August 31, 2005Movie News)
Apparently the moratorium on airplane movies since 9/11 is over. Both Wes Craven's Red Eye and the upcoming Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan prey on panic in planes. That's quite a shift since 2001 when movies were altered left and right to avoid potential references to 9/11 (including prominent appearances of the World Trade Center in both Men in Black II and Spiderman).
But if scary airplane movies (or not so scary) are your cup of tea, MTV gives an overview of airplane disaster movies.
August 24, 2005Extracurricular)
The Utah State Fair: All Your Wildest Dreams Will Come True.
The series features three TV commercials (watch for Napoleon's Totzilla in TV spot 3) and five radio spots (check out radio spot 3 to hear Napoleon try to pronounce "sesquicentennial" and radio spot 5 for probably the best poem he ever did). Just click on "Napoleon's Sweet Ads" at the bottom of the main menu.
Update: Read about the making of the Utah State Fair ads and their runaway success.Business)
Long before The Passion of the Christ there was World Wide Pictures, Billy Graham's movie division. They've been making Christian movies since 1953 and Christianity Today recently covered the success of Billy Graham's movies over the past 50 years.
August 19, 2005Trailers)
Steve Tayler makes his directorial debut (finally) with The Second Chance, a film that explores racism and the church. The trailer is now available and it hardly looks like the typical Christian movie. What else would you expect from Steve Taylor?
The movie stars musician Michael W. Smith, which sounds like an odd choice, but from the trailer he looks like he might be able to pull it off. For more on The Second Chance, read an interview with Steve Taylor.
Speaking of Michael W. Smith, have you heard about the tribute album? The Ultimate Music Makeover: The Songs of Michael W. Smith features Stryper performing "Friends," Shaun Groves doing "Rocketown," and All Star United on "Go West Young Man." Um, no comment.
August 17, 2005Technology)
Battlestar Galactica continues to take advantage of technology to find success outside of a major network. First they offered the entire first episode online, and though the opener is no longer available, you can watch the entire season one finale.
But as cool as that is, it gets better: They're offering audio commentary of each episode of the second season as they air. It's their own commentary podcast. You can download the files and listen to the commentary while you watch (or you could record the show and watch it through once, then sit down with the commentary and watch it again). It's the joy of DVD long before the show comes to DVD. How long before the major networks steal this idea?
August 16, 2005Buzz)
The college freshman comedy Undeclared lasted one short season in 2001 and now it's back on DVD. Created by Judd Apatow, the same creative mind who worked on Freaks and Geeks (yet another single season series), the show featues plenty of improvised scenes and an incredible cast, along with a string of guest stars including Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Fred Willard (Best in Show), Tom Welling (Smallville), Mike White (School of Rock) and more.
You can also watch the entire episode "Truth or Dare" on iFilms. While this is the only episode I've seen, it's pretty funny. Especially if you can get past the surface veneer of college guys thinking only about sex.
Speaking of Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared borrows more than a few actors from that classic series, including regular Seth Rogen and guest stars Busy Philipps, Martin Starr, Samm Levine, Jason Segel, Steve Bannos and more.
August 11, 2005Extracurricular)
Both ligers and Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder have seen a surge in popularity thanks to the indie movie. Ligers are in fact real animals; they're a cross between male lions and female tigers (though the magical powers are, sadly, a myth). While accredited zoos don't breed them, many wild animal parks do, and they've been rather popular lately.
Meanwhile Heder, who had his breakout role as Napoleon, has six movies lined up where he continues to play outcasts. He also hasn't ruled out a return to Napoleon:
"I think it would be fun to do, but it's just gotta be done right, I guess," he continued. "Nothing is written down yet, but I don't know. We'll see what happens. It's been more, like, joked about, but we have no idea."
Heder added that he's not afraid about being typecast as "the nerd."
"I don't mind. It's fun playing a dorky guy — or someone ugly," Heder said. "It's easy playing someone ugly and eccentric."
August 10, 2005Trailers)
Check out the trailer for Walk the Line, the new Johnny Cash biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter.
The film covers Cash's early career recording at Sun Records in Memphis with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, his affair with June Carter and his break out performance at Folsom Prison.
Walk the Line comes out November 18.
August 3, 2005Buzz)
Sixteen-year-old Anna Popplewell plays the older sister Susan in the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film. She talks with Christianity Today about the movie and her experience.
What does Aslan mean to you? And what does he mean to Susan?
When I read the books, Aslan was just this wonderful, magical lion, the epitome of goodness. And I think even after the movie, that's what remains. He's really just full of love. As for Susan, when she meets Aslan, that's when she really believes in Narnia and kind of gets a grip that things are going to be okay. I think Aslan really serves as a symbol of hope for Susan.
August 2, 2005Movie News)
Check out a very interesting interview with Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, talking about his directorial debut, Serenity (based on the canceled TV series Firefly). He also talks about the process of writing a TV show or movie, and gets into his experiences writing for Toy Story, Speed, Alien Resurrection and X-Men.
The best line covers the changes to his Alien script:
I don't remember writing, "A withered, granny-lookin' Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley." Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts.
For more on Joss Whedon, check out the Whedonesque blog.
While you're at it, check out the Serenity trailer (Spoiler warning: While trailer 1 is pretty sweet, I've heard trailer 2 gives a lot of the movie away). Serenity opens Sept. 30.TV)
TV's greatest dad and what's arguably one of TV's greatest comedies finally came to DVD today. The Cosby Show. It's about time.
Requisite article about The Cosby Show.