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Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for August, 2009

(90) Days of Summer.

Monday, August 31st, 2009

We knew it might get LOUD, and it did.

As has been the case since the 1970s, the 2009 summer movie season was heavy on the big noisy blockbusters and light on Oscar contenders—-but that doesn’t mean some of those mega-budget movies weren’t entertaining, nor does it mean there was a paucity of smart, entertaining quality films at the multiplex. A season that included such treasures as “Up,” “(500) Days of Summer,” Meryl Streep’s amazing performance in “Julie and Julia,” the brilliant work by Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” and Jeremy Renner’s stunning turn in “The Hurt Locker” cannot be categorized as “The Summer of Suck,” as one blogger recently put it.

Then again, there was no shortage of crappy sequels, underwhelming action films, lame-o comedies and a “Terminator” movie that made absolutely no sense but at least gave us one of the most memorable off-camera rants in movie history. “Oh GOOD for you!”

Some of the highs and lows of the moviegoing summer of 2009:

Best movies of the season:

1. “(500) Days of Summer”

500DaysPoster

2. “Inglourious Basterds”

3. “Up”

4. “The Hurt Locker”

5. “District 9″

Honorable mention: “Public Enemies,” “Julie and Julia,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “The Hangover,” “Funny People,” “Star Trek.”

Worst movies of the season (with #1 being the worst):

1. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

transformers11

2. “G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra”

3. “Land of the Lost”

4. “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”

5. “The Ugly Truth”

Best performances:

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

inglourious_basterds_christoph-waltz

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Meryl Streep in “Julie and Julia”

Sharlto Copley in “District 9″

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “(500) Days of Summer”

Alison Lohman in “Drag Me to Hell”

Best movies you probably didn’t see:

“The Hurt Locker”

“Shrink”

“Whatever Works”

“In the Loop”

Best musical number:

I particularly enjoyed the footwork from the guy who plays Turtle on “Entourage.”


Most disappointing movie:

For me it was probably “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” because I was such a fan of the novel. But what worked so well on the printed page came across as confusing, occasionally creepy and sometimes unintentionally funny on the screen. It’s not a terrible film; it’s just mushy and convoluted. Rachel McAdams was lovely and winning and there were a few genuinely effective romantic moments, but Eric Bana was a bit stiff as the object of her undying devotion. An ending that should have left audiences drowning tears was telegraphed so many times it had little impact upon arrival.

Most effective and weirdly anachronistic song choice:

David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” was originally used to such great effect in the eerie erotic thriller from the early 1980s

And now it shows up in “Inglourious Basterds” as a scene-setter for the climactic showdown in the movie theater, and you’re thinking “Where the hell did THAT come from?” And yet, somehow it works perfectly. That Tarantino is one wacky-ass filmmaker. (A good source tells me Tarantino would love to do a show on satellite radio in which he just plays music from his private collection. Something tells me it stretches far beyond the music of the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake.)

Best soundtrack:

“(500) Days of Summer,” an eclectic and carefully chosen of songs that augment the story without shouting, “Check out the Indie Hipster Music!” The soundtrack includes selections from everyone from Simon & Garfunkel and Hall & Oates to The Temper Trap and Regina Spektor. There’s also “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” from the Smiths. How appropriate that the song would show up in a smart and funny and touching film around the same time the movie world was mourning John Hughes. In “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the Dream Academy does an instrumental cover of “Please…” that plays during the beautiful Art Institute sequence…

R.I.P.: John Hughes.

Sex bomb.

Monday, August 31st, 2009

“E” should forget about Sloan.

sloan1

Ashley’s the real deal.

The Reelz deal.

