Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is the poignant story of three men, adrift in their 40s, who try to recapture the lost joys and squandered possibilities of their youth. I’m not entirely joking, though the movie itself is a nonstop barrage — somewhere between a riot and an orgy — of crude, obnoxious gags and riffs. If you are a connoisseur of sexual, scatological or just plain stupid humor, you will find your appetite satisfied, even glutted. But viewers of a certain age and background — let’s say those who know the lyrics to “Jesse’s Girl” by heart, even if they never really liked that song — are likely to endure the merry anarchy with a twinge of pained, slightly nauseated nostalgia.

Nick, Lou and Adam, whom we first meet in the throes of early middle age, are still haunted by memories of the 1980s, when they were young and dumb and full of potential. Here in the weary present, Adam (John Cusack) has just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend, and you have the feeling that this kind of thing has happened to him many times before.

Nick (Craig Robinson) has a stable if not quite happy marriage, but his job in a dog-grooming salon provides regular, humiliating reminders of the musical career he might have had. And Lou (a frighteningly manic Rob Corddry) is an alcoholic, divorced, wildly self-destructive train wreck of a man. But the movie doesn’t really ask you to pity these guys; they feel sorry enough for themselves already, and their misery seems well earned in any case.

The three pals, joined by Adam’s doughy 20-year-old nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke, looking like a younger, less smug version of the Apple scapegoat and ersatz know-it-all John Hodgman), light out for a ski resort that was once the scene of some vaguely recollected, endlessly mythologized youthful debauchery. They find the place a dilapidated shell of its former glory, but a night in a hot tub — which is exactly what the movie’s title says it is — transports them back to 1986, when the place was buzzing with bad haircuts, garish clothes and enough winking pop culture references to furnish a weeklong Trivial Pursuit tournament. Hey, isn’t that Chevy Chase? It is!

Red Haired Shanks Finally Arrive - Chapter 579 Discussion  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in , ,

I should probably clarify myself a bit. I wasn't saying Shanks is going to take the hat. I was saying he MAY choose to borrow it for a while and it would be foolish to ignore the possibility. There is a lot of symbolism to be had in Luffy droping the hat and having Shanks pick it up again, especially considering how Luffy has lost everything over the course of this story-arc.

If he does choose not to hang onto it and gives it back, you can pretty much be sure it won't be done in person. Oda didn't conveniently bring him into play right after Luffy was out of commision to have Shanks nurse his wounds and then pat him on the back. If he gives the hat to someone it will probably be Coby, the same person I'm thinking would relay the message if the hat were taken.

Either way Shanks can provide Luffy with the neccisary recognition and motivation whether he chooses to hang onto the hat or not, but I feel like it's a strong possibility. Regardless though Law is already on the move, It seems clear that Luffy will probably wake up without the hat even if Shanks entrusts it to someone to be returned.

I guess my point is that I think it's much more likely for Shanks to hold onto the hat than give it back personally...

Other than that I just considered another interesting thing for the first time. With the power balance of the world shifting and all the damage done by Blackbeard plus some indiscretions by other members of the Schichibukai I am still considering the possibility of the Schichibukai being disbanded. With that in mind it hit me that Mihawk may just join Shank's crew. This seems like an outside possibility but it would really balance out things with regard to Luffy's rivals. With both Blackbeard and Shanks we would have two ultimate rivalries... one hateful and one friendly. Lots of people are talking about the possibility of Marco joining and that's still there, but I like to think about things a little less conventionally.

James Cameron vs. Glenn Beck: Clash of the Titans  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

During the rollout of “Avatar” James Cameron made his share of adversaries, from film critics and detractors around the world who faulted the film on aesthetic and philosophical grounds, to perhaps a few Academy Awards voters who saw his Golden Globes speeches and cast their ballots for “The Hurt Locker.”

Now Mr. Cameron has taken on Glenn Beck, the Fox News host, with a series of blistering remarks made Tuesday at a news conference for the “Avatar” DVD release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Asked what he thought of Mr. Beck, Mr. Cameron used language familiar to Marines to describe him, then added: “He called me the anti-Christ, and not about ‘Avatar.’ He hadn’t even seen ‘Avatar’ yet. I don’t know if he has seen it.”

The remarks appeared to refer to comments Mr. Beck made on his CNN show in 2007 about the documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” which Mr. Cameron produced for the Discovery Channel, and which examined the archaeological evidence of the Talpiot Tomb, which some scholars believe is the final resting place of the historical Jesus.

