Last week, I was asked why I didn't include any reality shows in my television previews.
Simple. In my not-so-humble opinion, reality shows are not entertainment at all, and can cause mental retardation, curvature of the spine, and the decline of the dollar against the yen.
I used to be a fan of "Survivor"...until I realized that it was the exact same show every stinking time. Now I was tempted for a second to tune into the season premier...and then I heard a football game calling my name, and I quickly got over that feeling.
Dancing with the Stars? Big Brother? America's Got Talent? You couldn't get me to watch any of those at gunpoint.
But on the good (great) side of TV... "Dexter" starts its second season Sunday night, as America's favorite serial killer gets ready for another year of fun and games. "Dexter" coming back also means that Showtime has the two best shows currently running as "Californication" is not only the best new show for this year, it's the best comedy on television.
News and Rumors
~ Last week I made comments about how great I thought the new Terminator series "The Sarah Conner Chronicles" would be...and evidently several of you agreed based upon the forums and emails from people that saw the preview. Now comes a follow up on an earlier blurb about the next Terminator movie. It will be made by the same people who are making "Sarah Conner" and will be the first film in a new trilogy, focusing on John Conner and Kate Brewster in a post-apocalyptic war between man and machines. Also, it supposedly will NOT focus on John Conner, but will instead feature a new hero that is inspired by John.
~ Some early spoilers about the new "Justice League" movie planned for release in 2009. If you really want to wait two more years to hear this...skip to the next tilda. For those still here, the lineup will include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Martian Manhunter. Aquaman will not be included. One of the "heroes" will turn bad. The Flash is the youngest member, and has a crush on Wonder Woman. There will be an "Empire Strikes Back" type plot twist. Latest rumors have Jessica Biel possibly playing Wonder Woman, and Tyrese Gibson or Common in consideration for Green Lantern.
~ New information on the previously reports of Frank Miller helmed screenplay of the comic book adaptation of "The Spirit". Gabriel Macht will play the cop who comes back from the dead to fight evil. Samuel L. Jackson will play the villainous Octobus, with Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson playing villains as well. Sign me up for the Bad Guy team.
~ Don't they ever learn? Another "Punisher" movie will be coming out. "Punisher: War Zone" will have Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo in "Rome") as the vigilante, along with Dominic West ("The Wire"), Doug Hutchinson, and Wayne Knight (Newman on "Seinfeld"). This is going to suck in a major way.
~ Steven Spielberg is looking to do an Abraham Lincoln biography for a possible 2009 release. Sally Field is reported to be on board as Mary Todd Lincoln, while Liam Neeson is considering taking the role of Honest Abe. I smell Oscar-bait.
This week's new movie releases:
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, and Jennifer Garner
Plot: An FBI team is dispatched to the Middle East to find those responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of American workers in Riyadh.
The BeerBuzz: CSI: Riyadh. Not good buzz on this as far as being a great "serious" movie. But if you're looking for a good action movie, director Peter Berg and Foxx have shown themselves quite adept in the genre. Chris Cooper makes any movie he's in worthy of an extra half point or so in it's final rating.
The Game Plan
Starring: The Rock, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Pettis
Plot: A star quarterback trying to get his team into the playoffs is sidetracked when he learns he has a seven year old daughter from a previous relationship.
The BeerBuzz: Disney making a family film about a pro football player and his too-cute-for-words little girl, and the upheaval she puts into his life. Now if that might have included the little tyke walking in on daddy's dog fighting ring...or him in bed with three women...or shooting up HGH...then I might have been interested. But no, this is a Family Film...and I am so overjoyed that I don't have young children, because as a football fan, it would be painful to watch something so stupid.
Feast of Love
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell, and Jane Alexander
Plot: Interlaced tales of a group of friends in Oregon and the disruption of their lives after the appearance of a free spirited young woman.
The BeerBuzz: More dramatic romance drivel in an attempt to transpose "The Big Chill" to The Great North-wet. Based by a book from a former Michigan professor...so maybe they all sit around crying about big, bad Jim Tressel.
In the Valley of Elah
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, James Franco
Plot: A career military officer and a his wife work with a police detective to uncover the truth behind their son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.
The BeerBuzz: Coming out this week in wider release, this film from Paul Haggis has been getting all kinds of kudos and props for the award season. Very anti-war in its content, look for Haggis to receive just as much controversy for this film as he got for his Oscar winning "Crash". The difference might be that you cannot argue with the talents of Jones and Theron, making this a "must-see" for me.
