Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Exclusive Obama Anthem from Eyes On Obama & The Real Right

By timran

We wanted to do something special to mark the last week of the campaign, and so we've recorded a song to help keep you pumped up as the election approaches. We hope you like it! If you do, please email it to your friends. The lyrics are posted below.

You may be wondering what is. Well, we've had so much fun covering the election season that we've decided to continue on after Obama is elected. We thought a new name was in order, and so we selected Our tagline is "Impartial and Unbiased" (tongue firmly planted in cheek). The site is now operational, but we're still working all the kinks out of it.

The short version is that if you're a member of, you're already a member of The Real Right. We'll be covering more than just political horse races though - the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, education, climate change - everything's fair game.

We hope we give you plenty of reasons to stick around after the election is over!

Brought to you by and


Back against the wall
But ain't got no reason to be scared at all
Hope is on the way
Tomorrow's gonna be a brighter day
So come stand with me
Go hand in hand make history
There ain't no turning back
Everyone say yes we can

Verse 1
I'm free to do just what you say
I'm free to let you have your way
There's so much freedom to endure
Oh what a price to feel secure
And in your world of black and white
Am i what's wrong and you're what's right?
Shades of grey are back again
Your reign of terror's at an end

Verse 2
A coalition of the meek
Been scared too long afraid to speak
We can't afford more of mcsame
And now we're desperate for some change
It's time to stand up for what's right
It's time to get in to the fight
Let's give 'em something real to fear
Cause we all know the fall is near

Young and old now
Come together
Sisters brothers
Come together
Black, white, latino
Come together
Let's stand united

Video from "Sign of Hope & Change"
Featuring sunrise footage of BlueMarvel.

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Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle Sign On for The Avengers

Marvel Entertainment has just announced that Robert Downey Jr and Don Cheadle have signed on for both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau will also executive produce The Avengers. As previously reported, Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard as Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes.

The announcement also comes with the first look at a plot synopsis tease: ” “In a movie event, The Avengers will bring together the super hero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest foe they’ve ever faced.” Who could that be? With Hulk on the listed team line-up, does that mean that the big green guy is out as a possibility?

Iron Man 2 hits theaters on May 7th 2010, and The Avengers hits theaters on July 15th 2011. Check out the full press release after the jump.


As part of his four picture deal with Marvel Studios, Robert Downey Jr. is appearing as Tony Stark in THE AVENGERS motion picture, as well as reprising his starring role as the larger-than-life leading character in IRON MAN 2. Jon Favreau will return to direct the sequel to the blockbuster IRON MAN, which to date has grossed over $578 million worldwide, as well as executive produce THE AVENGERS.

Academy Award® nominee Downey was most recently seen in the summer comedy blockbuster TROPIC THUNDER starring opposite Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Before Iron Man, he was best known for his film roles in KISS KISS BANG BANG, WONDER BOYS and CHAPLIN, the film for which he was nominated for an Oscar®

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7 Actors (and 2 Directors) Who Need to Retire

By Jenni Miller

Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Sean Connery's confirmed he's done with acting and it's not a moment too soon. (We'll always have "Suck it, Trebek!" on SNL reruns. Sadly, we'll also always have The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.) But, as the legendary Scottish star walks of into the sunset, we've recognized a handful of other actors, and two directors, who need to take a cue from Connery.

1. Harrison Ford
Harrison, you had a great run but we got exhausted watching you go through your Indy motions in Crystal Skull. You haven't made a decent drama since What Lies Beneath in 2000 but you did make a mockery of hacking in Firewall. You could go the route of Richard Gere and start making rom-coms for ladies of a certain age, but you at least need to retire the hat while you still have some dignity. For the sake of Han Solo, Jack Ryan, and that crazy, sweaty guy in The Mosquito Coast.

2. Eddie Murphy
In Delirious and Raw, you dropped enough F bombs to make Lenny Bruce rise from the dead. You also made 48 Hours, Trading Places, and Coming to America. But now you torture us with Daddy Daycare, Norbit, and Meet Dave. Step away from the sequels and come quietly to the land of retired comics. Joe Piscopo did it; why can't you? (Piscopo's still alive right? Eh, who cares.)