Mr. Beck was among many who criticized the film and its findings. Citing a CNN transcript, The Hollywood Reporter said that Mr. Beck said on his show: “Many people believe James Cameron officially has tossed his hat in the ring today and is officially running for anti-Christ.”

At the news conference, Mr. Cameron went on to say that Mr. Beck “certainly is dangerous, and I’d love to have a dialogue with him.” There was no immediate response from Mr. Beck.

He threw in a few more saucy remarks directed at people who question or deny global warming, adding:At this point I’m less interested in making money for the movie and more interested in saving the world that my children are going to inhabit. How about that? I mean look, I didn’t make this movie with these strong environmental anti-war themes in it to make friends on the right, you know.

How to Train Your Dragon Movie  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

AT first glance “How to Train Your Dragon,” the new action-adventure film from DreamWorks Animation based on the whimsical children’s book by Cressida Cowell, does not seem to share much with the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” or M. Night Shyamalan’s “Village.” But a closer look reveals some similarities. From washed-out landscapes to minimally lighted rooms, the Nordic locations in “Dragon” feel more lived in and rough edged — more realistic — than one typically finds in animation. This comes from the influence of an outsider, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins. Best known for his work on “A Beautiful Mind,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and Coen brothers’ films, Mr. Deakins had little experience working in animation, save for some consulting on “Wall-E.” But as the co-directors of “Dragon,” Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (“Lilo & Stitch”), were thinking of a way to distinguish their film from other animated work, they decided to bring in someone who could see light in a different way. Below Mr. Deakins, Mr. DeBlois and Mr. Sanders discuss how they achieved the film’s look.

Hiccup, the boy hero of “How to Train Your Dragon,” lacks fighting prowess and an eagerness to slay dragons, making him out of step with his clan of Vikings. He often retreats to his studio to work on his inventions. In a studio scene, light is used sparingly, with the corners of the frame fading into black, similar to Mr. Deakins’s work in “The Village,” set in 19th-century rural Pennsylvania. “There’s such a temptation to see everything, especially in animation,” Mr. Deakins said. “And I think part of my influence was to go away from that and say you don’t always have to see everything. If the film has one element in it, it’s a lot of darkness. And in the same way, there are a lot of very bright areas. It’s just sort of pushing the extremes as probably I would do in live action.”

 A set of progression images shows the various stages in creating the look of Toothless, the seemingly mythical dragon that terrorizes the movie’s band of Vikings. “If you’re trying to create, for instance, a very soft day exterior in an animated world, it’s really hard to do,” Mr. Deakins said. “And some of those things were the hardest things to discuss. We had to figure out how to adapt the software in the technique of lighting to create soft effects” (like the subtle way light bounces off Toothless’s skin in the last of the progression images). The actual design of Toothless fell to Mr. DeBlois and Mr. Sanders. “We wanted him to be a little more mammalian than the other dragons, which are generally more reptilian in their vibe, because we knew that this dragon was going to have to have a certain warmth,” Mr. Sanders said.

As they plotted the movie’s lighting design, the co-directors and Mr. Deakins assembled a collage of images for each of the script’s scenes. “A lot of the stills that we pulled for reference were stills from Roger’s past films, specifically scenes from ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,’” Mr. DeBlois said. “There were a lot of similar moods in that imagery to what we wanted to convey.” The directors were taken with the way that Mr. Deakins evoked a sense of place and feeling in that film with natural light. “You can really taste the scene as much as you can see it and hear it,” Mr. Sanders added. The filmmakers sought to capture that in one particular scene, an encounter between two small dragons.

Animax Asia to Simulcast Maid Sama! TV Series  

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Animax Asia has announced that it will simulcast the television anime adaptation of Hiro Fujiwara's Kaichō wa Maid-sama! shōjo comedy manga. The series will premiere on Sunday evenings starting April 4, three days after the show premieres in Japan.

The romantic comedy centers on the student council head named Misaki Ayuzawa who despises the mostly male, slovenly population at her school, which was once an all-boys school. However, Misaki's most handsome schoolmate just discovered her secret — that she works afterschool at a maid café. Tokyopop will publish the fourth volume of the manga under the Maid Sama! title on March 30.

Animax Asia has previously simulcast Tears to Tiara, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Inuyasha: The Final Act. The company broadcasts anime titles subtitled or dubbed in Hong Kong, India, Philippines, Taiwan, and other parts of South East Asia.

