August 31, 2008

Coming Attractions

My favorite season of the year is approaching. Oscar season! And, while there's still a handful of films I wish to see before the end of summer (Tropic Thunder, House Bunny, and Vicky Christina Barcelona), it doesn't even compare to the gaggle of films I'm looking forward to in the next few months! So, with some help from Entertainment Weekly and, I'm going to breeze over the films I think are worthy of buzz.

What could be better than a Brad Pitt/George Clooney reunion? (Well, a Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet reunion. But I'll get to that later.) On September 12th, Brad & George are together again on the big screen in Burn After Reading, a dark spy-comedy from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

It sounds like the film has an interesting plot - an ousted CIA official's memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find - and will definitely be worth the watch.

Another anticipated on-screen reunion will take place in Righteous Kill, where acting veterans Robert De Niro & Al Pacino play a pair of New York City police detectives on the trail of a vigilante serial killer.

While the September 12th box-office will likely belong to CIA agents and veteran cops, The Women will probably bring Sex and the City fans back to the theater with its A-list female-filled cast!

The chick-flick stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Candice Bergen, Bette Midler, et cetera.

On September 19th, Dakota Fanning's Hounddog will open in limited release. The film, about a sexually assaulted 12-year-old girl who finds a safe haven in the music and movement of Elvis Presley, has been a cause for controversy since it began production. But any movie starring miss Fanning is a must see! And if you want a laugh, look no farther than Igor, the animated story of one Igor who's sick of being a lowly lab assistant and dreams of becoming a scientist.

Oh, and the film feature's Sean Hayes as the voice of the Brain! That's enough to get me to the theater!

On September 26th, there's a good chance I'm going to see Eagle Eye, because I can't get enough of Shia LaBeouf (Hey, I think I just came up with a new slogan)!

It's described as a fast-paced race-against-time-thriller, and was executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Need I say more?

Body of Lies, the film starring DiCaprio & Crowe (as the theatrical trailer refers to them, only by last name), comes out on October 10th, and is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel about a CIA operative who uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader.

On October 17th, another one of Dakota Fanning's new films, The Secret Life of Bees, hits theaters and co-stars Jennifer Hudson (and Paul Bettany!). And, a film I am extremely curious about, W. (based on the life of George W. Bush) also debuts on the 17th.

Of course, every young and young-at-heart person on the planet won't be able to stay away from High School Musical 3: Senior Year on October 24th!

But, if you're looking for something with a little more depth, go see Changeling, the movie that may help Angelina Jolie win another Oscar. In the film, a mothers prayers are met when her kidnapped son is returned. But amidst the frenzy of the photo-op reunion, she realizes this child is not hers. Facing corrupt police and a skeptical public, she desperately hunts for answers, only to be confronted by a truth that will change her forever.

Paris Hilton's new movie/musical Repo! The Genetic Opera is due out on November 7th, and looks creepy yet cool. I'd give it a go if you're up for something new.

Baz Luhrmann's epic film Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, comes out on November 14th. I think it was Vogue magazine who did a spread on this film, featuring photos taken by Annie Lebovits, and it looks stunning! Soul Men, another movie featuring Sean Hayes and starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac, is also out on the 14th.

November 21st, the day that was supposed to be all about Harry Potter, is now all about Twilight, the love story between a vampire and a human based on the book by Stephenie Meyer.

But HP fans won't be entirely let down because Robert Pattinson (a.k.a Cedric Diggory) stars in the film!

On November 26th, Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk in Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant's Milk. This non-documentary feature explores the life of Mr. Milk, an activist and politician and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America. He was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco, and the following year was shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White.

On Christmas day, theatergoers will receive a gift... another Brad Pitt movie! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the classic 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. But Brad isn't the only Pitt in this film. Keep your eyes open for Shiloh, who will make her big screen debut along side her daddy!

Marley & Me also opens on December 25th. Baed on the book by John Grogan, Marley & Me is a heartwarming story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.

