Archive for February, 2002

40 Days and 40 Nights

February 28, 2002

In “40 Days and 40 Nights,” the beleaguered Matt (Josh Hartnett), unable to get over being dumped by the love of his life, gives up personal contact for Lent. That means forty days and forty nights without kissing, touching, biting, scratching and, most importantly, self-pleasure.

When I give up something for Lent, it only makes me crave it more. In this tasteless wad of testosterone, Matt believes a forty-day purge will cure him of his obsessions. If junk like that worked, I’d never see another chocolate cream Oreo. But it’s evident from the get-go that screenwriter Rob Perez knows as much about both self-discipline and Catholicism as I know about echocardiography. He just assumes the premise is funny. He’s incorrect.The rest is as predictable as it is vulgar. Matt’s best intentions are foiled when the lovely Erica (Shannyn Sossamon) fights to mix her colors with his whites at the local laundromat. Is that love in the air, or lint? Meanwhile, Matt’s friends turn the “vow” of celibacy into a bet, possibly because a drinking game would have been too complicated.Director Michael Lehmann zaps the story along with visual pizzazz, crafting some frivolous giggles. Perez’ script, however, never understands the motivations of its own characters. Giving up sex shouldn’t be hard for Matt, because we’re initially led to believe he’s afraid of it. His obsession with Nicole prevents him from closing the deal with a number of gorgeous (and willing) women. So when Matt explains the Lenten concept as giving up “something that you love,” we’re puzzled. He doesn’t love sex. He’s actually grown to loathe it.As Matt and Erica’s relationship evolves, we reach the inevitable moment where she learns about his vow, despite the fact that he has scrambled to keep it secret. Why, I can’t figure out. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t tell her the truth. She might have found it commendable. Instead, the screenplay requires Erica to get mad at Matt because he’s not trying to get into her pants. What girl would react like that? His bout of self-discipline makes him noble. Her not understating it makes her petty, selfish and bitchy.This route fails because of Sossamon’s natural charms. Beautiful and spirited, she inadvertently makes the wooden Hartnett seem numb. If you want to have some real fun, though, give Paolo Costanzo – who plays Matt’s roommate, Ryan – his own starring role. He converts more then enough tired lines into comedic gems, proving it’s his delivery, and not the material, that made me chuckle. “40 Days” may have missed the boat on the sex comedy genre, but it does contribute some new theories about the downfall of the dot.com industry. In this film, dot.com employees dress like strippers and endlessly rap about sex while their CEO inadvertently pops Viagra and strives to break the office’s masturbation record. Who wouldn’t want to invest in that?Grade: DBy Sean O’ConnellMarch 1, 2002

We Were Soldiers

February 28, 2002

It’s time to declare a cinematic peace treaty. Hollywood’s recent trips to the battlefield — from the preposterous “Behind Enemy Lines” to the chilly, calculated “Black Hawk Down” — have failed to pay homage to former heroes who fought valiantly. Instead, the flashy exercises only serve as test-drives for the latest explosive device, reducing the genre to boys playing with toys.