Hottest music with newest fashion trends on RIP THE RUNWAY  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

This year RIP THE RUNWAY makes its flashy return with a new group of designers showcasing their latest collections along with the hottest names in music. Exemplifying that music and fashion go hand in hand, RIP THE RUNWAY features eclectic performances by GRAMMY Award winning artist Ludacris, sultry rap queen Trina, Hip-Hop princess Nicki Minaj, UK singing sensation Estelle, Bad Boy artist Janelle Monae, "All the Way Turnt Up" rapper, Roscoe Dash featuring multi-platinum artist Soulja Boy, and Grand Hustle artists, B.o.B. Hosted by Pooch Hall and Nicki Minaj, RIP THE RUNWAY premieres Monday, March 15 at 10:00 P.M.

RIP THE RUNWAY has something to suit everyone, from those on a recessionista budget, to 'sexy' plus-size, athletic and swimwear - it's THE fashion hour on television not to be missed. This year the shoe game mania takes center stage along with Dwight Eubanks of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' who makes a special appearance and gives one lucky New Yorker a make-over that takes them from the subway to the runway.

RIP THE RUNWAY epitomizes "Music Moving Fashion Forward" by pairing the hottest music with the newest trends in fashion on one runway. This year's top fashion designers: Tracy Reese, Tennille White, KEVA by Keva J Swimwear, Gavin Douglass, and Protege will give viewers a taste at spring 2010 must have looks while tantalizing their senses with captivating music and sexy models.

RIP THE RUNWAY was first established five years ago, and provides viewers with the latest trends in fashion, accessories and shoes. Since its launch in 2005, the show has been a success and has developed an ever growing following and fan base. For more information on BET'S RIP THE RUNWAY and to see exclusive photo and video packages like, "The Many Faces of “our hosts Pooch Hall and Nicki Minaj and Road to Runway 2 (a look at a models journey from audition to the show) visit now and be sure to visit the site immediately after the show for additional interviews with the hosts; fun facts about the models of the show; an exclusive look at style with True Style! with Misa Hylton; and every look of the show posted online. Log on now and be sure to come back after the show!

Ben Stiller in Mortification Man  

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THIS month Ben Stiller, who has appeared in nine movies that have earned more than $100 million in domestic grosses, served as honorary chairman of Film Independent’s Spirit Awards. The incongruity was not lost on Mr. Stiller, who had some fun with it onstage. “I think it says volumes about the organizers of this event that even though I’ve been in over 350 studio movies during the last five years,” he said, “the Spirit Awards were bold enough to say, ‘You, Ben Stiller, epitomize our core values.’ ”
What Mr. Stiller neglected to mention was that his new film, “Greenberg,” happens to be a small-scale production with an auteur pedigree (written and directed by Noah Baumbach) and is as intimate and independent-minded a movie as he has done in years. 

“I never thought my path would progress the way it has,” Mr. Stiller said recently in an interview at a Manhattan hotel. The son of the comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, he first made his mark in sketch comedy, on “Saturday Night Live” and his own short-lived but fondly remembered early 1990s Fox series “The Ben Stiller Show” (on which his friend Judd Apatow got his start). He thought of himself more as a director. As for acting, “I just didn’t think I’d get that opportunity,” he said. 

Mr. Stiller has since directed four features, most recently “Tropic Thunder” (2008), but has also become one of the biggest (and most profitable) movie stars on the planet and the linchpin of a powerful funnyman clique. While most of the members of this cohort (which also includes Will Ferrell, Jack Black and various actors in the Apatow company) tend to blend into a larger brotherhood, Mr. Stiller has by and large had the career of a leading man. He anchors family movies and romantic comedies alike, and it says something about his charisma— and perhaps about the dark appetites of the moviegoing public — that he has done so with a screen presence that is often synonymous with anxiety, pain and humiliation.

Fierce Love: Better Not Make This Mom Angry  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

The last monster to run wild through Bong Joon-ho’s imagination was an enormous creature from the watery deep. A different menace storms through “Mother,” the fourth feature from this sensationally talented South Korean filmmaker, though she too seems to spring from unfathomable depths. Unlike the beast in “The Host” — a catastrophic byproduct of the American military — the monster in “Mother” doesn’t come with much of a backstory, which suggests that she is a primal force, in other words, a natural.
She is and she isn’t as Mr. Bong reveals through a kinked narrative and a monumental, ferocious performance by Kim Hye-ja as the title character. Written by Mr. Bong, sharing credit with Park Eun-kyo, “Mother” opens as a love story that turns into a crime story before fusing into something of a criminal love story. Nothing is really certain here, even the film’s genre, and little is explained, even when the characters fill in the blanks. Though richly and believably drawn, Mr. Bong’s characters are often opaque and mysterious, given to sudden rages, behavioral blurts and hiccups of weird humor. But it’s this very mystery that can make them feel terribly real. 

