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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Must Watch: David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Trailer!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Trailer

The very first trailer for David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has finally debuted online! This first played in front of showings of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so I'm sure most people have at least seen it once, but you must watch it again. This is undeniably one of the greatest trailers I've ever seen in my entire life. It's up there with the first trailer for 300. The best part is that I believe this will also turn out to be a phenomenal film. If you need a refresher, go back and read this post that I wrote back in January. David Fincher is an amazing director and I think we might finally see his masterpiece this December. From Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button and Cate Blanchett as Daisy to David Fincher and screenwriter Eric Roth, everything about this is absolutely perfect.

I first wrote about this trailer after it debuted, and have since come to appreciate it even more. It's definitely a piece of art and I think it only goes to show how phenomenal the film will eventually be. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has shot to the top of my most anticipated list and I will be following it very closely throughout the next few months. Please let us know what you think of the trailer!

Watch the first trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

You can also watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button trailer in High Definition on Apple

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is directed by visionary filmmaker David Fincher, of Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, and Zodiac previously. The screenplay was penned by Eric Roth, of Forrest Gump, The Horse Whisperer, Spielberg's Munich, and The Good Shepherd. The film was adapted from a short story written by legendary writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button arrives in theaters everywhere on December 19th this Christmas.

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6 Great Action Heroes (Who Should Be Convicted of Murder)

By Rick K

There's a reason action movies don't zoom in on the awesome explosions close enough to see the dozens of innocent burn victims in the vicinity. Nobody wants to get dragged down by the plight of these nobodies.

But still, some action heroes take the collateral damage (and lack of concern for it) to a level that blurs the line between hero and villain, and probably wouldn't have looked so good in a court of law.

#6.
Neo from The Matrix

If you ask any Matrix fan about their favorite part of the film, their answer will invariably involve Keanu Reeves's breathtaking performance as Neo. From the inspiring "I know kung fu" speech to his tender and heartfelt "whoa" monologue, his brilliant and multifaceted portrayal made Neo a compelling symbol of humanity at its best, alive and vibrant in a world dominated by oppressive machines.

Also, it was totally awesome when he killed all those guys in slow-motion.

So What's the Problem?

So when Neo's mentor Morpheus gets captured by the bad guys, Neo responds by arming himself with an arsenal larger than that of most developing nations, slaughtering a cluster of security guards before they can even draw their guns, before dropping a bomb on the ground floor of the building just in case there were a few errant cockroaches that weren't killed in the earlier carnage.

Wachowski brothers fans have noted the deliberate parallels between the messianic Neo and the Biblical story of the moneychangers in the temple, in which Christ pulled out a Beretta and killed about 50 security guards.

The thing is, it's explained early in the movie that there are bad guys who are entirely computer-generated (the "Agents") and then there are regular people who, when they get shot in the Matrix, die in real life. And those security guards were the latter.

Yet, for some reason it's played so that Neo is totally free from any guilt over killing a bunch of people, instead of just generating a helicopter and grabbing Morpheus from the top floor. You know, like they wind up doing anyway.

Or, if that wasn't an option, instead of walking in with machine guns, show up with canisters of gas that would render everyone unconscious. Sure it wouldn't have looked nearly as awesome as the guns, but at least it wouldn't have felt as wasteful (of both human life and ammo). So at the end of the day the lesson is apparently that it doesn't matter how many civilians you kill as long as you make sure that you look as cool as possible while doing it.

Of course, there's also the rationale that Neo was fighting for the greater good of freeing humanity from the Matrix. And thanks to the sacrifice he forced those security guards to make, their families could now be free to starve in a filthy underground city while being relentlessly pursued by killer robots.

#5.
The Fantastic Four from Fantastic Four

They're superheroes, they're in a summer action movie, it's sort of assumed we in the audience are going to be on their side. It helps that Jessica Alba is on that side too.

So What's the Problem?

Literally every single problem in this entire movie can be traced directly to the Fantastic Four's general incompetence. Don't believe us? Just take the scene when the Thing, in a bold act of heroism, saves a man from being hit by a car by causing a massive car accident that almost certainly killed the driver, and killed him in a way that his widow will never be able to adequately explain.

It gets better. In order to distract the crowd that has gathered at the accident site, the Four decide to spark a huge explosion. Amazingly, this well thought-out plan turns out catastrophically and the resulting blast nearly kills everyone on the bridge.

There's probably a deleted scene in which Mr. Fantastic attempts to pull a kitten out of a tree and winds up causing a nuclear meltdown.

You know, you never see Batman doing stuff like this, and he doesn't even have three superpowered teammates to pitch in. And at least when the Hulk damages property, he's doing it on purpose.