New DVD Releases on Tuesday, October 2nd
1408 - In a summer when pretty much every horror flick tanked, this Stephen King adaptation thrived. That fact can be attributed extensively to the performance of John Cusack as a debunker of paranormal phenomenon that is trapped in a reportedly haunted room where 58 people have supposedly died.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Two for two in misses on this franchise. I liked the give and take between the Thing and the Human Torch on this one, as Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans almost are able to save this special effects Super Bore, with Galactus being portrayed not as a giant humanoid creature but as a giant version of the "Smoke Monster" seen on TV's "Lost". But Ioan Gruffudd and Jessica Alba as Mr. & Mrs. Fantastic were god-awful.
Next week: The Heartbreak Kid, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Feel the Noise, The Jane Austen Book Club
Upcoming Biggies (click on the hyperlink to view the available trailers).
Michael Clayton - October 12th - George Clooney as a top law firm's "fixer" (the type of person played by Jodie Foster in "Inside Man"...IOW, a shady power broker/dirty tricks expert).
The Golden Age - October 12th - Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen in a follow up of the award winning "Elizabeth"...this one looks to be better than the first, with much more action as it focuses on England's defeat of the Spanish Armada, and Elizabeth's flirtation with Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Owen.
We Own the Night - October 12th - Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, and Eva Mendes in a story of a nightclub owner (Phoenix), his police officer brother (Wahlberg), and the conflict with the mobsters who run Phoenix's nightclub.
Rendition - October 19th - Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin in a political thriller with Gyllenhaal as a CIA agent troubled by witnessing questionable interrogations.
American Gangster - November 2nd - Denzel Washington as a heroin kingpin from the Vietnam War era (he smuggled it back in the body bags of dead soldiers) and Russell Crowe as the investigator on his trail.
Bee Movie - November 2nd - Animated flick with Jerry Seinfeld as a bee who files a lawsuit against mankind for eating honey.
Lions for Lambs - November 9th - Robert Redford directs himself, Tom Cruise (yeck) and Meryl Streep in this political thriller.
Fred Claus - November 9th - Vince Vaughn as Santa's embittered little brother. With Paul Giamatti. Another slightly naughty Christmas fairy tale that will make a bundle of cash.
Beowulf - November 16th - Robert Zemeckis gets all medieval on us with a motion capture (like "Polar Express") adaptation of the epic poem. Crispen Glover as the monster Grendel and Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother? I'm there.
Hitman - November 21st - Deadwood's Timothy Oliphant follows up his portrayal as the chief villain in "Live Free or Die Hard" in this action/adventure film where he play...what else...a hitman. Look for it to be in the same vein as "The Transporter", and a hit (heh...I kill me).
The Golden Compass - December 7th - Major, major push from the studios for this big budget fantasy...designed to be the first of a franchise. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star (their second collaboration this year, let's hope it's better than "The Invasion"), along with Sam Elliot and Eva Green.
Leatherheads - December 7th - George Clooney in an old fashioned screwball comedy set in 1925. George is an aging football legend who now owns a pro team, and is competing for the affections of Renee Zellweger with his star player.
I Am Legend - December 14th - Will Smith in what is basically a remake of the Chuck Heston apocalyptic film "The Omega Man".
National Treasure: Book of Secrets - December 21st - Follow-up to the hugely popular guilty pleasure "National Treasure" with Nick Cage back at his wacky best.
P.S., I Love You - December 21st - Hillary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Harry Connick Jr. in an award contender about a widow who discovers love letters written by her recently deceased husband (Butler) that are meant to help her begin the next chapter of her life.
The Other Boleyn Girl - December 21st - Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Scarlett Johansson as her sister Mary, and Eric Bana as King Henry VIII. I expect this to blow the tepid Showtime series "The Tudors" out of the English Channel.
Charlie Wilson's War - December 25th - Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in an Oscar contender about the charismatic and eccentric Texas Congressman who orchestrated the funding of the Afghans against the Soviet Union in the early 80s.
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Limited release in December - Tim Burton's adaptation of the macabre Steven Sondheim musical about a deranged barber bent on revenge (Johnny Depp) and the meat pie baker that assists him (Helena Bonham Carter), who uses the bodies to make delicious snacks.
Untitled J.J. Abrams Project - January 18th - You've seen the buzz generating hand held camera trailer during "Transformers", and wondered what it's all about. We don't know yet, but we're thinking it should be fun.
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