None are truer, more disturbingly persuasive than Mother, who lives with her 27-year-old son, Do-joon (Won Bin), in cramped quarters adjoining her tiny apothecary. Beautiful and strangely childlike, Do-joon doesn’t seem right in the head: he’s forgetful, seemingly naïve, perhaps retarded. (When he tries to remember something, he violently massages both sides of his head in an exercise that Mother, without apparent irony, calls “the temple of doom.”) But if he runs a little slow, Mother runs exceedingly fast, as you see shortly after the movie opens when, while playing with a dog one bright day, Do-joon puts himself in the path of an oncoming BMW, which leaves him dazed if not particularly more addled. 

You watch the accident unfold alongside Mother, who busily chops herbs with a big blade in her darkened shop while casting worried glances at Do-joon as he goofs off across the street. From her vantage point, he looks as centered within the shop’s front door as a little prince inside a framed portrait. The dim interior and bright exterior only accentuate his body — the daylight functions as a kind of floodlight — which puts into visual terms the idea that he is the only thing that Mother really sees. Mr. Bong may like narrative detours, stories filled with more wrong turns than a maze, but he’s a born filmmaker whose images — the spilled water that foreshadows spilled blood — tell more than you might initially grasp. 

He’s also a filmmaker who finds great, unsettling dark comedy in violence, and once again the blood does run, if somewhat less generously than in “The Host” and his often brilliant “Memories of Murder.” Although Do-joon seems to recover from his accident, the event sets off a chain of increasingly violent incidents that culminate in the murder of a local schoolgirl, Ah-jung (Moon Hee-ra), whose body is found slumped over a roof wall in the village, positioned, one character says, like “laundry.” Do-joon is summarily arrested for the death after an incriminating golf ball is found at the scene. Mad with grief, Mother sets off to clear him and begins furiously rooting around the village in search of the killer.

The hard-pounding heart of “Mother,” Ms. Kim is a wonderment. Perched on the knife edge between tragedy and comedy, her delivery gives the narrative — which tends to drift, sometimes beguilingly, sometimes less so — much of its momentum. At times it feels as if Ms. Kim is actually willing it, or perhaps Mr. Bong, forward. Yet while Mother can seem like a caricature of monstrous maternity (“You and I are one,” she insists to the jailed Do-joon) the performance is enormously subtle, filled with shades of gray that emerge in tandem with the unwinding investigation. There are several crimes in “Mother,” and while none can be justified, Mr. Bong works hard to make sure none are easily condemned. 

“Mother” is a curious film, alternately dazzling and frustrating. Mr. Bong’s virtues as a filmmaker, including his snaking storytelling and refusal to overexplain actions and behaviors, can here feel like evasions or indulgences rather than fully thought-out choices. There’s a vagueness to the film that doesn’t feel organic — as if, having created a powerhouse central character, he didn’t exactly know what to do with her. That said, his visual style and the way he mixes eccentric types with the more banal, like a chemist preparing a combustible formula, are often sublime, as is Ms. Kim’s turn as the mother of all nightmarish mothers, a dreadful manifestation of a love so consuming it all but swallows the world.

Farewell to Corey Haim  

Posted by: Gwen Stewart in ,

LOS ANGELES - Corey Haim, a Hollywood teen star of the 1980s who became as famous for his struggles with substance abuse as his acting, died in Los Angeles of an apparent prescription drug overdose. He was 38.

Canadian-born Haim, who rose to fame alongside fellow teen star Corey Feldman, was pronounced dead at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center early on Wednesday, police said.

"It was an apparent overdose," said Sergeant Frank Albarren of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Station, adding the "type of medication" was unknown.

Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County coroner's office, told local television reporters Haim had been suffering flu-like symptoms and that his mother, who lived with the actor, found him distressed in the early morning hours and called paramedics who took him to the hospital.

He said coroners found some prescription medication in Haim's apartment but "no illicit drugs."
"There doesn't appear to be foul play," Winter said.

Haim first came to prominence in the 1986 movie "Lucas" alongside Charlie Sheen and Winona Ryder. Then came his biggest hit, "The Lost Boys" with Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric and Feldman, as well as "License to Drive," also with Feldman.

Haim became known for his on-screen partnership and off-screen friendship with Feldman, who also struggled with drug abuse.

They often were called "The Two Coreys" and the pair even starred in a reality TV series of the same name on U.S. cable television in 2006 but it was canceled before finishing the second season.

After battling a drug habit for years, Haim openly talked about overcoming his addictions around the time he was promoting his reality TV series and said that he had become clean and sober.