Friday, August 28th, 2009

the big tease

RICHARD ROEPER GUEST HOSTS MOVIE TRAILER SHOW “THE 
BIG TEASE” ON REELZCHANNEL 


“The Big Tease On Demand” premieres Sept. 1st at 4:30 PM ET 
“The Big Tease” premieres Sept. 11th at 10 PM ET 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (August 28, 2009) -REELZCHANNEL ® welcomes a fresh face to the sets of “The Big Tease” and “The Big Tease On Demand” as movie critic and syndicated columnist Richard Roeper stopped by to guest host the two shows. Roeper put his unique stamp on “The Big Tease” format, showing the trailers for his favorite movies so far this year, and sharing some of his all-time favorites as well. 

Despite saying “it might get crushed by a stampede of big-budget, high-profile pictures” hear what movie Roeper compares to Woody Allen’s 1977 Academy Award® winning Annie Hall. Also on the show: 

· What movie takes the title for his favorite underrated movie of 2009? 
· Whose performance is “worthy of a young Robert De Niro or Russell Crowe”? 
· What earns the dubious nod as “a sloppy, unintelligible, routine action film”? 
· What movie is he most excited to see in 2010? 

“‘The Big Tease’ is my favorite show on REELZCHANNEL, and being able to put a different spin on it as the host was great,” said Roeper. “I’m often asked what my favorite movies are and what I recommend seeing, so by showing the trailers, it’s a great way to excite viewers to watch those movies. 

Roeper, a former co-host of “At the Movies” with Roger Ebert for eight seasons, has a syndicated daily column for the Chicago Sun-Times and has written several books on movies. 

The nationally syndicated “At the Movies” is America’s longest-running movie review program and REELZCHANNEL is its exclusive weekday home. 

“The Big Tease” is the best place on TV to see a full half-hour of the trailers hitting theaters. “The Big Tease On Demand” features trailers for movies on VOD and PPV. By having Roeper as a guest host, REELZCHANNEL further enhances its ability to help drive sales for VOD and PPV on systems it’s carried on. 

REELZCHANNEL – TV About Movie® is the only cable/satellite network and website dedicated to everything about movies. The network and website (http://www.reelzchannel.com) feature entertaining original programs and content that offer a fresh perspective on movies, from behind-the-scenes movie clips and new release movie reviews to the latest movie trailers and suggestions for what to see tonight at home or in the theater. REELZCHANNEL TV is carried via cable and satellite on DirecTV (Channel 238) and DISH Network (Channel 299) reaching more than 46 million homes nationwide.

Ted Kennedy, 77.

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

ap_ted6_080517_ssh

The New York Times obituary does a very solid job of summarizing the triumphs and the tragedies in the life of the legendary Edward Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy, 77.

Fox News called Kennedy a “Senate lion and a liberal champion,” and that’s a fair label.

Fox News on Kennedy

Like just about every columnist and blogger and commentator in the world, I’ll have more to say about Mr. Kennedy tomorrow and in the days to come. For now, prayers to his family.

Some Port whine.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Rosemary Port is a blogger who anonymously called fashion model Liskula Cohen “a psychotic lying whore” and said the model should have “the first-place award for ‘Skankiest in NYC,” on Google’s blogger.com.

Cohen sought Port’s identity so she could pursue a defamation lawsuit, and Google was forced by court order to reveal Port’s name.

Now Port is saying she’s going to sue Google for failing to protect her privacy, saying in a statement she was “shocked that my right to privacy has been tampered with.”

“This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing,” Port told the New York Daily News.

“By going to the press, [the model] defamed herself.”

Interesting interpretation.

“Without any warning, I was put on a silver platter for the press to attack me,” whined Port, who claimed in court that blogs are a “modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting.”

Sadly, that’s all too true. But you can’t just make stuff up. You can’t call someone a “psychotic lying whore” without leaving yourself open to possible repercussions. You have to take responsibility for your words.

Port’s lawyer fell back on the time-honored argument that says the Founding Fathers wrote the Federalist Papers under pseudonyms. He’s also claiming the fashion model is defaming his client.

There’s no doubt the model’s pursuit of a defamation case increased media attention and public awareness of the incident about a zillion-fold. It’s similar to the recent story about the tenant who Twittered about an allegedly moldy apartment. The original Tweet was seen by a handful of people; the story about the lawsuit garnered worldwide attention.