When the Fantastic Four finally confront their nemesis Doctor Doom for the heroic cause of saving their own asses, the only reason they prevail is that these heroic underdogs outnumber the villain 4-1.

The Fantastic Four do learn their lesson though, and in the sequel they basically step back and let the Silver Surfer save the world for them, probably saving countless innocent lives in the process, though not as many as they'd have saved if they'd just stayed home from the beginning.

#4.
Ellen Ripley from Alien Resurrection

By the time of Alien Resurrection's release, Ellen Ripley was already one of the most beloved characters in science fiction history, following an epic arc from an escape from the first vicious alien, to her fierce battle with an alien army and their queen, all the way to her final confrontation with a single alien puppy.

So What's the Problem?

In a revolutionary new direction for the alien series, in part four Ripley and her unruly crew of extras are trapped in outer space with a swarm of aliens. When confronted with the problem of how to destroy them, our heroes carefully consider their options and decide that the best course of action would be to crash the ship into earth. After all, if you have to die, you might as well take out as many innocent bystanders as possible.

Of course, they manage to kill the main alien by blasting it into the vacuum of space (didn't see that coming did you?) which means that they basically blew up who knows how many people on the ground for no reason at all, other than maybe to justify a special effects budget.

Joss Whedon's script doesn't exactly help make Ripley more sympathetic. While excessively clever dialog might be tolerable coming from the teenagers on Buffy, glib one-liners probably aren't the best way to inform someone that they have been infected with a horrific parasite that will soon burrow its way out of their chest, killing them in the most agonizing way possible.

#3.
James Bond from Casino Royale

For years, people who wanted to see 007 in action had to put up with plots that hinged on ridiculous things like invisible cars, laser beam satellites, and Madonna still being considered a sex symbol. This installment expunged the implausibility that plagued previous Bond films, establishing Bond as a grounded, conflicted character who just so happens to be hired by the government to play a friendly game of cards with terrorist masterminds instead of, you know, killing them.

So What's the Problem?

Bond has never been the most inconspicuous spy, but we don't think that he's ever wantonly killed innocent bystanders before. During the opening chase scene, the villain that Bond chases carefully flips and pivots to avoid civilians, while Bond rams into them, knocking one off of a tall girder, presumably to his death. (This also results in a huge explosion. Why? Because it's a Bond movie, that's why.)

The terrorist takes refuge in a foreign embassy, so Bond is forced by international law to allow him to temporarily escape and attempt to negotiate his transfer into British custody.

Nah, we're just kidding. Bond storms in, fires on a group of foreign soldiers, and kills the guy he was ordered to capture alive. He then shoots one of the stray gas canisters that the embassy just happened to have lying around, sparking an explosion two feet away from some poor soldiers.

All of this innocent loss of life makes even less sense when you realize it's all so that the British government doesn't have to worry about bailing Bond out of a foreign jail, like they effortlessly do later on in the film. Interestingly enough, Bond's superiors seem more concerned about him killing a suspected terrorist than about nearly starting World War III.

#2.
The Autobots from Transformers

Just as in the superhero movies, we knew who to root for before we walked into the theater. Autobots good, Decepticons bad. Besides, we probably would have rooted for the freaking Go-Bots if their appearance saved us from having to watch Shia Labeouf stutter for two and a half hours.

So What's the Problem?

The Autobots, in an attempt to prevent the evil Decepticons from obtaining an artifact that will grant them unlimited power, decide to take it away from a well-guarded military base and bring it somewhere safer, namely the center of a crowded city.

While the resulting robot brawl is pure awesome to watch, the enjoyment factor would be significantly less for the people in the city, suffering devastation on a scale larger than most natural disasters. There are few situations more emotionally conflicted and wrenching than seeing a super awesome giant robot knock a building over on top of your mom.

To make matters worse, the decision to bring the Deus Ex Machina cube into the city causes a group of machines to come alive and attack their human masters.


Mountain Dew paid several thousand dollars so that their product could be shown eviscerating a woman.

Since their fate was never addressed in the film, we have to assume that these killer robots decided to wait for the perfect moment to strike while disguising themselves as blenders, or toasters, or THE VERY COMPUTER THAT YOU'RE USING TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW.

Perhaps most disturbing, the other characters act as though none of this genocide ever occurred. They pause for a moment to mourn one robot with three lines, two of which are incredibly racist, but the hundreds of humans who were trampled beneath their feet don't even get a mention.

For comparison's sake, the film spends about 10 minutes focusing on the destruction of Shia's mother's lawn.