3. Mike Myers
Did you see The Cat in the Hat? Shrek The Third? The Love Guru? Hmm, neither did we... Now that we think about it, if you keep this streak alive, and continue to make movies we'll never see, that's just as good as being retired. Keep up the invisible work, Mike!

4. Rob Schneider
We know Adam Sandler's coattails are tempting. He's given you those bit parts in almost all of his movies, from Mr. Deeds to Big Daddy to Nobody Messes with the Zohan. He's given you ideas — bad ideas. Like writing, producing, and starring in the upcoming The Chosen One, which, for some reason, features a gay Buddhist monk. (Sure to rival the offensive Asian preacher you played in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.) Fade away into that good, non-Hollywood night, and we'll cherish the memories we have of you playing hackneyed, racist characters. You can do it!

Verne Troyer and Uwe Boll on the set of Postal
Verne Troyer and Uwe Boll on the set of Postal
Courtesy of Vivendi

5. Uwe Boll
It's not just that you can't stop making horrible movies, or that your source material is from old, crappy video games (Postal? Seriously? That was a game from 1997. It was 2D! It ran on Windows 95!) It's not that you have 6 projects in development, including another sequel to BloodRayne, and four in production. It's that you're so adamant your movies aren't shitty. Paul Verhoeven may still think Showgirls was misunderstood, but at least he has RoboCop and Total Recall to fall back on. Uwe, if that is your real name, the only good thing you've ever done is challenge Michael Bay to a boxing match on pay-per-view. We never thought the day would come, but you made us take sides with Michael Bay. For that you must leave us. Now!

Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck
Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck
Courtesy of Lionsgate

6. Dane Cook
Starring in "comedies" like Employee of the Month to Good Luck Chuck and My Best Friend's Girl (which you also produced) only go to show that your choice to star in Mr. Brooks, a moderately creepy thriller, was a fluke. But now that you've written a Disney full-length feature, Dad Knap, you must be stopped. What next? A trilogy about Myspace? Fire your agent, quit hanging around college campuses, and take your "edgy" comedy back to the dank bars from whence it came.

7. Tobin Bell
Didn't Jigsaw die? Can't you make him stay dead? Take your creepy puppy and be away with you!

8. Stephen Baldwin
The last good movie you made was The Usual Suspects in 1995. Although there's always a place in our hearts for terrible horror films like Shark in Venice, which includes sharks, the Mafia, and long-lost treasure, it is time to admit you're the least talented Baldwin. Hell, even the fat, crackhead Baldwin has better prospects than you.

9. Rob Cohen
Although the possibility of a Russ Meyer biopic sounds promising (appropriately called King of the Nudies), you can't stop churning out xXx and The Mummy sequels. Meanwhile, you're executive producing a John Carpenter movie that stars Nicolas Cage (both of whom almost made it on this list... sorry, John, you're our hero but They Live was 20 years ago). Just step away from the director's chair and return to your catacomb loaded with neon green street racers and cardboard cutouts of Vin Diesel.

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Movie planned on life of Prophet Mohammad

DUBAI (Reuters) - A movie drama about the life of the Prophet Mohammad is to go into production soon, and will be only the second English-language film of its kind ever made, its producers said on Monday.

"The Messenger of Peace" will be a remake of Moustapha Akkad's "The Message," a 1977 Hollywood classic starring Anthony Quinn which is often applauded by Muslims as an example of how commercial Western cinema can respect Islam.

"We have only the utmost respect for Akkad's work but technology in cinema has advanced since the 1970s and this latest project will employ modern film techniques in its renewal of the first film's core messages," producer Oscar Zoghbi, who worked on the original, said in a statement.

Akkad, the Syrian-born executive producer of Hollywood's "Halloween" horror films, was killed in a suicide bomb attack by al Qaeda on a luxury hotel in Jordan's capital Amman in 2005.

