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New DVD Releases: December 8, 2009

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

These are the movies arriving on DVD this Tuesday: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince“, “Julie and Julia”, and “Public Enemies“.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Priince DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Synopsis: Though HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN director Alfonso Cuaron still holds the crown for best film in the series, David Yates is making an attempt at a coup with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. Dark, gleefully funny, and beautifully shot, this adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s novel should please fans despite numerous changes to the 650-page source material. In this sixth film in the series, Harry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) inevitable confrontation with the dark wizard Voldemort grows closer, and Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) wants the young student to be prepared. He guides Harry through a memory of a young Voldemort, but an important moment is missing. Harry must extract this memory from the new Hogwarts teacher, Horace Slughorn (a perfectly slimy Jim Broadbent), who is as eager for fame as he is reluctant to revisit this painful moment. Meanwhile, romance rules the school of witches and wizards, with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) refusing to admit their feelings for each other. Harry also harbors a secret love of his own: Ron’s younger sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). But despite his crush, Harry keeps an eye on Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who may be responsible for attacks on the school. HALF-BLOOD PRINCE deftly balances the humor of Hogwarts heartbreak and the thrills of dark villains attacking the school. The cast is as talented as ever, and the youngest members–Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson–have developed their talent well. However, this film is most remarkable for its fine cinematography from AMELIE director of photography Bruno Delbonnel. Using a muted palette, Delbonnel makes Hogwarts look hauntingly beautiful in a way that fans have never seen. There’s always plenty of fun and adventure in the series, but this entry boasts impressive visuals as well.

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright; Directed by: David Yates

Julie and Julia
Julie and Julia 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Synopsis: Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends…until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond; Directed By: Nora Ephron

Public Enemies
Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Synopsis: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale emerge from two of the biggest blockbuster series of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, respectively) to star in this crime drama from HEAT director Michael Mann. Depp stars as charismatic 1930s gangster John Dillinger, whose notorious bank robberies have turned him into a celebrity during the Depression era. The rise in crime has J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) desperate to have his newly created FBI take down gangsters such as Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd (Channing Tatum), and “Baby Face” Nelson (Stephen Graham). Enter Agent Melvin Purvis (Bale), an ambitious crimefighter sent to Chicago to capture Dillinger and his gang. The criminal has evaded the law before, but he is drawn to the Second City by the beautiful Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard). Though PUBLIC ENEMIES boasts big names, it feels more like an arthouse offering than a typical gangster picture. With its intimately shot violence and 1930s setting, the film is more BONNIE AND CLYDE than GOODFELLAS. Mann and director of photography Dante Spinotti alternate between hand-held, high-quality digital cameras and more traditional film stock, giving this crime drama a carefully composed, thoroughly modern look. But the casting of the leads is vintage Hollywood: Depp could be the modern incarnation of silent star Rudolph Valentino, and Cotillard’s wide-eyed beauty–and talent–would fit right in with the starlets of the golden age. Everyone else, including Bale, fades into the background, but it’s hard to complain when Depp and Cotillard give such magnetic performances.

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochran, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang, John Ortiz, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, John Michael Bolger, Bill Camp, Matt Craven, Emilie De Ravin, Don Frye, Spencer Garrett, Shawn Hatosy, Peter Gerety, Stephen Graham, John Hoogenakker, Branka Katic, Domenick Lombardozzi, David Warshofsky; Directed By: Michael Mann

U.K. Movie Review: Public Enemies

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

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Michael Mann’s latest action-packed, gripping and grown-up says Orlando Parfitt of IGN UK. Public Enemies gets 9 out of 10 stars. Go Johnny! Read on:

Director Michael Mann transposes his unique brand of character-driven cops and robbers action onto the John Dillinger myth. The result is something close to a 1930s version of his caper classic Heat, and also one of the best films of 2009.

Johnny Depp is the infamous, Robin Hood-like gangster John Dillinger, who terrorised Depression-era America with a spate of high profile bank robberies. Along for the ride were his now legendary crew, including Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and his beautiful sweetheart Billie (Marion Cotillard).

Naturally the fledgling FBI weren’t too happy about this state of affairs, with creepy Fed boss J. Edgar Hoover entrusting crack agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to take out the increasingly popular Dillinger.

