No hero grows old gracefully in Hollywood

Now that Indiana Jones has officially demonstrated he can still flex his muscles at the box office, don't be surprised if a new wave of crusty old action heroes are summoned out of retirement. Indeed, studios are probably champing at the bit for California's governor to give up that silly second career, eager to re-deploy "Commando's" John Matrix and "Predator's" Dutch back into action.

Yet after sitting through fourth visits from Indy, Rambo and "Die Hard's" John McClane -- as well as a sixth round of Rocky Balboa -- the lingering image is hardly one of demographic progress. For while there's a familiar adage about age preceding beauty, this latest flurry of comebacks has consistently put age before reality.

(Variety)

An appraisal of Sydney Pollack, Filmmaker New and Old

 

Sydney Pollack’s career as a director blossomed in the 1960s and ’70s, but in many ways he was a throwback to an earlier era in American movies.

The story of the New Hollywood, dominated by a wild bunch of ambitious, iconoclastic would-be auteurs, is by now overgrown with nostalgia and legend-mongering, but Mr. Pollack’s place in that legend suggests continuity rather than upheaval. The vitality of motion pictures has always been sustained by craftsmen with a modicum of business sense and the ability to tell a good story.

Mr. Pollack, who died on Monday at 73, was never (and never claimed to be) a great innovator or a notable visual stylist. If he could be compared to a major figure from the Old Hollywood, it would not be to one of the great individualists like Howard Hawks or John Ford, who stamped their creative personalities onto every project, whatever the genre or the level of achievement. Mr. Pollack was more like William Wyler: highly competent, drawn to projects with a certain quality and prestige and able above all to harness the charisma of movie stars to great emotional and dramatic effect.

(New York Times)

Who needs plot in an action movie?

 

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- better known to some as 'Indy 4' -- was a terrible movie. But watching it was the most fun I've had in a movie theater in a while.

Who wouldn't enjoy watching Harrison Ford pull off impossible stunts and living to recap his greatest one-liner from Star Wars? Who wouldn't enjoy watching Steven Spielberg and George Lucas "pay homage" to earlier films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Who wouldn't sing the praises of Shia LaBeouf swinging through the Amazonian trees with a pack of CGI monkeys? Who wouldn't want to watch Indy be taken in by the FBI and... have his patriotism questioned?

Certainly not I. I sat through the film thoroughly entranced, watching the action speed by and only occasionally scratching my head and thinking, But wait a minute, that last scene didn't make any sense!

(Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Stars in their shorts for MTV Movie Awards

MTV has enlisted a slew of stars -- including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black -- to create their own short films, which will premiere during the cable channel's annual MTV Movie Awards on Sunday.

Mike Myers, who will host the event at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, also created two shorts featuring two new characters he created.

(Reuters)

Director and actor Sydney Pollack dies at 73

Sydney Pollack was remembered by some of the elite actors he directed in films such as "Out of Africa," "Tootsie," and "Absence of Malice," not only for his Academy Award-winning direction, but also for his acting talents.

Pollack, diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago, died Monday afternoon, surrounded by family, at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, said his publicist, Leslee Dart. He was 73.

Unlike many other top directors of his era, Pollack was also a film and television actor himself, and he used this unique position to forge a relationship with Hollywood's elite stars and create some of the most successful films of the 1970s and '80s

(Yahoo News)

Many readers feel ‘Indy’ fails to fully deliver

Were the critics being too critical when dishing out the so-so reviews of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”? According to many of our readers, no.

While there are plenty of die-hard Indy fans, many were left disappointed by movie’s end (some much earlier). “I saw it and wanted to leave just minutes after it started. ... This movie goes nowhere fast ... (it) does not have the heart nor a story that the previous films has had,” Richard from Greenville, N.C., wrote.

“It is fantastic! I'm 57, saw the first 3, loved this one, can't wait for the next one! The critics are too critical,” said Pops from Fort Worth, Texas.

Read on for more reader opinions about the movie.

(MSNBC)

Harry Potter Actor Slain

 

Robert Knox, an 18-year-old actor set to appear in the next Harry Potter film, was fatally stabbed outside a London pub on Saturday.

According to British media reports, the actor was part of a brawl that sent five males to the hospital, including a 21-year-old who was arrested on suspicion of murder after being treated for facial injuries.

(E! Online)

Will Smith’s Hancock movie could be summer’s first super-flop

 

WILL SMITH'S upcoming superhero movie Hancock could well have a bumpy landing at the box office, with reshoots reportedly under way seven weeks before release following negative reactions at test screenings.

In this comedy superhero film - not based on a comicbook - Smith plays a lazy, alcoholic, depressed, down-and-out super-loser with the abilities of flight, strength and invulnerability.

Smith's character John Hancock saves the life of PR consultant Ray Embry (Jason Bateman), who then offers to help the downtrodden hero get back on his feet and rebuild his life. But Embry's wife Mary (Charlize Theron) turns out to be connected to the superhero.

Some movie fans online have dismissed the negativity and claim the alleged reshoots in New York are 'pick-up shots' to establish the film's location in that city (as it was largely filmed elsewhere, in Los Angeles). It's certainly not unusual for extra pieces of filming to be done just weeks before release.

(Coventry Telegraph)

TV crew members still feeling effects of writers strike

 

The writers strike ended two months ago. But many in Hollywood remain on the brink.

Some are at risk of losing their homes. Some can't afford groceries. Others have filed for bankruptcy. Still others struggle to work enough hours to hold on to their health insurance.

Across Los Angeles, many crew members who work behind the scenes and on the sets of television shows and movies are still quaking from the temblor of the 100-day writers strike that shut down scripted TV production.

Blame the aftershocks. Networks have sharply curtailed the number of TV pilots this year, continuing a trend toward ordering fewer shows for the new season.

(LA Times)

NetFlix Offers A “Stream” Of Movie Rental

 

I spent part of the last few days watching NetFlix movies on my TV set. NetFlix has long allowed members to rent movies on DVDs and, since January, has enabled Windows users to watch them on a PC.

The movies I watched came through my broadband Internet connection directly to my TV, thanks to a new $100 set-top box from Roku. The box can connect to the Internet via an Ethernet cable or a WiFi wireless network, and to your TV through all the common analog and digital cables. There is also an optical audio out port for sending sound to an audio receiver.

Once you buy the box, the only thing you need to use the service is an unlimited NetFlix account, starting at $8.99 a month. And, unlike other online video "rental" services, there is no charge per movie. You can watch as many movies or TV shows as you want for the single monthly fee.

(CBS News)


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