schultz
The story of famous comedian (Adam Sandler) who has a near-death experience… and what he does with a second chance.
CAST: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, RZA, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Andy Dick; DIRECTED BY: Judd Apatow; PRODUCER: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townse