MOVIE OPENINGS – Nov 28, 2008


Director: Olivier Megaton 
Stars: Jason Statham, Robert Knepper, Katia Tchenko 
Studio: Lionsgate

The Plot: Frank Martin (Statham) puts the driving gloves on for a third mission: To deliver Valentina (Rudakova), the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he'll have to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.



Director: Seth Gordon 
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Mary Steenburgen 
Studio: New Line Cinema

The Plot: A comedy about a married couple (Witherspoon and Vaughn) from two divorced families who are tasked with attending four Christmas Day celebrations.


Director: Gus Van Sant 
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch
Studio: Focus Features

The Plot: A chronicle of Harvey Milk's (Penn) ascent to become San Francisco's first openly gay city supervisor in 1977, and the political fallout that led to his assassination, as well as Mayor George Moscone's, the following year.


Director: Baz Luhrmann 
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Ja
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

The Plot: Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat (Kidman) who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man (Jackman) in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

‘Benjamin Button’ – David Fincher’s triumph or folly?


Having heard that I saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" the other night, people keep asking me: What's it like? Can it possibly make its money back? (Estimates of the film's budget begin at around $150 million.) Is it an Oscar movie?

The real insiders tend to ask a more knowing question: Is this the movie that proves that David Fincher actually has a commercial sensibility? Or is it a $150-million art film?


Luc Besson on ‘Transporter 3’

As writer and producer of theTransporter films, Luc Besson has a quite a task. He has to create outrageous action sequences, and then get them done on a budget. Plus, he has to deal with a star who wants to risk life and limb doing it all himself. 
"Stop doesn't come from him," Besson said. "The stop comes from us, where we say, 'No, you're not going to do this. All right, it's a double who's going to do it.' And then he's screaming, fighting, 'Come on, let me do it, I can do it.' No, you won't do it." 

One of Transporter 3's new action sequences has Frank Martin (Jason Statham) chasing his stolen car on a BMX bike. If he lets the thief get too far ahead, a proximity bomb will explode on Martin's wrist.


Tilda Swinton On Her Post-Oscar Career and the Evolution of Independent Film


A short time ago in Los Angeles, actress Tilda Swinton had a very busy few days. She was there promoting her work in Erick Zonca's "Julia," screening at AFI Fest 2008. But in the two nights preceding its screening, she continued her newfound role as a staple honoree with back-to-back fetes: a tribute at AFI, and an award of excellence at the 2008 BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards. "It's very strange this getting awards," Swinton said upon accepting her award from BAFTA/LA. "I have to confess until so recently that the only thing I'd ever won was a raffle when I was twelve. I got a bottle of aftershave I gave my brother for Christmas and he still has it."


Clint Eastwood sought to make ‘a real woman’s film’ out of a true horror story with ‘Changeling.’


A few years ago, J. Michael Straczynski, a one-time journalist who had become an established writer on television shows like "Babylon 5," got a call from an old source at Los Angeles City Hall. They were burning old records, the man said, and there was something he should see before it got tossed into the incinerator. 

Straczynski rushed downtown, where he was handed a transcript of a City Council welfare hearing in the long-forgotten case of Christine Collins, a single mother whose 9-year-old son Walter went missing in 1928. 

"I was astonished to see what had happened, what this woman had endured," he says.


Nicole Kidman returns to ‘Australia’ for a project that let her dress up, crack a whip and demonstrate ‘the pure power of true love

Nicole Kidman sure knows how to enter a room. The flame-haired Oscar winner, looking regal and yet approachable, virtually floated into a cozy suite at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel on a recent afternoon.

When asked if she was channeling Lady Sarah Ashley, the aristocratic Englishwoman in her new film "Australia," Kidman lets out a very un-aristocratic, totally Aussie chortle.


Actor Robert Carlyle says ‘This is as good as it gets’

Robert Carlyle made his name with tough, violent and damaged characters. But it won't stop him appearing in 24 or playing Leonard Rossiter, he tells Kirsty Scott.


Historic Plymouth OKs building $488M movie studio


In this place sometimes known as America's hometown, schoolchildren and tourists flock to see Plymouth Rock, a replica of the Mayflower and the place where the Pilgrims and Mashpee Wampanoags Indians shared the first Thanksgiving meal.

But the staid and historic image of Plymouth could soon be tempered by a decidedly modern attraction: a $488 million film and television studio, complete with 14 sound stages, a 10-acre back lot, a theater, a 300-room upscale hotel, a spa and 500,000 square feet of office space.

The thought of turning Plymouth into a movie Mecca has won the enthusiastic support of many residents, but some don't like the idea of adding Hollywood to their history.


How 3-D Lost Its Wow

We have seen the future of cinema, sort of, and it is called “Bolt,” the new Disney cartoon that opened Friday. “Bolt” is noteworthy not because it tells the story of a cute, big-eyed animal who overcomes incredible obstacles only after he accepts himself for who he is — that would be the story of nearly every animated movie — but because it is being released in Disney Digital 3-D on nearly 1,000 screens nationwide, the largest digital 3-D release to date. (It is also showing on 2,600 screens in a normal, “flat,” version.)

Along with “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which came out in 3-D in July, and spring’s Hannah Montana-Miley Cyrus concert movie, a surprise hit also in 3-D, “Bolt” represents a tipping point in what some very smart people in Hollywood expect will be a revolution.


Focus Features hopes that audiences get ‘Milk’

If you thought marketing a film about the forbidden love of two cowboys had some challenges, how about one about a gay political activist?

Focus Features, the specialty film division of Universal Pictures, is no stranger to selling movies that touch a nerve with the public. In 2005, it successfully steered "Brokeback Mountain," a drama about two Wyoming ranch hands who fell in love that pundits said would never find a wide audience, into a hit.


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