Sunday, December 30, 2007

Harry Potter 8?

J.K. Rowling said in a recent interview that she is no longer opposed to returning to the world of Harry Potter. Though it's not a very meaty article, click here to read what she has to say about it.

I've got mixed feelings about returning to the world of Harry Potter. On the one hand, there are probably countless new stories to be told in that world. On the other hand, it seems like Rowling wrapped up her classic series with such discipline and skill (epilogue notwithstanding), I'd hate for her to dilute her own legacy by not knowing when to stop.

What do you think? Are you ready for more Harry Potter?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas, Ringers!

This is the news that fantasy fans worldwide have been waiting for: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is finally coming to the big screen, thanks to the recent reconciliation of Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. Read the exciting (and long-overdue) press release here.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Hot on the heels of the disappointing news that our baby is likely a few weeks away still (sniff, sniff), this comes as a pleasant consolation, as Wendy and I are both big fans of both the books and Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy. The press release doesn't discuss a lot of specifics (such as casting or even an official director, although I would be shocked if Peter Jackson didn't take the reigns again), but the fact that everyone is at peace again is good news for everyone.

Shooting begins in 2009, with a target release date of 2010 for The Hobbit and 2011 for the as-yet-unnamed sequel to The Hobbit. (Yes, we're getting not one, but two more LOTR movies!) Can I get a resounding woo-hoo from everyone?!?!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"The Dark Knight" trailer debuts

Good news to Batman fans: the exciting new trailer for next summer's The Dark Knight, again starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader, has premiered online. Click here to view it.

The summer of 2008 is shaping up to be a very promising season at the movies. What do you think of this trailer?

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Lost" to return on Jan. 31!!!

ABC finally made up its mind: Lost's 4th season is set to begin on Jan. 31 at 8:00 p.m. For those of you who are looking at a calendar, you'll notice that Jan. 31 is a Thursday, and 8:00 p.m. is normally the same time you'd probably be watching CSI, Grey's Anatomy, or The Office, if there were any new episodes of those shows left to watch. Instead, Lost will go up against NBC's Celebrity Apprentice (which is decidedly light on celebrity, if you asked me...).

Producers of Lost have finished only 8 of the promised 16 new episodes, and have said that the 8th episode ends in a bit of an unplanned cliffhanger, if it ends up being the 4th season finale after all (assuming the strike continues to go on...). While I'm thrilled for one of my all-time favorite TV shows to return, I really don't want to end up getting cheated out of those extra 8 episodes...

If you're not caught up with the show yet, Season 3 of Lost was just released on DVD this week (and my copies are currently lent out for the next several weeks), so make sure to check it out. And for those of you that are up-to-date, go here to see a brief Season 4 trailer that will help get you ready for Jan. 31.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Pushing Daisies" on hiatus

For those of you that watched the excellent Pushing Daisies last night, you probably didn't realize that you were getting the last new episode that has been filmed of the wonderful new show. Yes, that means Daisies now joins the wasteland of all our favorite shows to be indefinitely on hold until this cursed writer's strike comes to an end.

I really think Pushing Daisies has gotten better as time has gone on. It has always been witty, but it has continued to prove that it's not just a one-trick pony...the cast is great, the sets are whimsical, the narration is fantastic, and the story always seems to go in a direction you wouldn't have expected (like the revelation of last night's killer, as well as the identity of Chuck's mother). Best of all, the dialog is razor-sharp, fast, and always smart (like Olive's witch-bosom joke and Tennessee Williams reference). Rather than feeling like a romantic, I actually feel like an intellectual for loving this show.

For the love of all things baked and delicious, let's end this strike NOW!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Twilight" casting

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I never got past page 67 of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, and I highly doubt I will see the movie when it finally makes it to theaters, but I thought that some of my female readers might get tired of me writing about Jack Bauer and Indiana Jones, so I'm throwing them a bone. Producers have announced some of the major casting for the film version of Twilight, and I thought some of you might be interested to see Edward and Bella personified:
You might recognize this chap from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Cedric Diggory himself. Not really the type of guy I would see Wendy leaving me for, but I guess that's a good thing...

As for Bella, you'll recognize this actress (Kristen Stewart) from things like Zathura, Panic Room, and In the Land of Women. One thing I'll say for her is that she does moody well...

Stephanie Meyer is on record as loving these two casting choices. The real question is what do you think about them? Is this your vision of Edward & Bella?

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Indy 4" poster

You can expect a lot more of this random Indiana Jones crap as we get closer and closer to May 22. In this case, however, the crap genuinely gets me excited.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Making good use of the writer's strike...