The latest, writer/director Randall Wallace’s film adaptation of the N.Y. Times best seller, “”We Were Soldiers Once … And Young,”” edits the book’s title, but maintains enough of its gore. Based on the true story of our armed forces’ ill-fated invasion of Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley, “Soldiers” stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Col. Hal Moore, a career officer and father of what seems like a baker’s dozen who’s assigned to lead and train the military’s “”new cavalry,”” which rides helicopters instead of horses and brandishes M16s in place of 12inch swords.Moore’s troops, however, would be hard pressed to buy alcohol without proper ID, and the drinking age in those days was 18. So the man wisely surrounds himself with experienced warriors, including the tough-as-nails Sgt.-Maj. Basil Plumley (Sam Elliott) and the roughneck but reliable chopper pilot, Maj. Bruce Crandall (Greg Kinnear). Elliott gets the film’s best line. When asked by Moore if he’d care to arm himself with a newfangled M16 rifle before entering battle, Plumley spits, “”If the time comes I need one, there’ll be plenty on the floor.””Finally, orders are handed down, and Moore learns his men will see combat. He can’t mask the dread on his face. Though physically ready, Moore’s men will never be mentally prepared, and their leader knows this. Though he desperately wants to shelter them from their fate, all he can do is matter-of-factly state, “”We’re landing under fire. Men will die.”” Polar opposite leaders emerge from Moore’s platoon, one aggressive (Mark Blucas), one (Chris Klein) sensitive. Initially, both achieve their desired results, though these tactics seem frivolous on the anarchic battlefield. But in the midst of the chaos, it’s Gibson who stands tallest. He is a calming presence in an extremely gory, violent endurance of slaughter. Like its grisly counterpart, “Black Hawk Down,” Wallace’s battlefield epic is ultimately about outnumbered U.S. troops. In contrast to “Black Hawk,” however, “Soldiers” endears us to the men on the field. The film uses Catholicism as a window into Moore, as well as select few of his men. The desired result is that we’ll squirm uncomfortably in our seats as these men are slaughtered. Mission accomplished.And while Wallace displays skill with his camera placement in select scenes, its in the multiple battle sequences where he goes horribly wrong, proving the man can write a good fight (“Braveheart”), but he certainly can’t shoot one. The sadistic scenes are endless loops of fiery explosions and screaming bullets ripping into unidentified bodies. Wallace is mesmerized by the sight of men getting shot, whether in the shoulder, the back, the head … doesn’t matter, as long as they’re running when it happens, and they immediately crumple when hit. “Soldier” does pause frequently to remind us what the men overseas are fighting for, namely their families back home. Unfortunately, these heavy-handed scenes appear to be lifted from the unwritten “”Chicken Soup For The Soldier’s Soul.”” While I don’t doubt the legitimacy of wives awaiting word from their men, a scene of Moore’s stoic wife (Madeleine Stowe) and a fresh-faced military spouse (Kerri Russell) delivering death notices felt dishonest and insincere. Even in our pro-America, post-9/11 times, “Soldiers” arrives at a bad time. I may be alone here, but I’ve had my fill of combat films whose sole purpose is to show us how brutal war can be. By now, we know. We see it every day, on CNN, MSNBC and at the local AMC. So I’m waving my white flag. I’m done. I surrender.Grade: CBy Sean O’ConnellMarch 1, 2002

Festival in Cannes ~wendy’s review

February 25, 2002

[img align=left]http://us.ent3.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/paramount_classics/festival_in_cannes/festivalincannes_poster.jpg[/img]A true tribute to the cellphone carrying, wheeler dealers of the independent and corporate movie world. “”Festival In Cannes”” is a neurotic delight for for anyone who is interested in the corruption and behind the scenes mania that happens at a film festival.

Having recently attended the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, I could humorously identify with the vibrant characters displayed in this colorful movie. When you see the multitude of cell phones, you

Memorable Movie Lines?

February 22, 2002

Ok this was a big thread from our old forum that got trashed when I switched the site, so I’m going to start a new one here.

Hart’s War First Impressions

February 22, 2002

I just caught Hart’s War this morning and it’s pretty darn good. The first film this year that gets an A- from me. The trailer for this movie is totally misleading, it’s nothing like the trailer.

News on John Travolta/Samuel Jackson Film

February 22, 2002

Variety is reporting that Columbia Pictures has taken domestic distribution rights to the John Travolta/Samuel L. Jackson thriller “Basic. “

John McTiernan, currently in theaters with the “Rollerball” remake, is directing the Phoenix Pictures/Intermedia Films project, which began shooting in November.

Travolta plays a former Army Ranger and discredited DEA agent who is brought in to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a decorated Army Ranger drill instructor (Jackson) and several of his recruits during a military training exercise gone awry. The instructor teams up with a female military police officer (Connie Nielsen) in the investigation. Tim Daly, Harry Connick Jr., Brian Van Holt, Giovanni Ribisi, Taye Diggs, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fue.

