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“Morning Glory”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, here it is. The review I’ve been dreading for almost a year now. I wish I could say the outcome was better, but sadly it looks like the studio suits have gotten their way once again. I’m sorry. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me take you back to the first week of last December, when I got to see a test screening for Morning Glory. I didn’t really know that much about the film, as is the case with most test screenings. But, I do like Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford, so I was sort of looking forward to it. One of the first big shocks for me was the fact that J.J. Abrams was a producer on the film. It didn’t exactly seem like the type of project with which he’d be involved. I mean, it’s not like the movie was about a smoke monster, or a giant Godzilla creature terrorizing a city, but I’ve got to tell you it did give me a new respect for the man. However, it was quickly subtracted when the lesser version of Morning Glory was released into theatres, so I guess that puts us back where we started. I do love that he wants to put these kinds of movies out there, so he does get an A for effort. And, when I say “these kinds of movies,” I’m not trying to be vague; it’s just that Morning Glory doesn’t easily fit into a category. You might want to say romantic comedy, but it’s not a romantic comedy. You could just say comedy, but then it doesn’t feel like enough, because the drama gets left out. Also, you say comedy these days and you instantly think dick and fart jokes. Morning Glory is more of an old school comedy. Its story and characters exist in such a way they live and breathe in a way that most movies these days can’t seem to pull off. Now, as you read this, please keep in mind that I’m talking about the movie I saw in December of last year. Not the movie that is currently in theatres, although they are still technically the same movie.

In Morning Glory, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is a young up and coming producer on a local morning program in New Jersey, of course that is until she gets laid-off. Becky finds herself desperate to find a new job, and when a network offers her the chance to be the new executive producer on one of their failing morning programs, she quickly jumps at it. And, when the show needs a new co-host, but doesn’t have the budget to hire new talent, Becky recruits an ex-news anchor, Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to fill the spot. The movie definitely reminds you of Broadcast News and Network, but it reminded me more of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It just really gives you that honest and realistic look into the making of a daytime television program. I worked on one of these shows for almost seven years, and when a movie or TV show gets it right, I can’t help but get really attached to the sentiment of the subject matter, which is what I think clearly happened with Morning Glory when I first saw it. I enjoyed it so much the first time I saw it, that when later that month there was another test screening, I just had to take my wife this time to see it. There were a few minor changes, but it was basically the same movie, and she loved it. The movie just had this rhythm and flow to it that made you feel good. For weeks I was telling everyone I could how great this movie was, and that they had to go see it when it came out. This is where things start to take a turn. A few months later, I hear about another test screening for Morning Glory, and of course I want to see it again. I loved the movie so much the last two times that I couldn’t wait to see it again. Sadly, this third viewing would not be the same movie I once saw. The rhythm of the movie was completely off. They took things out to speed it up, and they added things to over Hollywood-ize it. One of the biggest changes, was a scene with Becky and her mother after she looses the New Jersey job. It’s just a crappy Hollywood type scene where the mother tells Becky that she’ll never get to work on a show like the Today Show. And guess what that sets up?! Sure, that payoff was in the first cut of the movie, but we didn’t see it as an unrealistic Hollywood moment until you threw in this scene with her mother beating us over the head with it. Another scene that got completely screwed up, is the scene where Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) tells Becky that the network is going to cancel Daybreak. In the first version I saw, Barnes tell Becky that he hired her because the network wanted the show to do so bad that they could cancel it, and that he was actually hoping that she’d be able to prove them all wrong. He’s even almost seems to be sorry that he put her in that position. But, in the third cut he blames her for being a failure. It just cuts the heart out of the movie and there really is no reason for it. Well, none that I can see. To be fair, the final cut of the movie hints to Barnes’ original intent, but I doubt movie goers will pick up on it. There’s also a classic comedic three punch joke that gets messed up in the final cut. When Becky is interviewing for the position on Daybreak with Barnes, he asks her if she’s going to sing. Then in a scene that was cut, Lenny the associate producer (John Pankow) is showing her the control room and, when Becky starts to give him a pep-talk he too asks if she’s going to sing. This of course leads to the third punch later in the film, which is still in the movie, where Becky cuts off Lenny and says she’s not going to sing. I know it’s not really a big deal. But, why loose the middle of that joke? Just because you can edit it out? The biggest problem here is that they edit the crap out of a perfectly good movie, and it shows. Even if I wasn’t telling you about all these changes, you would still be able to see and feel all the edits throughout this movie. I really did love this movie, and if there ever is a director’s cut version of this movie released, I would gladly buy it in a heartbeat. Sadly, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I’m not saying that the theatrical release is a bad movie. It’s good, but it was great! Now it’s just “fluffy.” Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to take my word on that.

Director’s Cut Rating:


(which you’ll never see)

Theatrical Cut Rating:


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Weezer released the cover of their new album “Hurley,” and who better to grace the cover, than our good friend Jorge Garcia! The album doesn’t feature any references to the show LOST, but Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo feels the title “Hurley” is best able to capture the whole aesthetic feel behind the album. The album is slated for a September 14th release, so order yours today!

Also, Spinner.com was first to reveal the new cover today, and are having a contest to design your own version of the new “Hurley” cover. Head over to their site for the details, but hurry the contest ends on Friday, August 13th!

“Predators”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Where do I begin? When I first heard that Robert Rodriguez was producing the new Predators movie, I thought we might finally get a good Predator sequel, but sadly the wait is hardly over. Did you ever wonder what it would be like if the kick-ass 80’s movie Predator, was turned into a LOST spin-off? Well, wonder no more, and suffer through Predators. The movie really misses its mark. The idea seemed solid enough, but the execution definitely left a lot to be desired. There were a few nice moments, but nothing that I would say worked as a whole.

In Predators, a group of people find themselves stranded on a strange alien planet after being abducted, and airdropped in while still unconscious. They quickly discover that they are the prey in a Predator game reserve, and when I say quickly, I mean they seem to figure it out quiet easily, and at the same time take the news rather well. I guess this sort of thing happens all the time. Just the other day this guy I know disappeared, he must have been abducted and brought to a game reserve. Oh well, these things happen. I just hope he’s taking it well, or that he dies quickly, because he was a good guy and deserves at least that. Here’s the thing about making a Predator sequel… You can’t. Okay, maybe you can. But honestly, the reason Predator was an amazing movie is because no one ever saw it coming. People went in expecting a regular Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, and what they got was an amazing thriller with an unexpected pace, and a pinch of sci-fi. It’s the seeing the unexpected that made that first movie a classic. The sequels keep trying to do the same, but they use the same tricks, and we sadly see them coming.

The other thing that really bothered me was that it was called Predators, but we almost never got to see them, which sucks. Mainly because good friend of the Stash, Derek Mears, played the classic Predator in the movie, and he unfortunately doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. The really sad thing is that there was the potential to do something new in Predators, using Derek’s character, but they of course missed it. At one point in the movie the humans free an imprisoned Predator (Mears), and the opportunity for a human/Predator team-up emerges, but it’s over seconds before it even began. The other thing that would have been a good idea is the inclusion of other abducted life forms, which they do have; but we only see one, and it’s not truly used to the movie’s full potential. It would have been cool to have other abducted life forms have to work with the humans to survive. I really shouldn’t have to come up with these ideas after the fact. With Robert Rodriguez involved they should have already been known. I just hope one day we’ll actually get a Predator sequel that’s worthy of the title. I’m also quiet proud that I went the entire review without mentioning that the director’s name is Nimród… Oh, wait does that count?

Rating:

 

“Saw VI”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not Halloween, it’s time for another installment of the Saw series. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Darby, do we really need six of these movies? And the answer… These are not really movies. Okay, I know I can’t see you reading this, but I’m willing to bet most of you have a puzzled look on your face right now. Let me explain. The Saw movies are more like a TV show. Instead of getting twenty – four one hour episodes over the course of a year, you get one two hour movie every year around Halloween. Believe me, I wish that were the case for a few TV series out there. Now, the first Saw movie was fantastic! And, Saw II… Well, that one was a train wreck. But luckily Saw III was able to save the series, and it also started the ongoing storyline that is now the Saw franchise. The only problem with that is, if you haven’t seen the previous installments, you may be a little lost on who’s who. In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I personally know the writers that took over the series from Saw IV to Saw VI. So, with that being said, I will not be pulling any punches; but this was my favorite of their three installments. I think the most impressive thing about their writing, is their ability to write movies for a main character that died three movies ago. Sorry if I ruined it for you, but come on it’s the sixth movie! It’s been six years, why haven’t you watched these movies yet? Getting back to comparing Saw to a TV series, I think the best comparison would be LOST. Much like LOST, the storyline is always being moved forward by telling you about things from the past you didn’t know before. That style of story telling definitely sets the Saw series apart from the other slasher flicks out there. Also, they  have stepped up the gore over the years. A friend of mine was saying last weekend, that the thing he liked most about the first Saw movie, was that they didn’t really show the gore. You thought they were going to, but it was the thought of it that seemed to bother you the most. In the later installments they just seem to show you more and more, leaving less to the imagination. With all of this said, I think the Saw series still works. I’m not sure how much longer they’re going to be able stretch this series out. If I didn’t know that Saw VII was already written, I might have thought this could have been the last one, but I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see what’s next.

Rating:
3.5 Little People


“The Lost Boys”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, with all these Lost Boys reviews, I figure it was only fair to re-watch the original. Now, I haven’t seen The Lost Boys in at least 15 years, if not longer, and I’m sad to say it doesn’t quite hold up. It’s not that it’s a bad movie; it just isn’t the movie you remember. But, for those of you that might not remember, let’s recap shall we.
When the Emerson family moves to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather, the last thing they ever thought they’d have to adjust to was vampires. Sam Emerson, played by Corey Haim, stumbles upon a comic shop, and the Frog brothers. Edger and Alan Frog are not only horror comic experts, but also the town’s first defense against the town’s vampire infestation. Watching Corey Feldman play Edger Frog, back in 1987, just makes you realize that Feldman has always been trying too hard to act. Was Feldman really so big in the late 80’s, that no one could have told him that a 15 year old boy does not talk like a Vietnam vet that smokes four packets a day? But, let’s get back to those pesky vampires. