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Posts Tagged ‘shorts’

New DVD Releases: November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

These are the movies being released this Tuesday: Angels and Demons, Four Christmases, Funny People, and Shorts.

Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style B

Angels and Demons re-teams director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks for the sequel to their international blockbuster adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Although the book Angels and Demons was written before the novel The Da Vinci Code, the movie transpires after the events of the earlier movie. Hanks stars as professor Robert Langdon, the most respected symbologist in the United States, who uses his knowledge in order to decode a symbol on the skin of a murder victim. The clues put him on the trail of an international conspiracy involving the Catholic Church. Ewan McGregor and Ayelet Zurer also star in the Sony Pictures production.

Cast: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, David Pasquesi; Directed by: Ron Howard

Four Christmases

Four Christmases Movie Poster Print - Style A

Synopsis: A crafty couple run the Christmas Day gauntlet by racing to visit their divorced parents’ four separate households in this Vince Vaughn/Reese Witherspoon comedy that proves the holidays are no time for relaxing. Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) have made something of an art form out of avoiding their families during the holidays, but this year their foolproof plan is about go bust — big time. Stuck at the city airport after all departing flights are canceled, the couple is embarrassed to see their ruse exposed to the world by an overzealous television reporter. Now, Brad and Kate are left with precious little choice other than to swallow their pride and suffer the rounds. Along the way, they perform in a church nativity play at the behest of Kate’s mother’s (Mary Steenburgen) pushy pastor Phil (Dwight Yoakam), contend with Brad’s gruff father, Howard (Robert Duvall), and bullying brothers, Dallas (Jon Favreau) and Denver (Tim McGraw) — a pair of trained UFC fighters — and pay a visit to Brad’s spacy, New Age mother, Paula (Sissy Spacek), who recently made waves in the family circle by marrying her son’s childhood friend.

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Favreau, Kristin Chenoweth, Dwight Yoakam, Sissy Spacek, Carol Kane; Directed by: Seth Gordon

Funny People

Funny People DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Synopsis Judd Apatow casts his former real-life roommate Adam Sandler as George Simmons, a comic superstar who learns in the movie’s opening scene that he suffers from a rare blood disorder that will likely kill him within a year. This news gives him the impulse to go back out and work on his standup, something he hasn’t done in years thanks to the massive success of his movie career. At a club, he meets struggling standup Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), takes a shine to him, and hires the young man both to write jokes and to be his personal assistant. Ira, who’s been sleeping on a friend’s pull-out couch and working a day job at a deli, enjoys the glimpse into the superstar lifestyle, but soon the protégé discovers how selfish and egocentric his mentor really is. Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill, and a host of famous standup comics make cameo appearances as themselves.

Cast: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman; Directed By: Judd Apatow

Shorts

Shorts DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Synopsis: A young boy living in a cookie-cutter suburb gets hit on the head with a rainbow-colored rock that grants wishes to anyone who holds it in this family-oriented fantasy comedy from Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez. All the houses in Black Falls look exactly the same, and everyone who lives in this suburban Shangri-la works for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated. A highly profitable company thanks to their latest invention, Mr. Black’s Black Box — an all-in-one communication device that’s revolutionized the technological landscape — Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated also employs the parents of 11-year-old Toe Thompson. But Toe isn’t entirely sold on the concept of this corporate conglomerate; all he wants is to make some new friends, and that wish comes true after Toe is struck in the head by a mysterious rainbow-colored rock that falls right out of the clear blue sky. A magical stone that puts Mr. Black’s Black Box to shame, Toe’s rock possesses the power to grant wishes. Now, as the rock begins to change hands, Black Falls is overrun by miniature spaceships, crocodile armies, boogers the size of boulders, and whatever other oddities the imaginative local kids happen to dream up. Who would have thought that the real trouble would start once the grown-ups in town get their hands on the mysterious rock? With the situation quickly spiraling out of control, it’s up to Toe and his friends to save the townspeople from themselves by proving to them that the things you wish for may not actually be the best things for you. Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, and James Spader co-star.