News on new John Travolta/Samuel Jackson Film

February 22, 2002

Variety is reporting that Columbia Pictures has taken domestic distribution rights to the John Travolta/Samuel L. Jackson thriller “Basic. “

John McTiernan, currently in theaters with the “Rollerball” remake, is directing the Phoenix Pictures/Intermedia Films project, which began shooting in November. Travolta plays a former Army Ranger and discredited DEA agent who is brought in to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a decorated Army Ranger drill instructor (Jackson) and several of his recruits during a military training exercise gone awry. The instructor teams up with a female military police officer (Connie Nielsen) in the investigation. Tim Daly, Harry Connick Jr., Brian Van Holt, Giovanni Ribisi, Taye Diggs, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fue.

New T3 Chick

February 22, 2002

E! Online is reporting that T3 has cast Norwegian model-actress Kristanna Loken to be the Terminatrix in Warner Bros.’ Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

With her skyscraper legs and blond locks, the relatively unknown 22-year-old will play T-X, the latest, most murderous design to come off the assembly line since the shape-shifting T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But unlike that liquid-metal villain, Loken’s cyborg will have powers that will make Schwarzenegger’s T-800 character seem ancient by comparison.

While Warners reps are tight-lipped about the plot, T3 is said to take place a decade after T2, with a twentysomething John Connor and his cyborg buddy battling the lethal Terminatrix to save the world from a takeover by the machines.

Schwarzenegger will be the only key player back from the franchise’s earlier flicks. Writer-director James Cameron is sitting this episode out (he’s replaced by U-571 director Jonathan Mostow), as are Linda Hamilton, who played the heroic Sarah Connor in the first two films, and Edward Furlong, who played Sarah’s teen son John in T2.

If you don’t recognize Loken’s name you might recognize her face. She modeled for several years before getting the acting bug. She appeared in episodes of Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman, Just Shoot Me and Star Trek: Voyager before landing full-time parts on Unhappily Ever After, Pensacola: Wings of Gold and Mortal Kombat: Conquest. She most recently costarred in the now-defunct D.C. and currently has a recurring role on ABC’s Philly. She also appeared in the film Panic.

The megabudgeted T3: Rise of the Machines (which will cost upwards of $180 million to make) starts shooting April 15 in Los Angeles and is slated to hit theaters in summer of 2003

New T3 Chick Announced

February 22, 2002

E! Online is reporting that T3 has cast Norwegian model-actress Kristanna Loken to be the Terminatrix in Warner Bros.’ Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

With her skyscraper legs and blond locks, the relatively unknown 22-year-old will play T-X, the latest, most murderous design to come off the assembly line since the shape-shifting T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But unlike that liquid-metal villain, Loken’s cyborg will have powers that will make Schwarzenegger’s T-800 character seem ancient by comparison.While Warners reps are tight-lipped about the plot, T3 is said to take place a decade after T2, with a twentysomething John Connor and his cyborg buddy battling the lethal Terminatrix to save the world from a takeover by the machines. Schwarzenegger will be the only key player back from the franchise’s earlier flicks. Writer-director James Cameron is sitting this episode out (he’s replaced by U-571 director Jonathan Mostow), as are Linda Hamilton, who played the heroic Sarah Connor in the first two films, and Edward Furlong, who played Sarah’s teen son John in T2. If you don’t recognize Loken’s name you might recognize her face. She modeled for several years before getting the acting bug. She appeared in episodes of Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman, Just Shoot Me and Star Trek: Voyager before landing full-time parts on Unhappily Ever After, Pensacola: Wings of Gold and Mortal Kombat: Conquest. She most recently costarred in the now-defunct D.C. and currently has a recurring role on ABC’s Philly. She also appeared in the film Panic. The megabudgeted T3: Rise of the Machines (which will cost upwards of $180 million to make) starts shooting April 15 in Los Angeles and is slated to hit theaters in summer of 2003.

Be the first to see Resident Evil!

February 22, 2002

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED Come and hang with the EM gang, and meet the hosts of the new EMTV show. You can be the first to see Screen Gems’, “”Resident Evil”” starring, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. The screening will be held in Washington, DC, Monday, March 11, 2002, at our super secret location. A secret experiment