Sounds like Kiefer Sutherland is making good use of the writer's strike; he's reported to Glendale City jail for his 48-day sentence for DUI. Read all the details here. While I am extremely bothered at anyone driving under the influence, and especially by Hollywood stars who occasionally seem to get special treatment (ahem, Paris Hilton), I find Kiefer's response to be mature, humble, and responsible. I hope he can get his alcoholism under control.

As for 24, which has only filmed 8 episodes of the upcoming season, I'm not sure what the ramifications are. He might as well get this all taken care of now while the writers are on strike and the show is out of production. EW reports that his jail sentence is not expected to interfere with the show's filming schedule.

For those of you who didn't catch Season 6 when it aired last spring, it was just released on DVD this week. I still believe it to be the weakest of the 6 seasons, with several storylines falling horribly flat (mostly revolving around the ridiculous choice to make Wayne Palmer the President). That said, the show is still one of the most unique and thrilling on TV, and even a weak season is better than no season at all. The show's unique format (each season representing a 24-hour day) can be as much an advantage to the show as it can be a restriction: if one day doesn't go so well, producers can start completely fresh for the next season, often with much better results (such as the mini-slump during Seasons 2-3, revived so well during Seasons 4-5). Let's hope the show bounces back for Season 7, and that they bounce back soon!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Romantic comedy reviews

For whatever reason, Wendy and I have seen three "romantic comedies" over the past couple of weeks, though not all of them were romantic and only one of which was really a comedy. Here's a brief review about each of them:
  • No Reservations: Is it just me, or has Catherine Zeta-Jones just sorta fallen off the face of the earth lately? After having watched her latest, I can't say I've really missed her that much. Based on the German film, Mostly Martha (which, though I've never seen, comes highly recommended by H.B. Arnett), it follows the life of a lonely but obsessive chef (Zeta-Jones) who unexpectedly gains custody over her young niece (Abigail Breslin) after her sister's death. The movie's advertising wants you to believe that this movie focuses on the romance between Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, though it's really mostly about the relationship between her and her niece. Now there are a few cute moments throughout the movie, mostly thanks to a warm performance by the young Breslin, but there are far too few laughs and a very uneven balance between the comedic and dramatic moments to recommend this movie. To top it all off, Zeta-Jones and Eckhart have zero chemistry (she looks way to old for him), and their romantic tension lasts all of about 5 minutes. Harmless, but not great. (** out of four)
  • Waitress: Here's an odd film that I'd been hearing a lot about since Sundance last year. It stars the appealing Keri Russell (TV's Felicity) as an unhappily married pie-making genius who unexpectedly gets pregnant, apparently only weeks before planning to leave her emotionally-abusive husband. Along the way, she falls in love with her OB-GYN (Nathan Fillion) and befriends the grumpy old owner of the diner where she works (played with spunk by Andy Griffith). Though the film is peppered with several charming moments and a few memorable characters, it deals with lots of unseemly behavior (almost everyone in the movie is cheating on their spouse), which makes it a little more difficult to root for anyone. Additionally, the movie's conclusion left me feeling unsatisfied; it has an almost anti-marriage, man-hating spirit that turned me off. The movie was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, who also stars in the movie as one of the pie waitresses. Shelly was murdered earlier this year, and never got to see how her film would be received. Sad though her story is, here's a romantic comedy that could have used a happier ending, on and off screen. (**1/2 out of four)
  • Enchanted: Here's another movie with some misleading advertisements: it's not nearly as dumb as the ads make it look. It stars the talented Amy Adams (the hot purse girl from early episodes of The Office) as a Disney fairy-tale princess who is transported out of her animated kingdom into a modern-day (and live action) New York City by the local wicked witch (played with little gusto by Susan Sarandon). There she befriends a single-father divorce lawyer played by McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey (getting the girl on the big screen for the first time in since maybe Can't Buy Me Love), and is pursued with oblivious passion by a never-more-lively James Marsden (as Prince Charming). Along the way, she inspires Central Park crowds to join openly in spontaneous song, summons NYC vermin to help clean the apartment, and extols princess advice to all who will listen. The movie is silly, to be sure, but is also bright, fast-paced, funny, and occasionally surprising--clearly the best thing in theaters in this otherwise discouraging holiday movie season. Adams does her own singing, and has a great voice to add to her winning performance. The finale seems a little unnecessary (why is the witch still after the princess during the King Kong-inspired climax?), and the movie as a whole is occasionally cheesy, but your wives and daughters will be enthralled, and after sitting with you through this summer's very man-friendly lineup of movies, it's probably their turn for a magical night at the movies. After all, men, Rambo IV is just around the corner... (*** out of four)