#1.
V from V for Vendetta

In this adaptation of Alan Moore's classic graphic novel, the filmmakers chose to portray the villains in an even more negative light, removing all of that pesky "moral ambiguity" business that made the comic V so hard to root for. The film is pure freedom vs. fascism, dagger-throwing fun, right?

So What's the Problem?

Yes, for the second time we demonstrate that there is no profession more dangerous than being a background character in a Wachowski brothers movie. There's a real good chance that not only will you be killed to serve the hero's purpose, but your death will go pretty much unacknowledged.

In the film, the anarchist revolutionary V incites the population of Britain to don his mask and rise up against the government, because nothing captures the spirit of anarchy better than a mob of people in identical uniforms unquestioningly obeying one man.

Eventually V destroys parliament, and the people of Britain celebrate their freedom. It's all extremely inspiring, which distracts from the fact that V didn't actually have a plan for dealing with the power struggle that will invariably occur from the vacuum that the government left behind. But that's OK too, because as we all know, insurgent uprisings that occur in the aftermath of the collapse of a dictatorship have a habit of just sorting themselves out.

Again, you can maybe justify the widespread rioting and violence based on the premise that, like in The Matrix, it's all for the greater good.

What cannot be explained is how V, when it comes time to convert a young girl to his way of thinking, kidnaps and tortures her to make his point. For the greater good, of course.

You know, we have to wonder if a government with V in charge wouldn't be every bit as shitty as the one he was trying to overthrow. From the citizen's perspective, it'd probably be a matter of choosing whether you wanted to get shot for the greater good, or stabbed with a throwing knife.

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Len Wiseman Gears Up for Gears of War

Posted by Ashley Demma (ashley@filmschoolrejects.com)

Video-gamers are in for some interesting news. Len Wiseman, director of the Underworld movies, is going to direct the highly anticipated Gears of War movie. While some of you might be cringing right now (and I wouldn’t blame you), hear me out.

In recent years, a lot of video game movies have quite frankly sucked. (Doom and Bloodrayne, anyone?) Whether the reason was bad adaptation, unfaithful storyline, poor graphics, or general lack of interest…something came up short. A lot of these movies, however, were quite successful amongst die-hard fans (Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider). Still, there seems to be a curse placed upon these adaptations. Let’s consider the good news:

1.) Underworld focused primarily on an advanced, developed history that we can likely see duplicated for the backstory of GoW.

2.) Writer Chris Morgan (Wanted) can apparently write action movies. Wanted is already one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.

3.) GoW has a strong fanbase and the potential for mad marketing money, (action figures, comic books, soda endorsements…), which hopefully New Line Cinema will bank on.

I myself know next to nothing about Gears of War, besides what my guy friends have rambled on about between games, but I understand the gist of it: Marcus Fenix is a Delta Squad soldier, whose home planet of Sera has been ravaged by an enemy known as the Locust Horde. He and his fellow soldiers plan to take back their home and destroy the Locust Horde. Other than that…I don’t really get it. How is this any different from Halo or any other futuristic, other-worldly, shooter game? While the graphics are pretty dark and creepy, and the content is certainly for a mature audience…is it really that special?

I’m sure at this point, every guy 14-28 with an X-Box wants to stab me. So help me understand, boys. Why should someone like me, a chick who isn’t a GoW fan, see the movie version? Why should anyone?

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Bankrupt! 65 Famous People Who Lost It All

Personal finance is all over the news lately what with the economy being in full on meltdown mode. It’s not always just average people who struggle though. Sometimes people make fortunes only to lose them later, for all sorts of reasons. We’ve compiled a list of 65 famous people who found themselves destitute despite once having been extremely well off. On to the list:

1. Benedict Arnold Benedict Arnold fought on the American side of the Revolutionary War but didn’t get the attention he felt he deserved so he switched to the British side. He went bankrupt after the war when a failed financial venture caused him to lose everything.
2. P.T. Barnum
P.T. Barnum is best known for being half of the “Barnum & Bailey Circus” but he actually didn’t get into that until he was 61-years-old. He first opened a museum in New York City showcasing nature’s oddities like Tom Thumb who was only 2 feet 9 inches tall. He also put a bunch of dough into the development of East Bridgeport, Connecticut and went bankrupt when that didn’t work out. He bounced back in four years and got into the circus business.
3. Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger had to file for bankruptcy in 1993 when a judge ordered the actress to pay Main Line Pictures $8.1 million because she had backed out of a verbal commitment to star in the film Boxing Helena. She had to sell her $20 million investment in Braselton, in her native Georgia and only received $1 million for it. She later appealed the ruling, reached an out-of-court settlement and went on to her well-known role in L.A. Confidential a few years later.
4. George Best
George Best had a prolific career playing soccer starting, when he was 17-years-old, with the Manchester United team in 1963. He played soccer until 1984 and unfortunately fell into a life of alcoholism, which eventually caused liver problems and his eventual death. He declared bankruptcy in 1982 after he tried to get treatment for alcoholism and was discharged from bankruptcy in 1992.
5. John Wayne Bobbitt
John Wayne Bobbitt is best known for having his penis sliced off by his angry wife in 1993. Luckily, after a 12-hour surgery his penis was sewed back on but Bobbitt couldn’t handle the mounting doctors bills and had to declare bankruptcy. He made a come back by getting into porn but he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. (He’s been arrested more than seven times for offenses ranging from assault to grand larceny.)
6. Lorraine Bracco