In the original "Message," the Prophet and his companions were heard speaking off-camera but never directly shown, in accordance with Muslim conventions forbidding their visual depiction.

Portrayals of Mohammad have triggered anger in recent years. Danish cartoons of him ignited protests, some deadly, by Muslims in many countries in 2006. The offices of a British publisher were attacked in September over a novel about the Prophet's child bride.

"In the 21st century there is a real need for a film that emotionally engages audiences on the journey that led to the birth of Islam," the statement quoted the film's scriptwriter Ramsey Thomas as saying.

A spokesman for the producers said in an email to Reuters that details of the funding and production of the planned film would be released "in due course."

The events of the Prophet's life took place mainly in Mecca and Medina, Islamic holy cities in modern Saudi Arabia.

(Writing by Andrew Hammond; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Studios Are Pushing Box Office Winners as Oscar Contenders


LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney is in. This week the studio will break new ground by starting a campaign that boldly offers its “Wall-E” as a contender for the best picture Oscar, an honor never yet won by an animated film.

Warner Brothers is in, too. That studio recently telegraphed plans for a multifront Oscar campaign for its Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight” by sending awards voters a query about their preferred format for promotional DVDs.

Not to be outdone, Paramount may join the party. Along with Marvel Enterprises, it is weighing an Oscar push for “Iron Man” and its lead actor, Robert Downey Jr., even while promoting Mr. Downey as best supporting actor for his role in the DreamWorks comedy hit “Tropic Thunder.”

Welcome to the pop Oscars.

After years of giving plenty of running room to independent film companies or studio art house divisions that set the pace with critic-friendly but limited-audience films like last year’s “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood,” this year the major studios are pushing some of their biggest crowd-pleasers into the thick of the awards race.

Their approaching multimillion-dollar campaigns come at a time when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose 6,000-plus members award the Oscars, is planning to give its annual show a more commercially popular flavor. In part the academy’s producers will do that by including glimpses of the year’s box office favorites, whether or not they are nominated for prizes.

The shift is coming about partly because companies in the last year have either folded specialty divisions like Warner Independent Films, which in 2006 had a best picture nominee in “Good Night, and Good Luck,” or downsized them, as Paramount did with Paramount Vantage, which in 2007 had a nominee in “Babel.”

Shrinkage in the small-film business has left more room for big studios to play the Oscar game. Awaiting awards pushes are films like Universal’s “Frost/Nixon,” directed by Ron Howard; Paramount’s “Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a David Fincher film starring Brad Pitt; and 20th Century Fox’s “Australia,” a Baz Luhrmann epic starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

(“Australia,” still unseen by critics, does not arrive until Nov. 26 but was screened in unfinished form for Oprah Winfrey, who is expected to feature it with star interviews on her show next week, kicking off the studio’s campaign.)

At the same time Hollywood’s blockbusters, rich in effects and increasingly complex in their themes, appear to have become more award-worthy of late.

“Wall-E,” from Disney’s Pixar unit, emerged as a darling of the critics for its adult sensibility, in addition to its heavily detailed computer animation. The film, the story of a lovesick robot, tackles a serious topic (environmentalism) while taking huge risks (for instance, a 45-minute stretch with nearly no dialogue).

As early as midsummer Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal’s film critic, was arguing that “Wall-E” should be considered for best picture. “The time to start the drumbeat is now,” he wrote in a July 12 essay, noting the extreme difficulty animated films, while hugely popular, have faced in vying for the most prestigious Oscar. Only one, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991, has ever been nominated for best picture.

“If we didn’t do it, I don’t think we’d be giving the movie its due,” Richard Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said of the decision to promote “Wall-E” for the top prize, even if that complicates the movie’s simultaneous bid for the more easily won award as best animated feature. One problem is a presumed tendency to split votes. Academy members can vote for a film in both the best picture and best animated feature categories. But they may not be inclined to do that or even know that the rules permit it.

In the past films more appealing than self-consciously artistic were routinely included in the Oscar mix. “Ghost,” the No. 1 movie at the box office in 1990, with $506 million in worldwide ticket sales, won five nominations, including one for best picture. “There was much less campaigning back then, and the academy tended to go more with what moved them emotionally, even if it was a big commercial hit,” said Lisa Weinstein, a producer of “Ghost.”

The last runaway hit to win a best picture Oscar was “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003. In the years since the prize has gone to “Million Dollar Baby,” “Crash,” “The Departed” and “No Country for Old Men” — the combined domestic box office sales for which fell short of the $377 million taken in by “The Return of the King.”

The drift away from audience-oriented contenders has precipitated a sharp drop in viewers for the annual Oscar show. Last year’s program, with Jon Stewart as host, was the least watched on record, with about 32 million viewers in the United States. The highest rating was 55.3 million in 1998, when the immensely popular “Titanic” won the big prize.

Ultimately, of course, the academy’s voting members will decide whether the year’s more popular and mainstream offerings make the cut. They will have plenty of artier options, including “Rachel Getting Married,” Jonathan Demme’s intricate look at a family coping with a drug-addicted daughter played by Anne Hathaway, and “Revolutionary Road,” a period romance directed by Sam Mendes and starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. “Slumdog Millionaire,” from the director Danny Boyle, and “Milk,” directed by Gus Van Sant with Sean Penn in the lead role, are also in the running — all with backing from studio specialty divisions.

Studio Oscar campaigners are largely reluctant to discuss their reasoning and strategies publicly for fear of overreaching with the academy’s finicky voters. However, several noted a belief that audiences — weary of economic crisis and political strife — are ready for a dose of fun from the entertainment industry.

“People like to vote for winners, and this year there are box office winners that also exhibit incredible craft,” said Amanda Lundberg, a partner at the New York publicity firm 42 West, an Oscar campaign powerhouse.

In that spirit, Disney will open its “Wall-E” campaign with something of a wink, by taking an advertisement that transforms the logo of a famous industry trade paper to read “Variet-E.” Warner’s campaign for “The Dark Knight” will get a boost from both a Dec. 9 DVD release and an expected rerelease, on both standard and Imax screens, as the awards season peaks in January.

If, as expected, “Iron Man” comes into the awards mix, that will be partly because Paramount recently moved a more conventional prospect, a drama called “The Soloist,” into next year and out of contention. That film, which stars Mr. Downey alongside Jamie Foxx, had promised to complicate the studio’s life at a time when it saw awards potential for the currently very hot Mr. Downey in three pictures at once.

Meanwhile, those who create the Oscar ceremony — to be shown on Feb. 22 on ABC — are determined this time around to connect with the people, and lots of them.

The academy has lifted a 50-year ban on commercials for coming movies during the Oscar telecast in the hope of creating more of a feeling of “event” television for movie fans by including more splashy ads. Organizers (and ABC’s advertising sales staff) are hoping to take a page from the Super Bowl, at which movie studios have often shown exclusive footage of big-budget summer movies to start generating fan interest.

And there will most certainly be superheroes and villains present on Oscar night, whether or not Mr. Downey receives a nomination for his role as Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” or Heath Ledger is nominated for his portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

“Not only should the Oscar show celebrate excellence in the movies of the year; we believe it should also celebrate the movies,” said Laurence Mark, the producer of the next ceremony, sounding what has become a theme for the year.

“We just need to figure out a way that is appropriate to do that.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 29, 2008
An article on Tuesday about efforts by major Hollywood studios to promote their movies for Academy Awards misstated the release date of “Australia,” a 20th Century Fox film. It is scheduled to be released in the United States on Nov. 26, not in December.

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Porn's Pied Piper: Deep Throat Director Dies

By Richard Corliss

Actress Linda Lovelace dressed as a nurse and adjusting her stockings in the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat.
Actress Linda Lovelace dressed as a nurse in the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat.