And now the model has dropped the defamation suit, saying “It adds nothing to my life to hurt” Port.

But let’s follow Port’s thinking.

It’s OK for her to call someone all sorts of horrible names on her blog–but she’s horrified that her name is now out there in a negative light.

It’s fine for her to invade the model’s right to privacy by ripping on her on a blog called “Skanks in NYC”–but it’s an outrage that Google revealed her identity to the courts.

I don’t see Port winning her case against Google for complying with a court order. Besides, all Google users have to agree to a policy that says the company can share personal information if they’re required to do so by the courts, which is exactly what happened.

In the meantime, commenters on a number of sites are saying all sorts of nasty things about Port.

Anonymously, of course.

“I’m not here to make friends.”

Monday, August 24th, 2009

 

The power of “Inglourious.”

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

“Inglourious Basterds”
**** 1/2 stars (out of 5)
inglourious-basterds-movie-poster

Apparently some critics are upset at Quentin Tarantino for creating a revenge-fantasy, parallel-universe World War II movie in which a team of Jewish bounty hunters scalp Nazis, history is rewritten at every turn and Brad Pitt talks like the offspring of Forrest Gump and a Monty Python character.

Guess we should also condemn “The Blues Brothers” for the gratuitous use of “Illinois Nazis,” and of course Indiana Jones, and “The Dirty Dozen,” and…

Or we could recognize a big-ass drive-in movie for what it is.

Offensive? Really? As if audiences aren’t smart enough to discern that “Inglourious Basterds” is a cinematic mash-up in which Tarantino samples everything from the spaghetti Western to the film noirs of the 1940s to movies like “The Dirty Dozen.” He’s not engaging in Holocaust denial or exploiting history; he’s giving us a great B-movie that careens wildly from style to style but is always, always letting us in on the experience. Here is a movie, Tarantino tells us from the opening scene, which is the best opening scene in any film of 2009. It is not to be taken seriously at any turn. Enjoy the ride.

The “Basterds” of the title are a team of bloodthirsty, Jewish soldiers led by Brad Pitt’s (decidedly non-Jewish) twangy-voiced, goofy-mustached Lt. Aldo Raine. (A nod to old-time character actor Aldo Ray, who was in a number of war pictures.) They are not interested in capturing German soldiers; they are interested in hunt-and-execution, but only after inflicting as much pain as possible on their prey as they extricate information about the location of other Nazis.

Pitt delivers a robust and hilarious performance—-but the Basterds aren’t even the most intriguing characters Tarantino has assembled in yet another one of his brilliant, deeply layered screenplays in which multiple storylines play out at a leisurely pace before intersecting in ingenious and of course bloody fashion.

In the opening scene, we meet the Nazi officer Hans Landa, who takes pride in his nickname: “Jew Hunter.” Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (Best Actor winner at Cannes) gives the supporting performance of the year and one of the most memorable performances of the decade as Landa, a Satanic figure with a silky smooth veneer. Landa sits across the table from a French farmer, downing the farmer’s milk, lighting up his pipe and affecting a friendly tone as he verbally vivisects the poor man into divulging information about a Jewish family that’s been in hiding for months. It is a masterful scene, with the tension escalating like a drip…drip…dripping faucet that cannot be silenced. If those opening minutes were released as a self-contained story, it would be worthy of an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

But Tarantino is just getting warmed up. In addition to meeting Aldo Raine and his team of vigilantes (including director Eli Roth in a terrific turn as a killer known as the “Bear Jew,” who revels in beating his victims to death with a baseball bat), we see Hitler and Goebbels as cartoonishly grotesque parodies (and why not?); Michael Fassbender as a British commando who also happens to be a film critic (CQ); and Diane Kruger as a famous and beloved actress working as a double agent.