Lorraine Bracco played the mob-psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi in the HBO hit The Sopranos. The popularity of the show helped her dig herself out of debt after she filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Bracco found herself in a five-year legal battle with ex-Harvey Keitel over custody of their daughter Stella. The legal fees and taxes were substantial and the cause for her bankruptcy.
7. Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton sold over 15 million albums in the years leading up to her 1998 filing for bankruptcy and some believe she filed so she could get out of her recording contract with record label LaFace. When she filed, Braxton was $3.9 million in debt and all of her household possessions, including the two Grammys she was awarded in 1997 were priced to sell so she could pay off her creditors. Despite her conflict with her label, she signed a new contract in 1999 worth $25 million with them.
8. Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce loved to shock audiences as a comedian and was constantly in trouble on obscenity charges. He was blacklisted from nearly every comedy club in the United States near the end of his life but it was the trial in 1961, in which he was in trouble for saying “cocksucker”, that caused him to go bankrupt. He ended up dying at age 40 from a morphine overdose and in 2007, was granted a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction by New York Governor George Pataki. Bruce would be blown away by what people can get away with today.
9. Buffalo Bill
Buffalo Bill organized his “Wild West Show” in the late 1800’s and went on to become quite wealthy. Even though he made millions touring the country, he was also very generous and gave away so much money that he had to file for bankruptcy in 1914. He died bankrupt in 1917 and was buried on Lookout Mountain.
10. Tia Carrere
Tia Carrere, best known for her role in Wayne’s World, filed for bankruptcy in 1986 in an attempt to escape her contract with General Hospital so she could join the cast of A Team. Apparently the soap was no longer giving Carrere enough work and was forcing her to go into bankruptcy. She lost the suit and the respect of her fellow cast mates on the show. Carrere blames her young age for the reason that she was so irresponsible with her money.
11. George Clinton

George Clinton has been called one of the most important innovators of funk music and was prevented from profiting from the songs he wrote between 1976 and 1983. This is because when he filed for bankruptcy in 1984, he didn’t disclose them as a source of possible future income. It’s estimated that he’s losing out on royalties in the ballpark of $100 million!
12. Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and cited long-term medical problems and mismanagement of his funds as the reason. Coleman stayed out of the limelight after his bankruptcy until a recent secret marriage followed by an appearance on TV’s Divorce Court.
13. Francis Ford Coppola

Responsible for directing the Godfather trilogy and winner of five Academy Awards before he was 40, Francis Ford Coppola was $300,000 in debt before the first Godfather movie came out. He then was able to rebound but began bankruptcy proceedings after his 1982 musical One From The Heart tanked. Luckily, he borrowed the money from his mother to get into the wine business and again turned his financial future around.
14. David Crosby
David Crosby, a member of the group Crosby, Stills & Nash, filed for bankruptcy in 1985 after his solo career cooled down. He is still recording music and his third solo album was released in 2006.
15. Walt Disney
Walt Disney’s name is synonymous with Mickey Mouse and the “happiest place on earth,” Disneyland. However, Disney’s career wasn’t always a moneymaking venture. In 1921, he began a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri but was forced to file for bankruptcy two years later because his financial backers pulled out. It must have been fate because Disney then headed to Hollywood and became one of the highest paid animators in history.
16. Jim Dooley
Jim Dooley played for the NFL’s Chicago Bears from 1952 until he retired in 1962 and switched to coaching. Dooley sat out of the 1973 NFL season and landed a job one week after filing for bankruptcy. At that point, he was nearly half a million dollars in debt but rebounded by taking a job as a sales manager and ended up back with the Bears in 1981 as an offensive consultant.
17. William C. Durant

William C. Durant founded General Motors, Chevrolet and Durant Motors. Durant Motors was established in 1921 but unfortunately failed in 1933 after the Great Depression. Durant filed for bankruptcy in 1936 being $914,231 in debt and lived out the rest of his life managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan.

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