The movie had no-name stars — in fact, fake-name stars: Herb Streicher was going by Harry Reems, and Linda Boreman by Linda Lovelace. The writer-director, a Bronx hairdresser who'd never done a porno feature before, called himself Jerry Gerard. This was early 1972, and the people making hardcore sex movies considered themselves lucky to exhibit their wares legally, let alone have their real names on them. All "Gerard" had was a cute idea for a porno comedy, and a leading lady with a special talent. He also wanted to change the movie's title, from The Sword Swallower. The producer objected that no one would understand the new title. "Don't worry," the director replied. "Deep Throat will become a household word."

Every once in a while, an artist gets an inspiration that changes pop culture. Even if he's a slop artist, and the inspiration is a movie about a woman with a clitoris in her throat. Such a one was Gerard Rocco Damiano, aka Jerry Gerard, who died this weekend in Fort Myers, Fla., at 80, from complications after a stroke. With Deep Throat and his second film, Devil in Miss Jones, Damiano launched the 1970s movie craze of porno chic.

Deep Throat — whose $25,000 budget was covered by Louis "Butchie" Peraino, the son of a made man in New York City's Columbo mob family — went on to earn tens of millions of dollars. Maybe more: the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat puts the take at an extremely improbable $600 million. Anyway, it was quite a haul. One federal agent quoted a Peraino underling as saying of the Deep Throat take: "We've got so much money ... we don't even count it any more.... We weigh it."

As important as the profits were to the Mafia boys, and to FBI sleuths tracking their loot, Deep Throat did more. Long before home video, it took the recently legalized porn films out of the gutter and into the mainstream. It was the Citizen Kane of porn. Because of Deep Throat, the hardcore movie became a must-see item for the glamorati, a topic for serious debate in newspapers and magazines (including TIME; see the 1973 article "Wonder Woman") and a fun date for ordinary couples who'd never seen a sex movie.

For TV comics, Damiano's film was a grail: a Buttofuoco- or Lewinsky-like solid laugh line. "This is kinda strange country, isn't it?" asked Johnny Carson at the time when the movie was challenging Watergate as the topic du jour. "Judges can see Deep Throat but they can't listen to those [Nixon] tapes." Bob Hope said, "I went to see Deep Throat cause I'm fond of animal pictures. I thought it was about giraffes." When Bob Hope makes a joke about your porno movie, you've arrived.

What was all the fuss about? An hour-long raunch fest that was part slapstick comedy, part carnal carnival: it's a burlesque routine (Reems as a doctor, wisecracking like Groucho Marx) wrapped around a sideshow freak stunt (Lovelace's bedroom trick of controlling her gag reflex so she could perform glottal fellatio — a glo-job). "You had to be there," he said in Inside Deep Throat. "I'm thrilled that I was there. And I thank God I had a camera." Damiano gave this movie the tone of a mildly bright comedy, with an underscoring full of broadly ironic pop music, including a version of Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange" with naughtier lyrics. The movie, for which Lovelace was paid $1,200, and Reems $250, made both of them famous/notorious. Reems was found guilty of obscenity by a Memphis jury; the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Lovelace, who died at age 53 in 2002 after a car crash, later claimed she performed under duress, telling a 1986 Congressional committee that "virtually every time someone watches that movie, they're watching me being raped." (These claims were widely disputed.) But Damiano did his best to make his leading lady look good. He gave her an alliterative, movie-star name and devised costumes, lighting tricks and cagey camera angles to hide her abdominal scar, a memento from an earlier car wreck. Linda was no goddess, but neither was she your standard porno skank; she was slim and freckled, and her inexperience on screen played like freshness, innocence. Moreover, the movie itself had such an easygoing good nature that audiences could enjoy it without feeling dirty — more startled and amused.

The Deep Throat millions never got to Damiano — how does a director put muscle on the Mafia? — but it did allow him to pursue his dream of being a respected film auteur, though still in hardcore. Most directors with a left-field mega-hit would instantly crank out another picture in the same genre. Not Damiano. He used his cash, and cachet, from his silly porno comedy to make a super-serioso drama: Devil in Miss Jones. And this time under his own name. Reading the script, Reems told his friend: "Gerry, it's a steal. This is No Exit in its thinnest disguise." To which Damiano replied: "Well, what do you expect? I wrote it in a weekend."

