Thursday, October 7, 2010

“MOVIE REVIEW: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel brighten ‘Life As We Know It’ - New Haven Register” plus 2 more

“MOVIE REVIEW: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel brighten ‘Life As We Know It’ - New Haven Register” plus 2 more


MOVIE REVIEW: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel brighten ‘Life As We Know It’ - New Haven Register

Posted: 06 Oct 2010 03:22 PM PDT

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Zack Snyder at Helm of New Superman Movie - ABC News

Posted: 04 Oct 2010 04:08 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Zack Snyder has been chosen to direct the new Superman movie, which Christopher Nolan is producing for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

Snyder had been on the list of filmmakers ensconced in meetings with Nolan and Warners executives, who in recent weeks have talked to Darren Aronofsky, Ben Affleck, Matt Reeves and Tony Scott.

The job was so coveted that even Robert Zemeckis, retired to the world of performance-capture animation, considered returning to live-action filmmaking in order to nab the gig.

The Superman movie is one of the studio's top priorities, not only because it serves as the linchpin for its line of films based on DC Comics superheros, but because Warners needs to be in production on a new Superman movie by 2011 or risk losing certain copyrights to the heirs of creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel. (That litigation is still pending.)

Nolan, who revived Batman for the big screen with 2005's "Batman Begins" and the 2008 hit "The Dark Knight," teamed up with David Goyer for a new a way to revive the last son of Krypton. Despite grossing $200 million domestically, the last movie about the Man of Steel, 2006's "Superman Returns," was considered a disappointment, and a hoped-for franchise launch never flew off.

Part of the problem stems from Superman's origins: The character for decades was a beacon of positive qualities, and his stories usually were painted in black-and-white. So from the point of view of a certain audience segment, Superman isn't hip enough for a time that prefers its heroes more morally ambiguous.

Goyer is writing the script, which is rumored to have, like "Superman Returns," a connection to Richard Donner's Superman films of 30-odd years ago. In this movie's case, it's a villain connection: General Zod, who was played by Terence Stamp in "Superman" (1978) and "Superman II" (1980).

Snyder has become one of Warner Bros.' favorite filmmakers since he directed the surprise smash "300," the adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book. He followed that with "Watchmen," the adaptation of the seminal Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons miniseries, and is now putting the final touches on his original work "Suckerpunch," which is slated to open March 25.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Facebook founder's tale "Social Network" a film of now - San Jose Mercury News

Posted: 06 Oct 2010 03:15 PM PDT

Living in Silicon Valley, one is surrounded by tech heads. Watching the previews for "The Social Network," I couldn't help rolling my eyes. Great, a movie about a computer engineer who is a gifted programmer but alienates everyone close to him. Oh, and not just any programmer, but Mark Zuckerberg, who created the nigh-ubiquitous Facebook and is a renowned jerk. The previews did not exactly make the film look appealing to me, but I decided to go anyway. Early reviews were lauding it as the film of the decade, and I was highly skeptical either I'd like it or I'd have the satisfaction of being right.

In the end, it was more of a mixed bag. I am still skeptical when it comes to the idea of "The Social Network" being the film of the decade. Certainly it's very topical, but it suffers from the same problem a lot of Aaron Sorkin's writing since "The West Wing" does: it's not as clever as it thinks it is. It's also about as subtle as a two-by-four to the forehead. It does, however, have the appeal of any great tragedy: watching someone with great talent and a serious flaw progress due to the talent and get taken down due to their flaw. Tragedy is engaging, and "The Social Network" is no exception.

The basic plot is based on public record: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) got dumped by his girlfriend, went back to his dorm room, got drunk, and in a fit of spurned-boyfriend misogyny coded up a little site called Facemash. It let visitors rank photos of girls from

the various Harvard dorms (whose digital face books Zuckerberg hacked into with ease) according to their hotness, and got so many hits that it crashed the network.

Eisenberg is spot-on for the part, capturing the rapid-fire speech, flattened affect, and intensity the part requires. He makes Zuckerberg a fascinating character while simultaneously making it obvious why, by the end of the film, nobody genuinely likes him. Sure, people are drawn to his fame and fortune, but even the young associate lawyer on one of his cases who is kind to him looks at him with pity rather than friendship.

Zuckerberg managed to evade expulsion for the Facemash stunt, but his actions got him noticed. He was approached by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer in a dual role) to work on a Harvard-only social networking site, and in the following weeks he and his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) created the site we now know as Facebook.

Zuckerberg's complete lack of tact or people skills is obvious from the beginning, and will be familiar to anybody who works in tech or in any other field that rewards single-minded determination over interpersonal finesse. Ultimately, though he ends up the youngest billionaire on the planet, he manages to alienate pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. The one exception is Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, in a bit of inspired casting). Parker is the entrepreneurial bad boy behind Napster, and he charms Zuckerberg completely before essentially ruining himself and having to be excluded for the sake of the Facebook company.

"The Social Network" alternates between the early-days origin story of Facebook and footage of depositions for the two simultaneous lawsuits Zuckerberg wound up facing: the Winklevoss twins sued him for intellectual property theft and his former best friend, Saverin, sued him over the completely artless way Zuckerberg drove him out of Facebook.

This film is definitely a film of now, and it is in many ways a fascinating spectacle to watch, but for folks who deal with people like Zuckerberg every day, it may, like its protagonist, be more abrasive than enjoyable.

* * *

Ealasaid A. Haas is a local film buff and freelance writer. Contact her at reviewer@ealasaid.com, or check out her Web site: www.ealasaid.com.

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