Sunday, July 22, 2007


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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007)

Chuck Levine and Larry Valentine are the pride of their fire station: two guy's guys always side-by-side and willing to do anything for each other. Grateful Chuck owes Larry for saving his life in a fire, and Larry calls in that favor big time when civic red tape prevents him from naming his own two kids as his life insurance beneficiaries. But when an overzealous, spot-checking bureaucrat becomes suspicious, the new couple's arrangement becomes a citywide issue and goes from confidential to front-page news. Forced to improvise as love-struck newlyweds, Chuck and Larry must now fumble through a hilarious charade of domestic bliss under one roof. After surviving their mandatory honeymoon and dodging the threat of exposure, the well-intentioned con men discover that sticking together in your time of need is what truly makes a family.

Also Known As: Chuck & Larry
Chuck and Harry
Chuck and Larry
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Harry
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny

Production Status: Released

Genres: Comedy

Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.

Release Date: July 20th, 2007 (wide)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, language and drug references.

Distributors: Universal Pictures Distribution, Universal Pictures International

Production Co.: Shady Acres Entertainment, Happy Madison Productions, Relativity Media

Studios: Universal Pictures

Filming Locations: New York, New York USA
Los Angeles, California USA

Produced in: United States

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feature: Die Hard 4.0

A police car smashes into a helicopter! An SUV plummets down a lift shaft! Yes, it’s Die Hard 4.0! And star Bruce Willis loved every crash bang wallop moment of it…
Bruce Willis has a very simple reason for agreeing to return to the franchise that transformed him into an action icon. For him, he explains, his Die Hard persona John McClane still has plenty to offer cinema-goers, and he is keen for the appeal to reach a whole new generation of film fans. “I love this character, he is truly mythical,” Willis explains, obviously still hugely enthusiastic about a film series that spans almost two decades. “One of the cool things about Live Free or Die Hard [or Die Hard 4.0 if you happen to live anywhere other than the USA] is that the first one was made 20 years ago, so guys who grew up watching the film now have families of their own. Loads of guys come up to me and say ‘I’m so excited I can take my son and my daughter to see this film’. That is a terrific thing. I took a great leap of faith that people would still be really interested in this character, but they are.”

Although rolling out a fourth film in such a successful franchise may not seem like the biggest risk in the world, Willis explains that returning to play McClane was, in fact, an extremely difficult decision to make. After all, he has gone on to carve himself a hugely successful career as an actor adept in many genres, from thrillers like The Sixth Sense to comedies like The Whole Nine Yards, and he certainly didn’t want to be seen to be taking a back step. “I could have retired from the series undefeated, and gone out with just the three films,” he explains, before going on to reveal that it was the strength of the public’s love for Die Hard that made up his mind to revisit that world.

“During the years since the third film [1995’s Die Hard With A Vengeance] whenever I travelled around the world, I found that when word got out about a fourth Die Hard there was a great response. So I do know there is a huge audience waiting for this film, and you can be sure that I personally feel this one is at least as good as the first one – and maybe even better! We had a terrific crew who were all fans of the original film. Everyone who came to work on this film did so because they believed in it.”

And Willis is sure that it’s his character of John McClane, the everyman police detective who finds himself tackling highly-skilled technological terrorists, that has ensured the longevity of the franchise. “There is a mythology to Die Hard,” he explains. “John McClane loves his country, he loves his family and he will do anything to protect either. He will help anyone who’s in trouble, and he will put that person’s safety ahead of his own. He is what people identify with and respect, and he also rebels against authority and he’s got a sense of humour.” But have the past 20 years taken their toll on McClane, and can we realistically expect to see the same guy? “The character is the same; just older and a little crankier,” Willis laughs. “He’s a guy you see in a bar and want to have a couple of beers with. He does not take himself very seriously.”

by Adrienne Curtis

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Transformers Film Review - Car Wars With Shape-Shifters ‘R’ Us

Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, from the planet Cybertron, in “Transformers,” directed by Michael Bay and based on the Transformers action figures by Hasbro, with visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic.

Boys and their toys are in full formation in “Transformers,” a movie of epically assaultive noise and nonsense. Originating with the shape-shifting toys — created in Japan, rebranded in America — that transform from robots into stuff like cars and planes, then back again, the movie has been designed as the ultimate in shock-and-awe entertainment. The result is part car commercial, part military recruitment ad, a bumper-to-bumper pileup of big cars, big guns and, as befits its recently weaned target demographic, big breasts.