What follows is essentially a series of brilliantly choreographed confrontations between Purvis and the Dillinger gang, with the two sides engaged in a variety shoot-outs, jail-breaks and all manner of other fisticuffs for much of the movie’s running time.

Its a deceptively straight-forward structure that dispenses with virtually all the clichés associated with the gangster genre, and the 1930s setting in particular, and instead – shock horror – actually trusts the audience to use their brains a bit.

This isn’t a biopic of the famous gangster that takes us on an emotional journey through his life, with him reaching some epiphany, or meeting his deserved, hubristic comeuppance by the end.

Instead Mann presents the real-life protagonists like he does in virtually all his other movies; as ultra-skilled but emotionally damaged experts, driven purely by a sense of professionalism and ego; think De Niro’s thief in Heat, Cruise’s hitman in Collateral or both Sonny and Tubs in (the seriously underrated) Miami Vice.

How and why did Depp’s Dillinger get into robbing banks? Don’t expect Mann to tell you. He starts the film as a fully-formed and rather charming criminal, and remains so – always living in the moment – for the rest of the movie.

That’s not to say that Depp’s performance somehow fails to add depth or nuance to the character. Indeed he excels as the charismatic Dillinger, who is soemtimes distant, capable of turning on the charm at the drop of a hat, and almost always revelling in his celebrity.

He’s not a flamboyant Tony Montana or Al Capone-style archetype, but a real, living human being. Depp’s best work is towards the end of the movie, when he subtly shows Dillinger’s mask of professionalism and charm begin to slip as his circumstances become more desperate as his crew are whittled down.

Bale is given less to do as the taciturn Purvis, but still manages to turn in a subtle performance that is the polar-oppositie of his daft, shouty turn as John Connor in Terminator Salvation. Not a typical, heroic G-man, instead a character that is single-minded and ruthless, but also often decent and conflicted by the increasingly barbaric methods he must employ to get his man.

The supporting cast also turn in complex, rewarding performances, with Stephen Graham stealing every scene he’s in as the unhinged Baby Face Nelson (we’d love to see him given his own spin-off Origins movie.) Cotillard is beautiful and heartbreaking as Dillinger’s moll, with their relationship adding another layer of richness to the film.

It is Mann’s direction however that is the real star of Public Enemies. His unique-shooting style – filming much of the movie on super-high definition handheld cameras – manages to give the movie both an air of documentary-style realism, and yet also a strange, dreamy feel. It’s like watching a documentary crew follow Dillinger and his gang for a couple of years and sets the movie apart from the numerous other 1930s gangster pics.

What this shooting style also heightens however is the many, many action scenes. No-one shoots gunfights quite like Michael Mann. His swooping, ducking camerawork – usually in long takes – and brilliant use of thudding sound means the audience feel the impact of every bullet (in contrast to the chop-heavy, confusing cutting style of certain other top Hollywood directors).

Nonetheless Public Enemies is not that easy to watch at times. Don’t expect to enter the cinema and completely switch off your brain. Sometimes events can get a little confusing, with Mann bringing in supporting characters and sub-plots – such as scenes with Hoover and mafia don Frank Nitti – that often don’t get resolved or add to the central narrative.

However these elements inexorably enrich the movie, showing the wider world, the context of Dillinger’s existence and the changing nature of American crime and law enforcement during this period. Several viewings are essential to fully appreciate Public Enemies.

After the nonsensical, exhaustingly stupid Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the humourless, characterless and forgettable Terminator Salvation, it’s refreshing to see some grown-up mainstream filmmaking during the summer months. Public Enemies, as with The Dark Knight last year, shows you can have star-driven action films that also deliver an emotional and visceral punch during blockbuster season.

New Public Enemies Trailer

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Johnny Depp and Christian Bale go toe to toe

Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger in Public Enemies

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Pister - Style A

Criminals fascinate, and always have. Whether it’s Jack the Ripper and the Krays on this side of the Atlantic, or Jesse James and the Mafia on the other, they generate conflicting emotions in all of us. Yes, we know it’s wrong to rob trains or machine-gun our rivals. Yet down deep, admit it, there’s a part of you that wanted Ronnie Biggs to live the rest of his life on some sunny Brazilian beach.