Tom Cruise's long-awaited historical thriller film, Valkyrie, opens on December 26th. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film is based on the 1944 assassination attempt against Hitler.

And now, for the grand finale of 2008, the moment Titanic fans have all been waiting for: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet star in Revolutionary Road, which also hits theaters on the 26th! (I'll add the poster when I get it.)

Based on the celebrated novel by Richard Yates, director Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road is the story of a young couple trying to find fulfillment in an age of conformity. Trapped in a world of encoded convention, they dream without faith, as lies and self-deceptions build to explosive consequences. But frankly, I don't care what it's about, I'll be running to the theater to see Leo and Kate's much hyped on-screen reunion!

August 30, 2008

6 things the Palin pick says about McCain

I just found this brilliant article on Yahoo! News (by Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, with contributions from Mike Allen) about what picking Sarah Palin as a running mate says about John McCain's decision-making. I'm posting the best excerpts below, but if you'd like to read the whole thing click HERE.

The selection of a running mate is among the most consequential, most defining decisions a presidential nominee can make. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says a lot about his decision-making — and some of it is downright breathtaking.

We knew McCain is a politician who relishes improvisation, and likes to go with his gut. But it is remarkable that someone who has repeatedly emphasized experience in this campaign named an inexperienced governor he barely knew to be his No. 2. Whatever you think of the pick, here are six things it tells us about McCain:

1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states like Indiana and Montana the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.

2. He’s willing to gamble — bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football. McCain talks incessantly about experience, and then goes and selects a woman he hardly knows, who hardly knows foreign policy and who can hardly be seen as instantly ready for the presidency.

3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama, and 28 years young than he is.

4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of the age issue. He thinks he’s in fine fettle, and Palin wouldn’t be performing the only constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he was really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.

5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend.

6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick, or an erratic egotist. In either event, he marches to his own beat.

On the upside, his team did manage to play to the media’s love of drama, fanning speculation about his possible choices and maximizing coverage of the decision.

On the potential downside, the drama was evidently entirely genuine. The fact that McCain only spoke with Palin about the vice presidency for the first time on Sunday, and that he was seriously considering Lieberman until days ago, suggests just how hectic and improvisational his process was.

August 29, 2008

Sarah Who?

Sen. John McCain his made his VP pick. Sarah Palin. And his decision (his first BIG decision on the road to the White House) has left Americans asking, "Sarah who?"

She looks nice enough. (The 44-year-old is a former beauty queen. She competed in the Miss Alaska contest in 1984.) She sounds nice enough. (As a mother of 5, she has served on the PTA.) But, does she have the quality that has been the McCain campaigns driving force over the last couple of months? Experience?

She began her career as a two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a small town of 6,500. From there she became governor, and has been for just 20 months.

So, let me get this straight? Barack Obama has served in his statehouse for eight years, and his country (on a national level) for nearly 4 years, but does not have the experience necessary to be President? Yet Americans are expected to believe that Sarah Palin, who has served in her statehouse for 20 months, and never on a national level, does have the experience necessary to be President?

Out of all the other qualified Republicans, John McCain thinks Sarah Palin is the next-best person to lead this country during such hard times. He wants her one-heartbeat-away from the oval office. And, get this, he had only met her one time before making this decision. What does that say about his judgement?

August 28, 2008

The DNC's Big Finale

This is the night! The world will be watching as Sen. Barack Obama accepts his history making presidential nomination in front of 80,000 supporters at Invesco Field (Denver's Mile High stadium). I'm so excited!

His acceptance comes on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and, I think it's clear that MLK's dream has come true.

Update: From taxes and the economy, to global warming and foreign policy, there's nothing Barack Obama didn't touch on as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in front of 84,000 people.

His speech, from a political point of view, was perfect. My favorite part was when he talked about the "lack of experience" the Republicans think that he has, and said that it's not about him, it's about [the people]! And that is why we the people want Barack Obama in the White House. Because he speaks for us, he listens to us, he is us! This election is about us, the campaign for change is about us, and Barack Obama is the only one who can help us take back the country!

What a night! What a show! I could not have been more overwhelmed.

Brad & George Sizzle in Venice

One of Hollywood's most dynamic duo's, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, helped kick off the 65th Venice film festival with a screening of their new film, Burn After Reading. They were joined by the film's directors, the Coen brothers.

August 27, 2008

DNC Day 3

WOW! The third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention was insane! Bill Clinton delivered an awesome speech, as usual. My man John Kerry pointed out the differences between "John McCain the Senator" and "John McCain the candidate," and suggested that John settle the debate with himself before debating Barack. Haha. And future VP Joe Biden (and family) made a touching, official entrance into the historic campaign for change.

But that's not all. A special surprise guest made an appearance at the end of the night... Barack Obama himself!

Barack's unexpected visit reduced yours truly to tears. The realization that this is actually happening, that tomorrow night Barack will accept the nomination for President of the United States, is just mind-blowing. It's life changing! Democrats like me (Yes, I'm going to take some credit for this!) are writing the pages of history that, 45 years ago tomorrow, Dr. King only dreamed would happen. WOW!

What Else Is Going On?

Right now, all eye's are on the Democratic National Convention (and next week, the Republicans will take center stage), but what else is going on in the world today?

Well, Brad Pitt's heating up Venice. He's promoting his new film Burn After Reading at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, and lookin' hot as always!

Kara DioGuardi joined the American Idol judges for her first day of work at Chelsea Piers on Tuesday.

And, Daniel Radcliffe is familiarizing himself with New York City in preparation for his run in Broadway's Equus (which begins previews on Sept. 5th).

Watch the very cute video below (of Daniel on The Conan O'Brien Show Monday) and find out what he thinks about NYC and the USA:

August 26, 2008

No Way, No How, No McCain

I was very impressed by Hillary Clinton at the DNC Tuesday, and very thankful for her speech. She called upon the millions of voters who supported her in the primaries and asked them to help send Barack Obama to the White House. She called herself a "proud supporter of Barack Obama," and stressed the argument that John McCain would offer more of the same types of policies of the Bush administration.

Overall, it was a really positive, passionate speech, and I know its got a lot of people excited. I for one can't wait to see if her call for unity pays off.

Democrats, come together!

: Watch the awesome video tribute the DNC played for Hillary Tuesday:

And, visit DemocraticMedia to watch her entire speech.

Eva Jumps Ship

Alert the press! Finally, a Hillary Clinton supporter has joined the Obamanation! Yes, Eva Longoria-Parker (a big-time Clinton supporter) is getting ready to Barack the vote.

Eva was at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, and was photographed wearing an OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT pin (and a HILLARY SUPPORTER FOR OBAMA pin, not pictured):

You go girl!

Madge Slams McCain

Madonna has sparked another controversy by including Republican presidential hopeful John McCain in a video montage shown on her new tour that includes Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe.

The montage is shown as Madonna performs the song "Get Stupid" on her "Sticky & Sweet" tour. Images of McCain, Hitler and Mugabe appear among shots depicting destruction and global warming until the song ends, when images of John Lennon, Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama are shown.

Source: Us Magazine

Now, while I personally wouldn't compare John McCain to Adolf Hitler or Robert Mugabe and understand why the McCain camp would call the comparisons "outrageous," I think it's a little bit funny that the GOP Sen. can't accept a strategy he used only weeks ago. What's the difference in comparing Barack Obama to celebrities considered "useless" by some if you're trying to suggest he is one in the same, and comparing John McCain to dictators if you're trying to suggest that he may be one in the same? It may not be truthful, on both charges, but it's strategy.

Come on now! Madonna wouldn't be Madonna if she didn't "express" herself. And, I bet the 40,000 people at her tour opener enjoyed the political jab.