Georgina Spelvin (again, not her real name) plays Justine Jones, a lonely woman who slits her wrists in a bathtub. After dying a virgin, she tells a gatekeeper to eternity that she wants to live out her sexual urges, to be "filled, engulfed, consumed by lust." She briefly gets that wish — which includes intimate contact with bananas and grapes, a snake and (Damiano's favorite marital aid) a water tube. With plenty of boy/girl, girl/girl and orgy "action," Devil still takes itself solemnly enough to risk being laughable. But heaven knows it's intense, and an honorable attempt to blur the line between porn and "real" films. As for Spelvin, she isn't a slut; she is a theater-trained actress giving her all for her art.

Damiano said that after the success of Deep Throat, "If people wanted to interview me because I was a porno filmmaker, I just was not interested in talking to them." There had been gifted directors — Radley Metzger, Russ Meyer — making softcore in the '60s, but Damiano had higher ambitions. He wanted to be Ingmar F---in' Bergman.

He made a couple more ambitious porn films: the psychodrama ghost story Memories Within Miss Aggie (1974) and the dreamy, Marienbadesque The Story of Joanna (1975). But by then, porno was an industry, and it relied less on artistic pretension than on grinding out product. In the next 20 years, Damiano put his name on another three dozen or so hardcore movies, none of which made much of an impact. Like silent-film director D.W. Griffith in the talkie era, Damiano was a pioneer whom new trends left behind. According to the local News-Press, he "lived out his final years in Fort Myers quietly, enjoying theater, attending art openings, appearing at charitable events and reveling, especially, in the accomplishments of his two children....artist and filmmaker Gerard Jr., and performer, Christar, with whom he shared a vintage home."

This maker of indecent films was, by all accounts, a decent man. "He was...always very charming and dapper and suave," writes News-Press columnist Stephanie Davis, "always there with a kiss and a 'Hello, Gorgeous.'" In a 2005 interview, Damiano described himself as "just a nice guy, which is why I think I did pretty well. I mean, I'd meet an actress and have to say, 'Sit down, take your clothes off — I'm going to ask you to do some nasty things.' You have to be pretty nice." On his 80th birthday, adult-film stars flew in from around the country to surprise their old friend.

Sometimes it takes a smart softie to make a hardcore phenomenon.

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EXCLUSIVE: Sean Connery Confirms Retirement Status

Published by Larry Carroll

For movie fans, few things are as much fun as simply saying the name of a veteran actor and pondering all the great films they’ve given us. With that in mind, I’ll quite simply drop a name: Sean Connery.

Recently, MTV News had an extremely rare meeting with the 78-year-old actor, who hasn’t made a proper film in nearly six years and by most accounts has permanently retreated to his home in the Bahamas (ironically enough, near where Daniel Craig filmed “Casino Royale”). During an A.F.I. tribute to such all-time classic films as “The Apartment” and “American Beauty,” Connery was in attendance to present his 1975 classic “The Man Who Would Be King.”

Needless to say, it was an absolute thrill to simply share a few words with the man who gave us “The Untouchables,” “Highlander,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and all those great Bond films. But a question about “King” had Connery insisting that he doesn’t consider any of those performances to be his greatest.

“I don’t think in that way,” he explained in his famous Scottish brogue. “In any of any of the movies, you know?”

After he said no thanks (some would say wisely) to “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and had a kidney tumor removed a few years back, rumors of declining health were inevitable. But seeing Connery in person, he still seemed to be healthy and energetic enough to step in front of the camera again someday.

Unfortunately, when I asked the movie legend about his current status, he shut the door on acting once and for all. “Am I retired?” he repeated. “Oh yes.”

What will you miss most about Sean Connery’s acting? In your opinion, what is his best film?

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