What drives these feelings, I think, are the petty frustrations we all share with the rules of life, the mortgage that must be paid, the pompous boss who must be flattered, even the long queue at the supermarket (or bus stop with the strikes). Wouldn’t you love to rip up that mortgage bill, deck your boss or jump that line? That’s what criminals do. They break the rules that we cannot, and we live vicariously through them. Best of all, they usually meet justice in the end, confirming our faith in societal rules that we may dislike but know that we need.

Throughout history the glorification of criminals tends to rise during hard times, when living by the rules no longer protects us from losing a job or a home. This breeds resentment, and thus a tendency among some to root for those who flaunt the rules, who fight back. A case in point was America during the Great Depression, when legions of disaffected Americans cheered on an army of outlaws who rampaged through the Midwest, robbing banks and kidnapping millionaires. At the peak of this crime wave during 1933-34 the most visible of these gangs were led by Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly and Ma Barker. All these vaunted criminals rose and fell during the same 18 months.

Dwarfing all of these, however, at least in terms of international notoriety, popularity and headlines, was a flamboyant Indiana-born stickup man named John Dillinger, who is being brought back to life this summer in the movie Public Enemies.

The film, which is based on a book that I wrote a few years ago, is no straight-to-DVD indie either. Dillinger is portrayed by Johnny Depp, his nemesis, the FBI agent Melvin Purvis, by Christian Bale. The movie is directed by Michael Mann, the director of such memorable films as Heat and Last of the Mohicans.

For all the notoriety that Dillinger received during his lifetime, his profile has dimmed over the decades, in large part because, unlike Nelson or Kelly, he never earned a memorable nickname or, like Bonnie and Clyde, attracted a top-tier director.

Yet Dillinger is in many ways the consummate American antihero, an incorrigible criminal who was nevertheless cheered on by thousands of ordinary Americans. Part of this can attributed to the Depression; people were out of work and angry at the banks and businessmen who they considered to have put them there. They applauded Dillinger because, as a symbol of public outrage, he was able to do what they could not: fight back. But much of it was due to Dillinger’s outsized personality. He had charm and charisma to spare, vividly displayed in newsreels after one of his arrests, and he assiduously catered to his public, draping his coat over women who he took hostage during his bank robberies. “We don’t want your money, mister,’ he famously told one startled bank customer. “Just the bank’s.”

I won’t give away the movie, but one may safely assume that Depp is able to convey Dillinger’s likeability in spades. That will no doubt oblige reviewers and many customers to ask: how do these Hollywood myths compare with reality? The answer, at least when it comes to the greatest American crime stories, has been not very well.

From The Untouchables to Mississippi Burning, Hollywood has taken the facts of famous crimes and twisted them into wonderful narrative dramas in which, alas, the facts are inevitably and badly outgunned.

The classic example is the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. It’s one of the best films yet made, but as history it’s sadly lacking. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, beautiful and dashing, were nothing like the real-life Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, a pair of white-trash spree killers from the slums of Dallas, Texas. Bonnie and Clyde were never rebels or philosophers. They were pint-sized, unattractive, barely out of their teens, dirty, smelly murderers for whom crime was a kind of game. You can see it in the silly photos that they took of each other, posing with machineguns and fat cigars. They weren’t even especially adept criminals, knocking off far more drugstores, filling Continued from page 1 stations and supermarkets than actual banks.

Their story has no clear narrative arc, no real rhyme or reason. Between 1932 and 1934 they simply took one long road trip through the Midwest, robbing things when they ran out of money and killing anyone who tried to stop them; Clyde and his partners murdered about a dozen innocent lawmen. Even their peers looked down on them, and their fame was largely limited to Texas and neighbouring states; the only time Bonnie and Clyde made the front page of The New York Times was the day after their deaths. The scene in the movie that hews closest to history is the last. Bonnie and Clyde really were cut to pieces by a hail of bullets on a dirt road in rural Louisiana.

Worse, at least in terms of historical accuracy, was the 1970 movie Bloody Mama, starring Shelley Winters as the criminal mastermind of another infamous Depression-era group, the Barker gang. In the film Winters portrays the submachineguntoting Kate “Ma” Barker, who, legend and the FBI has it, led her sons and their hillbilly pals in a string of bank robberies and kidnappings. Yet research for Public Enemies proved that Barker did nothing of the sort. She never carried a gun, had her face on a wanted poster or walked into a bank to do anything other than make a deposit. “That old woman,” one of the gang said decades later, “couldn’t even plan breakfast.”

The myth of Ma Barker, however, owes less to Hollywood invention than J. Edgar Hoover’s desperation. In reality, it was Barker’s son Fred and his partner Alvin Karpis who ran the gang. Ma Barker travelled with them from time to time, happily living off their ill-gotten gains, but she spent most of her time sitting by the radio doing jigsaw puzzles. The seeds of her legend were planted on the day that the FBI cornered Fred in a Florida lakehouse in January 1935. Once the smoke cleared from the resulting gunfight, FBI agents found that they had killed Fred Barker, as planned, but were startled to find that they had also killed his 62-year-old mother. Rather than explain this to the press, Hoover told reporters that Ma had been the brains of the outfit. Only with the opening of case files decades later can we see that the FBI did not gather a single fact to suggest that Ma Barker was anything but a dimwitted grandmother.

Dillinger presents special challenges for the historian and, in particular, the film-maker. He never intended to become a criminal. He never intended to be much of anything. He was the son of an abusive Indianapolis grocer, and a terrible student given to petty crimes; after high school tried the Navy, which he didn’t take to, and marriage, which didn’t work either. He was loafing in his neighborhood pool hall in the early 1920s when a local troublemaker enticed him into the drunken mugging of a grocer. A judge threw the book at Dillinger, giving him what became nine hard years, most of it in the Indiana State Penitentiary.

In prison he fell in with a hardened group of bank robbers whose friendship, one suspects, warmed once it became apparent that Dillinger would be given parole first. At that point his pals taught him how to rob a bank, gave him a list of promising targets and then made him promise to use his illegal proceeds to free them. That is exactly what Dillinger did, smuggling in a set of pistols the group used to break out of prison in September 1933. “There’s no denying I did it,” Dillinger told reporters after his subsequent crime spree and arrest. “Why not? I stick to my friends and they stick to me.”

That impromptu press conference in January 1934 introduced Dillinger to millions of Americans. His fame can be attributed in large part to his being one of the few “public enemies” to be captured and interviewed during his career; almost all the others were seen only as rigor mortis set in.

His performance in front of those reporters was breathtaking. He smiled and joked, leant his elbow on a prosecutor’s shoulder and admitted everything. As one scribe put it the next day, Dillinger “rates in the eyes of calloused observers as the most amazing specimen of his kind ever seen outside of a wildly imaginative moving picture”.

Dillinger has been portrayed by diverse actors in several movies, though by far the best-remembered is Warren Oates in the title role of Dillinger, directed by John Milius in 1973. The movie’s storyline bears little resemblance to history, and Oates, while a fine actor, is far too rugged a performer for Dillinger. The real Dillinger was a lover, not a fighter, absolutely smitten by his girlfriend Billie Frechette, and his politeness toward those he robbed was legendary.

Even worse was the movie’s portrayal of the lead FBI agent, Melvin Purvis, played by the hulking actor Ben Johnson. In the film Johnson is the walking personification of the taciturn western sheriff, a big man of few words who takes out gangsters by the score with nothing in his hands but a gun and a cigar. The real Purvis was a small, squeaky-voiced 29-year-old whose ineptitude was one of the main reasons that Dillinger was able to remain at large for so long. Little of this was Purvis’s fault. He was earnest, good-hearted and hardworking. But the FBI was very much in its infancy at the time. Until the gunfights of 1933 its agents were not allowed to carry firearms and, legally, could not make arrests. Purvis was simply never trained to the things he was called upon to do in the pursuit of Dillinger. Though the press never caught wind of it, Purvis was ultimately replaced. He later resigned from the FBI and killed himself in 1960. About the only thing that the 1973 Dillinger got right was in the young Richard Dreyfuss’s portrayal of the cackling psychopath Baby Face Nelson, Dillinger’s sidekick.

The Dillinger and Purvis you will see in Public Enemies are far closer to history than just about any cinematic gangster of recent issue. Yes, there is a degree of fictionalisation, but that’s Hollywood; if the film was 100 per cent accurate you’d call it a documentary. Mann, a stickler for historical accuracy, managed to shoot at the actual scenes of Dillinger’s most famous jailbreak; the site of his most famous gunight, at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin; and the site of his death, shot by the FBI outside the Biograph Theatre on Chicago’s North Side. For the Biograph scenes, Mann prevailed on the city of Chicago to hand over six blocks of North Lincoln Avenue, which were transformed into an exact replica of that steamy evening when Dillinger met his fate 75 years ago, in July 1934.

I was an extra in these scenes, portraying one of the first reporters to rush toward Dillinger’s fallen body. As someone who spent almost five years researching his story, it was an eerie experience. Everything was as it had been that night. Depp was dressed exactly like Dillinger; it is said that he was even wearing some of Dillinger’s clothing. Once he fell, to the same stretch of pavement where Dillinger died, I rushed past Christian Bale, as Purvis, towards him. This scene was shot over and over, and every last detail was true. History and Hollywood myth are seldom the same, but in this one small case I was able to smile, because Hollywood, for once, had got things right.

Bryan Burrough is the author of Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 Public Enemies opens nationwide, July 3

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Summer Movie Megahits

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Terminator DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style C

It’s summer blockbuster time so, read this article and plan your summer movie outings.

It’s summer blockbuster time at the movie theatres with Wolverine, the X-Man most in need of a manicure, throwing out the first computer-generated eviscerations. Summer blockbuster time is a mixed blessing: remakes and sequels make up most of the menu, and a lot of the movies seem to have spent more of the budget on dynamite than on screenwriting. But there are always some promising newcomers, some of them even without mall cops. Here are a dozen megahits on the horizon, starting with the five best bets (highlighted by an asterisk):

* Terminator Salvation: No. 4 in the series — and apparently the start of a new trilogy from director McG — introduces Christian Bale as John Connor, the man who dodged all those assassin robots sent from the future to the past to kill him before he could change the future that they were in, or something. Bale is already familiar from his X-rated meltdown on the set of this film, so we’ll be able to see just what was so f—- distracting. Oh yeah, the plot: Connor leads survivors after a nuclear apocalypse. (May 21).

* Up: This animated film is from Pixar, which has a track record for movies that combine cleverness with heart. It’s about a 78-year-old man who sets off for adventure by attaching helium balloons to his house, only to discover he has a nine-year-old stowaway on his front porch. Hmmm. For what it’s worth — and it’s often not much — the film is also the opening gala at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. (May 29)

* The Taking of Pelham 123: The 1974 original — about a gang that hijacks a New York City subway car and demands money for hostages — was a classic heist film that influenced Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (the bad guys are named Mr. Blue, Mr. Grey, Mr. Green and Mr. Brown.) Tony Scott’s remake has more star power, with John Travolta as the head villain and Denzel Washington as the dispatcher who has to negotiate with him, and the paranoia of disaster has also stepped up in the intervening 34 years. (June 12).

* Public Enemies: A 1930s gangster movie, directed by Michael Mann, with Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, the leading hoodlum of his day, and Christian Bale — nicely recovered from Terminator: Salvation — as Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent hunting him down. Also of interest: Billy Crudup, mostly recently seen as a naked fluorescent superhero in Watchmen, plays J. Edgar Hoover, America’s No. 1 G-man (and secret cross-dresser, although the movie may leave that part out.) This one looks like a throwback to the great old rat-a-tat mob films: Bonnie and Clyde without the irony. (July 1)

* Inglourious Basterds: A remake of a 1978 Italian film (whose American release had the title spelled correctly) that was an homage to The Dirty Dozen, speaking of the devil. This Quentin Tarantino war movie stars Brad Pitt as the head of a group of soldiers in the Second World War who are sent out to scalp and kill as many Nazis as possible (ÒI want my scalps!Ó). Among the movie’s oddities are the fact that Mike Myers plays an American general. (Aug. 21)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: The buzz is hot on this one, partly because an unfinished print was leaked on the Internet and people liked it, even minus the special effects. (What’s left? Emotionally vulnerability? Stop kvetching, X-Persons: at least you have a job.) It tells the story of Wolverine’s violent and romantic past, his relationship with Victor Creed (who will later become Sabretooth) and the mutant Weapons X program. I hope that means something to someone. Oscar host and song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman stars. (May 1)

Star Trek: The sci-fi classic undergoes a reinvention by J.J. Abrams, whose bona fides (Lost, Alias) may make him the ideal director for this kind of cult melodrama. Chris Pine stars as young Capt. James T. Kirk, piloting the USS Enterprise into danger, adventure and large portions of inter-terrestrial mishigas. The cast features the return of Leonard Nimoy, playing Old Spock. Good news: they’re already planning a sequel. Bad news: they’re already planning a sequel. (May 8)