The Most Beautiful Wedding

I just have to say, I have decided (and all of my decisions are very important, of course) that Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi's August 16th wedding was the most beautiful I've ever seen. Or, at least ever seen pictures of.

The happy couple's custom-made Zac Posen designs were gorgeous! The subtle details that tied the two together, the light pink's and the cream ribbons, were just brilliant!

Their Sweet Lady Jane vegan red-velvet cake was classic and elegant, yet vibrant with color. The crimson and mauve taupe flowers added to the dark, passionate vibe of the surroundings.

Speaking of surroundings, I love that they married at home, because it's where their hearts are. And for the reception they had a sit-down dinner along a long table filled with floral centerpieces of Ecuadorian roses and café au lait dahlias, and enjoyed an acoustic performance by one of Portia's favorite singers.

Also, the fact that it was a small wedding (the two exchanged personal vows in front of 19 of their closest friends and relatives) made it all that more comfortable and intimate for the brides and their guests.

But what I found most beautiful was the fact that these two were already planning on spending the rest of their lives together. And you can see so much love, not just on their faces but in every detail of their wedding, because they are finally allowed to make those plans "official." To me, their wedding truly represents what marriage is about.

Congratulations Ellen & Portia!

August 25, 2008

The DNC Opens

Today, Democratic National Party Chairman Howard Dean used a gavel to call the 2008 Democratic National Convention to order at the start of the first session in Denver, Colorado.

Future first lady Michelle Obama will headline tonight's event!

Update: John Legend performed. Sen. Ted Kennedy took the stage (after doctors were said to be worried about exposure to crowds because of the frailty of his immune system. But not even brain cancer was going to keep him away from the convention). And, Michelle Obama gave an incredible speech.

For those who had never heard Michelle speak before the convention, I'm sure they were thoroughly impressed. She's such a class act! As for me, I enjoyed the Obama family video correspondence via satellite. How cute was that?!

PS: You can find HQ videos of all DNC speeches on YouTube's DemocraticMedia channel.

Oh No They Didn't

American Idol has done it again, completely ignoring the pleas of the many fans who watch the show and instead pulling the kind of stunt expected of May sweeps. Yes, as if taking a cue from Desperate Housewives, AI has added to its cast. There will now be a 4th judge, Songwriter and producer Kara DioGuardi, and the fans are NOT happy about it (I being one of them).

Why mess with Simon, Paula and Randy? Why?! Hasn't 19 Entertainment ever heard the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

Apparently, whoever has taken over for Nigel Lythgoe thinks that the show needs more bickering at the judges table, and less time on the contestants. Oh, and we can probably expect more auditions and less actual competition too.

This sucks!

Another *Nsyncer To Hit The Dance Floor

The new cast of the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars was announced today, and Lance Bass is among the contestants! He'll be dancing with (new dancer) Lacey Schwimmer, from So You Think You Can Dance.

On one hand, I'm so excited to see Lance on television 2 nights a week. On the other, I'm annoyed that I have to start watching that crummy show again.

Well, at least Lance can get tips from Joey Fatone!

August 24, 2008

The New World Champions!

In the U S of A's early hours of the morning, 2:30 a.m. ET to be exact, the United States Men's basketball team took on Spain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal game. And yes, they won, 118-107!!!

Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 27 points, Dwight Howard was awesome under the hoop, and Kobe Bryant's late-game heroics (and 20 points) pushed Team USA to victory.

Now Kobe, a three-time NBA champion and this years league MVP, can add a gold medal to his basketball collection (and to his presents, as yesterday was his 30th Birthday. Happy belated KB!).

Here are my favorite photos (all of Kobe, of course):

August 23, 2008

Chaos on the set of Transformers 2

I freaked out when I saw these pictures of Shia LaBeouf on the set of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Friday:

What on earth happens to Sam Witwicky!? I don't think I can wait until June 26th, 2009 to find out!

I like these x17 shots of Shia and Megan Fox on set last Thursday much better: