I saw Kit Kittredge: An American Girl at 10 a.m. the day it opened, so I got to check out a bunch of trailers for upcoming kid-oriented films. The shocking thing was seeing the previews for two computer-animated talking-animal comedies, Space Chimps and Fly Me to the Moon. They're the same movie!
OK, they have cosmetic differences. Space Chimps, as the title suggests, depicts a trio of chimpanzees on an outer space rescue mission (complete with aliens) and opens July 18. Opening August 8, Fly Me to the Moon depicts three young houseflies who secretly stow away on the Apollo 11 mission and thus share in the first moon landing experience with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. I shudder to think of the puns based on his name.
Now, I can get how the arm's race-style competition between Hollywood studios yields to suspiciously similar movies like Antz and A Bug's Life, or Deep Impact and Armageddon, or Dante's Peak and Volcano (I could go on and on), but does either of these look like a good enough idea to be made let alone twice? I dare you to watch them:
TNT announced today that everyone's favorite Quantum Leaper and Minor Leaguer, Scott Bakula, has joined the cast of the upcoming drama "Men of a Certain Age," which sounds suspiciously like a male version of "thirtysomething" with an extra decade thrown in. (Maybe that's because the pilot episode's director, two-time Emmy winner Scott Winant, includes among his credits "thirtysomething.")
In anticipation of next week's big-screen release of the Batman epic film The Dark Knight, July 8 saw the direct-to-DVD issue of Batman: Gotham Knight (reviewed here), a moody, inventive anthology film with Japanese anime filmmakers presenting their interpretations of the Caped Crusader. The same day also saw the release of another DC Comics video adaptation with a distinct anime flavor: Teen Titans: The Complete Fifth Season.
Airing on Atlanta's Cartoon Network from 2003-2006, "Teen Titans" featured a theme song by perky Japanese twosome Puffy Ami Yumi and a peculiar but effective blend of serious, arcing episodes and zany comic relief. Funny scenes would draw on manga-style caricature: throbbing veins would appear on angry characters' heads, hearts would bubble up for lovesick ones, and even odder exaggerations would appear that gave the show's humor a fresh, funny attitude. The show's fifth and final season is my favorite, as it pits the Teen Titans against an iconic supervillian team called The Brotherhood of Evil; pop references come even more quickly (including nods to Doctor Who's Daleks and The Incredibles). Plus, it reinforces my theory that the show's creators patterned the five Titans after the main characters of John Hughes' beloved 1980s film, The Breakfast Club.
Back in April I reviewed the inspirational documentary Girls Rock!, which chronicled the weeklong travails of teen musicians learning to come together in hastily assembled bands and perform one song at the camp's end. The great news that came out of it was the local news that there would be an Atlanta chapter of Girls Rock!, which begins its five-day camp for girls ages 10-18 next week on Monday, July 14, at Eyedrum.
Atlanta has a pretty impressive punk-rock heritage that was nurtured in the Little Five Points scene of the 1980s and beyond, so it will be interesting to see what happens when children of parent punk-rockers (should they attend) come together over the next week and show their stuff on Saturday, July 19.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens this weekend, and the film's dark visual splendors affirm that director Guillermo del Toro is one of the major visionary filmmakers of our time even though some of its thematic and emotional content doesn't have the same punch as the first Hellboy. Del Toro is such an outlandishly stylish film fantasist that sometimes it's easy to overlook the contribution of Mike Mignola, the comic book artist/writer who created the Hellboy for Dark Horse Comics and works closely on the films. Mignola shares a writing credit with del Toro for Golden Army.
In the comics, Mignola's shadowy, Gothic-drenched artwork tends to be more stark and his dialogue more spare than their equivalent images in the Hellboy movies. There are two animated Hellboy films, but perhaps the best cartoon showcase for the tone and look of Mignola's work is "The Amazing Screw-On Head." This exceedingly odd 20-minute animated horror spoof features the voice of Paul Giamatti as a low-tech mechanical secret agent circa the Civil War called "The Screw-On Head." (Yes, other characters, like Abraham Lincoln, address him as "Screw-On Head.") David Hyde Pierce voices his arch-villain, the foppish ghoul Emperor Zombie. From Bryan Fuller, creator of "Pushing Daisies," the 2006 pilot film looks exactly like what you'd get if the creators of Adult Swim made a Halloween-themed version of "Wild Wild West." The introductory scheme perfectly captures Mignola's penchant for occult action scenes and demented whimsy:
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Todays Air Loaf features CLs Chanté LaGon chatting with Curt Holman about Ben Hur playing at the Fox Theatre this Sun., July 13, and Journey to the Center of the Earth opening Fri., July 11 at multiple Atlanta theaters.
Air Loaf is broadcast weekdays on 1690 WMLB-AM at approximately 8:10 a.m., 12:20 p.m. and 6:20 p.m.
MySpace. What's it done for you lately? (Besides helping you remember to close your bedroom window?) As a matter of fact, it's bringing Rainn Wilson's ("The Office") new movie, The Rocker, to Atlanta for a free sneak preview this Thurs., July 10, according to a press release we received yesterday afternoon.
The film follows Robert "Fish" Fishman (Wilson) as he tries to recapture his cock-rock glory days via his nephew's high school rock band, A.D.D.
MySpacers were allowed to vote throughout June on which U.S. cities deserved the screening. Atlanta made the cut along with Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Dallas and Kansas City. Here's the lowdown on how to get in for free:
To attend the screening, individuals need to visit MySpace and add the SONIC Red profile to their MySpace page. Print out the MySpace page with the SONIC Red profile on it, and bring it to the theatre. There are a limited number of seats available.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. this Thursday at the AMC North DeKalb Mall (2050 Lawrenceville Highway). The Rocker officially opens Wednesday, July 30.
(Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox)
I probably won't be able to see Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave this week, but the premise looks promising. Originally titled Starship Dave, the film presents Murphy in two roles. Dave, a seemingly ordinary man walking the streets of New York City, is in fact a starship built to exactly resemble a human being. Murphy also plays the ship's tiny captain, commanding a bridge of similarly diminutive aliens who control Dave's actions. Not surprisingly, "Dave" comes across as wildly eccentric, like Steve Martin's All of Me meets the hero of a wacky alien comedy such as "Mork & Mindy."
If the premise of a human being being "operated" from the inside by a band of controllers looks familiar, Woody Allen's already done it in his 1972 anthology comedy Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask). In the last and best chapter, "What happens during ejaculation?" Allen depicts the internal "crew" of an unseen man on a date that goes, uh extremely well. Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds lead the crew that controls the brain, blue collar-type workers in the stomach labor to digest the incoming meal ("Italian food? Jesus CHRIST!"), etc. Allen plays one of numerous sperm, preparing to be deployed like parachutists: "What if he's masturbating? We could end up on the ceiling!" You can watch it in its entirety on Youtube:
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Meet Dave opens this Friday, July 11.
So it's that time of year again, when underground filmmakers take their work above ground. The fifth annual Atlanta Underground Film Festival (AUFF) is coming up Aug. 20-24, and organizers recently posted the schedule.
With 18 features and 14 shorts at five venues over five days, the AUFF promises to be film-tastic, and other bad puns denoting cinematic fun.
The festival kicks off Aug. 20 at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge with Greg Kohs' feature Song Sung Blue, a documentary about husband-and-wife Neil Diamond tribute artists Lightning & Thunder.
The AUFF all-access pass is only $35. That gets you into all of the screenings, parties and whatnot for less than a meal for two at Applebee's. For the schedule, a full list of films and locations or to purchase tickets, visit the AUFF website.
(Photo courtesy Waitwhat Productions)
In honor of our nation's birthday, I offer possibly the most patriotic song ever written. Chances are you've heard this anthem-to-end-all-anthems from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I'll bet you've never heard the whole thing.
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