Cast: Jimmy Bennett, Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, William H. Macy, James Spader; Directed By: Robert Rodriguez


Movie Review: Shorts

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Shorts DS 1 Sheet Movie Replicas - Advance Style A

For a filmmaker who’s known for making ultra-violent genre fare, Robert Rodriguez has never failed to balance his cinematic machismo with his softer, more kid-friendly role as a father, taking time out between bloodbaths to create something for both his family and ours. Shorts is perhaps Rodriguez’s best and most inspired young-adult film since the original Spy Kids. Whether this is faint praise or a legitimate compliment is entirely up to your taste, and quite possibly your age, but there’s little doubt that this sci-fi fairy tale is the perfect piece of back-to-school entertainment for children and their young-at-heart parents.

The set-up is relatively simple. A magical wishing rock falls into the center of a residential community built around a super-advanced technology company responsible for the creation of the “black box,” a device which can become, essentially, any other electronic device you need it to be. In an interconnecting series of – you guessed it — shorts, Rodriguez spotlights four groups of neighbors whose wishes produce what one might best describe as shenanigans.

The first follows young Toe Thompson – ignored by his distant, work-addicted parents and bullied by the daughter of his parents’ boss, Helvetica Black – as he wishes for friends who appear as troublesome, super-powered, miniature alien spacecraft. The second story follows a group of three children whose wishes create walking alligators, giant pterodactyls, venomous snakes and one incredibly smart, telepathic baby. The third chapter focuses on super-scientist Dr. Noseworthy (William H. Macy), his son and the family tutor (Toe’s sister Stacey, played here by Kat Dennings), as young “Nose” Noseworthy accidently mutates a booger into a giant, flesh-eating monster. The fourth section finds Toe’s parents wishing to be closer and suddenly being joined, quite literally, at the hip. The fifth and final chapter illustrates how all the madness comes together as the company’s CEO, Cole Black, wishes himself into a massive, unstoppable, all-powerful robot.

The real success of the film is in the tone it strikes. It’s colorful, but not overly cartoonish; it’s good, silly fun, but it never panders; it’s aimed at children, yet it has enough maturity to entertain the adults. It is, in a sense, the kind of bed-time story a parent might make up with their children, incorporating the enthusiastic suggestions shouted from beneath the covers. The presentation of the film as a set of short movies is fun and inspired – and certainly on DVD kids will watch and re-watch their favorite chapters – but it’s not, critically speaking, entirely necessary. Shifting around the timeline and showing how one event leads up to something you’ve already seen is a clever invention, but the story never really gains anything from the structure. That said, given the film in question, if an idea is fun, it has a place here within the craziness, regardless of the questions or criticisms that might apply to more straightforward movies.

Rodriguez doesn’t really flex the visual style here that we’ve seen in his higher-budget productions, but he manages a narrative and tonal juggling act that’s no less impressive for the film’s being aimed at younger audiences. The effects are surprisingly well rendered and while, for this critic, the booger-monster seemed a bit sillier than the rest of the film, each of the wild creations – from walking reptiles to five-story mechanical behemoths – look relatively respectable.

Overall, when a critic can see a film that’s meant for children in a child-less room filled with fellow film critics and still have a good time, that’s absolutely a credit to the filmmaker and his cast. Adults will no doubt be forced to find their inner child to enjoy the movie, but one wouldn’t suppose they’d be flocking to theatres without children of their own – children who will no doubt have a blast making their way through Shorts.


New Movie Releases: August 21, 2009

Friday, August 21st, 2009

These are movies coming to theater near you this Friday:

Inglourious Basterds (Wide release: 3,165 theaters)

Inglourious Basterds DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style B

Synopsis: Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own… –© Weinstein Co. and Universal Pictures

Cast: Brad Pitt, Cloris Leachman, Diane Kruger, Mike Myers, B.J. Novak, Eli Roth; Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Post Grad (Wide release: 1,958)

Post Grad DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Synopsis: Ryden Malby (Bledel) had a plan. Do well in high school, thereby receiving a great college scholarship. Now that she’s finally graduated, it’s time for her to find a gorgeous loft apartment and land her dream job at the city’s best publishing house. But when Jessica Bard (Reitman), Ryden’s college nemesis steals her perfect job, Ryden is forced to move back to her childhood home. Stuck with her eccentric family – a stubborn do-it-yourself dad (Keaton), an overly thrifty mom (Lynch), a politically incorrect grandma (Burnett), a very odd little brother (Coleman) – and a growing stack of rejected job applications, Ryden starts to feel like she’s going nowhere. The only upside is spending time with her best friend, Adam (Zach Gilford) – and running into her hot next-door neighbor, David (Santoro). But if Ryden’s going to survive life as a post grad, it may be time to come up with a new plan… –© Fox Searchlight

Cast: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Carol Burnett, Rodrigo Santoro, Angel Oquendo; Directed by: Vicky Jenson

Shorts (Wide release: 3,105)

Shorts DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Advance Style A

Synopsis: Shorts is set in the suburb of Black Falls, where all the houses look the same and everyone works for BLACK BOX Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated, whose Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX is the ultimate communication and do-it-all gadget that’s sweeping the nation. Other than keeping his parents employed, however, Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX has done nothing for 11-year-old Toe Thompson, who just wants to make a few friends…until a mysterious rainbow-colored rock falls from the sky, hits him in the head and changes everything. The Rainbow Rock does Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX one better: it grants wishes to anyone who holds it. Before long, wishes-gone-wrong have left the neighborhood swarming with tiny spaceships, crocodile armies, giant boogers…and outrageous magical mayhem around every corner. But it’s not until the grown-ups get their hands on the Rock that the trouble really starts. Now Toe and his newfound friends must join forces to save their town from itself, discovering along the way that what you wish for is not always what you want. –© Warner Bros

Cast: Jimmy Bennett, Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, William H. Macy, James Spader; Directed By: Robert Rodriguez


SDCC 09: Robert Rodriguez Panel

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Robert Rodriguez

The Sin City helmer on what’s coming up next for him.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez appeared at San Diego Comic-Con today to talk about his new family film Shorts, during which time the Sin City and Planet Terror director also updated fans on what’s happening with several of his upcoming projects.

Rodriguez said that he’s producing the remake of The Creature From the Black Lagoon now, which he said was as fun as any of the family films he’s made. He is also producing Predators, which he recalled was a script that he originally wrote back in 1994. 20th Century Fox reapproached him about it recently because, as the filmmaker put it, they thought the Predator franchise had gone astray with the Alien vs. Predator movies.

Rodriguez said Fox is letting him make the movie his way at his Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas, and that his ’94 script will be the basis for it. K&B are already doing effects work on it for a 2010 release.

The next project that Rodriguez will helm will be Machete, based on the faux trailer he did for Grindhouse. That will start filming in the next few weeks. He recalled how he and Danny Trejo have actually been kicking the idea around since 1993. Rodriguez promised fans that Machete will be as good or better than the mock trailer, “out of control,” “crazy” and “a lot of fun.”

Rodriguez said his dance card for the next year is full so don’t expect Sin City 2 to go before cameras for at least another year.


Shorts (2009)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Shorts DS 1 Sheet Movie Poster - Style A

Release date: Friday August 21, 2009
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Screenplay: Robert Rodriguez
Producer(s): Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Jimmy Bennett, Kat Dennings, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, William H. Macy, James Spader
Official Site: shortsmovie.warnerbros.com
Rating: PG for mild action and some rude humor
Available film art: Shorts movie posters

Synopsis
Eleven-year-old Toe Thompson is the designated punching bag for the bullies of the suburban community of Black Falls, where his and everyone else’s parents work for Black Box Industries, makers of the do-it-all gadget that’s sweeping the nation. But during a freak storm, a mysterious Rainbow Rock, which grants wishes to anyone who finds it, falls from the sky. Suddenly, the neighborhood that Toe already thinks is weird is about to get a lot weirder. As the Rainbow Rock ricochets around the town – from kid to kid and parent to parent – wishes-come-true quickly turn the neighborhood upside down in a wild rampage of everything from tiny aliens to giant boogers.

From Robert Rodriguez, director of “Spy Kids,” comes a magical fantasy adventure told through a series of shorts that each brings to life the sometimes wonderful, often terrible, and totally out-of-control wishes that become far more than Toe and his neighbors ever imagined.


 
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