Angels & Demons: If you loved The Da Vinci Code, with its fast-moving, historical-revelation-a-minute uncovering of a Catholic plot to subjugate women — or if you were driven to fury by the implications — he’s another chance to be thrilled (or apoplectic.) This prequel, from Da Vinci director Ron Howard, has been refigured as a sequel (go refigure) and again stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, the world’s most dangerous symbolist. This time he’s looking for an assassin from the secretive Illuminati who is killing cardinals. (May 15)

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: In this, the year of the security guard movie, Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley, the man with the flashlight, in the third episode of the hit comedy franchise. Various historic figures are played by Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Eugene Levy and, well, various other historical figures. (May 22)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Giant robots fight for world supremacy in this sequel to the loud, explosive and lucrative adventure from loud-explosive-lucrative director Michael Bay. Decepticon returns to capture Sam (Shia LaBeouf), leaving Optimus Prime as mankind’s best hope to save the day, preferably by knocking down lots of buildings. (June 24)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Daniel Radcliffe — who may be married and bringing his own children to the theatre by the time this series ends — returns with the rest of the gang for his sixth year at Hogwarts. He learns new spells, finds a new girlfriend, and learns new secrets about Voldemort. The film was delayed from last November, an event that caused much protest and Internet chatter, but look: now you have something nice to do in July. (July 15)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Channing Tatum, whom you will have already enjoyed as Pretty Boy Floyd in Public Enemies, returns as a fighting man on the trail of an arms dealer. The action figure that became a comic book and then an animated TV show has gone through a lot of incarnations — at one point he was battling for the environment — but here he is a gun-toting, terrorist-killing soldier, although without the Kung-fu grip. (Aug. 7)

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Public Enemies Movie Posters

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Public Enemies DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster Style  A

Release date: Wednesday July 1, 2009
Genre: Action
Director: Michael Mann
Studio: Universal Pictures
Screenplay: Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman, Michael Mann
Producer(s): Kevin Misher, Michael Mann
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Leelee Sobieski, David Wenham, Giovanni Ribisi, Rory Cochrane, Marion Cotillard
Official Site:
Rating: R for gangster violence and some language
Available film art: Public Enemies movie posters

In the action-thriller “Public Enemies,” acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp)—the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), and a folk hero to much of the downtrodden public.

No one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone—from his girlfriend Billie Frechette (Cotillard) to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression.

But while the adventures of Dillinger’s gang—later including the sociopathic Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi)—thrilled many, Hoover (Billy Crudup) hit on the idea of exploiting the outlaw’s capture as a way to elevate his Bureau of Investigation into the national police force that became the FBI. He made Dillinger America’s first Public Enemy Number One and sent in Purvis, the dashing “Clark Gable of the FBI.’’

However, Dillinger and his gang outwitted and outgunned Purvis’ men in wild chases and shootouts. Only after importing a crew of Western ex-lawmen (newly baptized as agents) and orchestrating epic betrayals—from the infamous “Lady in Red’’ to the Chicago crime boss Frank Nitti—were Purvis, the FBI and their new crew of gunfighters able to close in on Dillinger.

Public Enemies Movie Trailer

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Johnny Depp

In the action-thriller “Public Enemies,” acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp)—the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), and a folk hero to much of the downtrodden public.

No one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone—from his girlfriend Billie Frechette (Cotillard) to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression.

But while the adventures of Dillinger’s gang—later including the sociopathic Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi)—thrilled many, Hoover (Billy Crudup) hit on the idea of exploiting the outlaw’s capture as a way to elevate his Bureau of Investigation into the national police force that became the FBI. He made Dillinger America’s first Public Enemy Number One and sent in Purvis, the dashing “Clark Gable of the FBI.’’

However, Dillinger and his gang outwitted and outgunned Purvis’ men in wild chases and shootouts. Only after importing a crew of Western ex-lawmen (newly baptized as agents) and orchestrating epic betrayals—from the infamous “Lady in Red’’ to the Chicago crime boss Frank Nitti—were Purvis, the FBI and their new crew of gunfighters able to close in on Dillinger.

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