Most and best of all there’s the luminous Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna, who narrowly escaped Landa’s clutches a few years earlier and is seen a few years later, running a cinema in German-occupied Paris. A German war hero tries to court her (she’s repulsed) by convincing Goebbels they should premiere the fictional version of the war hero’s story at Shoshanna’s movie house. When Hitler himself decides he’ll attend the premiere, Shoshanna and Aldo launch separate and equally insane schemes to turn that premiere into a night the Nazis will never forget—-that is, if any of them survive.

That’s the meat-and-potatoes of “Inglourious Basterds.” There’s no shortage of quality kills and over-the-top violence—-but as is always the case with Tarantino, the real exhilaration comes from extended sequences peppered with funny, smart, surprising exchanges, followed by bursts of violence. At one point Kruger’s Bridget sets up a meet with a team of Allied agents masquerading as German officers in a cellar bar populated by real German soldiers who are getting drunk, as well as a keen-eared Nazi officer who is lurking around the corner, picking up that something ain’t right in the bar. It’s a World War II version of the scene in “True Romance” when everybody winds up in the same room, and things are light and casual for a while—-and then, not so much. What a great piece of filmmaking.

My only disappointment with “Inglourious Basterds” comes with the final act, which is set up so beautifully but doesn’t quite fire on every cylinder. Shoshanna’s revenge plan isn’t as clever as you’d expect it to be, and a few characters exit the movie in less than satisfying fashion. As for the pure-evil Hans Landa: he has some amazing moments near the end, but I would have liked to see—-well, I don’t want to give anything away. After the movie’s been out for a while, I’ll return to Landa’s fate.

For more than a few critics and cinephiles, Quentin Tarantino will always be held against the Quentin Tarantino who revolutionized movies with “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” just as M. Night Shyamalan will never live down the expectations created by “The Sixth Sense.” Both directors would probably admit they might have enjoyed the hype and the fame a bit too much, and that may have rubbed some people the wrong way. And maybe neither will ever match the greatness of the movies that turned them into icons.

Fine: “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t as good as “Pulp Fiction.” Neither are 99.9 percent of films that have come out in the last 15 years.

It’s still one of the best movies of 2009.

Today’s over/under question.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Do you think Britney Spears has more bikinis in her closet…

britney-spears-bikini-hot-1

Britney Spears

britney-spears-bikini

britney-spears-bikini

britney-spears-bikini0a2

…or books in her home?

im

Sports headline of the future.

Monday, August 17th, 2009

 

Sports headline of the future
Aug. 18, 2090:
MINNESOTA–The Minnesota Vikings have been secretly conducting talks with Brett Favre about a comeback, according to well-placed sources.
“It’s no secret we need help at the QB position, and Favre is one of the all-time greats,” said a Vikings executive. “Why wouldn’t we explore every option available to us?”
A call to Favre’s agent was not returned.
Favre has been the subject of speculation nearly every year since he retired from the New York Jets in 2009. He died 14 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped a steady stream of rumors and reports about an imminent return.
“So he’s dead, so what?” said the Vikings executive. “There’s no expiration date on greatness.”

Aug. 18, 2090:

 

MINNESOTA–The Minnesota Vikings have been secretly conducting talks with Brett Favre about a comeback, according to well-placed sources.

“It’s no secret we need help at the QB position, and Favre is one of the all-time greats,” said a Vikings executive. “Why wouldn’t we explore every option available to us?”

A call to Favre’s agent was not returned.

Favre has been the subject of speculation nearly every year since he retired from the New York Jets in 2009. He died 14 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped a steady stream of rumors and reports about an imminent return.

“So he’s dead, so what?” said the Vikings executive. “There’s no expiration date on greatness.”

Colbert & Roeper & the Movies.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Someone just sent me this “classic” video from 2001. Stephen Colbert is interviewing me about the Oscars on the day after the awards ceremony. As I recall, I was backstage at “Access Hollywood” or some show like that. Quite a glamorous backdrop.

Note the hair and the glasses, and my burgeoning five o’clock shadow. It’s almost as if I’m a swarthier double for Colbert.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Richard Roeper
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
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