First introduced in 1984, just in time for the rise of geek culture, the Transformer toys have spawned comic books, television shows, video games, an animated feature and a fan base that has grown beyond children to include collectors like Steven Spielberg, an executive producer for the new movie. Not surprisingly, there’s a touch of mawkish Spielbergian sentiment in the movie’s empathetic hook, a riff on the boy and his alien friendship from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” This time the boy is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf, talking fast, running hard), a high schooler who discovers that his dingy 1970s Camaro is actually a gentle giant of a robot, Bumblebee

There’s more — a few goofy caricatures, some throwaway laughs, a lot of technological gobbledygook, the usual filler. Written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who cobbled the story together with John Rogers, the movie takes flight with a raucous, confusing attack on an American military base in Qatar. There, under the desert sun, muscly, sweaty military types (Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson) clash with an ominous helicopter that converts into a mysteriously angry critter with an articulated tail like that of a scorpion. Back in the United States the secretary of defense (Jon Voight) barks orders at other military types while Sam juggles his weird ride, his mounting fear and his agitated hormones.

The guy charged with keeping the movie in gear is the director Michael Bay, the hard-core action savant whose other big-screen eruptions include “The Rock,” “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Bad Boys II.” Like his last effort, “The Island,” this new flick isn’t as propulsive and casually sadistic as the movies that he made with the producer Jerry Bruckheimer (this carries a reasonable PG-13); it feels slower, more tamped down than the usual Bruckheimer assaults. The camera, or rather multiple cameras, are still shooting every which way, and the cutting sometimes registers as eye-blink fast, but not compulsively so. Mr. Bay allows himself to linger here and there, which explains the bloated, almost two-and-a-half-hour running time.

On the face of it “Transformers” is a story as old as the Greeks versus the Trojans, the difference being that these warriors are visitors from another planet, the 1980s-sounding Cybertron, and there isn’t a jot of poetry, tragedy, beauty, meaning or interest in this fight. The Autobots are trying to locate some all-important cube that looks like a Borg starship from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” before it’s found by the Autobots’ villainous alien brethren, the Decepticons. During their mission the Autobots blend into the earthly backdrop by turning into zippy cars and mondo trucks, a strategy that works particularly well in Southern California. Curiously, though the toys originated in Japan, no robot changes into a Toyota.

It’s kind of nifty when the robots transform the first time; they furiously shake back and forth like wet dogs desperately to dry off. But by the 99th time there’s no fun left at all, even during the rock-’em, sock-’em knockdown that delivers the movie, in Spielbergesque pastiche, first to a violent and then to a warm-and-fuzzy close. The actors tend to be more engaging, notably Mr. LaBeouf, who brings energy and a semi-straight face to the dumbest setup. Just as easy on the eyes, though for other reasons, are the two female leads, the genius hacker in throw-her-down heels (Rachael Taylor) and the grease-monkey bombshell (Megan Fox) who helps Sam rise to the manly occasion. These walking, talking dolls register as less human and believable than the Transformers, which may be why they were even allowed inside this boy’s club.

The movie waves the flag equally for Detroit and the military, if to no coherent end. Last year the director of General Motors brand-marketing and advertising clarified how the company’s cars were integral to the movie: “It’s a story of good versus evil. Our cars are the good guys.” And sure enough, most of the Autobots take the shape of GM vehicles, including Ratchet (a Hummer H2) and Ironhide (a TopKick pickup truck). The only Autobot that doesn’t wear that troubled automaker’s logo is the leader, Optimus Prime (a generic 18-wheeler tractor). Maybe that’s because the company didn’t want to be represented by a character that promises to blow itself up for the greater good, as Optimus does, especially one based on a child’s toy.

Shape-shifters of another kind, Hollywood action movies bend this way and that politically in a bid to please as many viewers as possible, but they almost always play out exactly the same, as entertaining violence leads to heroic individualism leads to the restoration of order. “Transformers” is no different, even if it does offer chewy distraction for the bored viewer: the would-be suicide bomber, American soldiers tearing it up in the Middle East while American cars keep up the fight at home, along with plugs for Burger King, Lockheed Martin, Mountain Dew and the Department of Defense. Why there’s even a president who asks for a Ding Dong. He’s wearing red socks like a big old clown, but no one really laughs.

“Transformers” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned.) Lots of bang and boom; little to no blood.


Opens today nationwide.

Directed by Michael Bay; written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, based on a story by John Rogers, Mr. Orci and Mr. Kurtzman and Hasbro’s Transformers action figures; director of photography, Mitchell Amundsen; edited by Paul Rubell, Glen Scantlebury and Thomas A. Muldoon; music by Steve Jablonsky; production designer, Jeff Mann; special visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic; produced by Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce; released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Running time: 144 minutes.

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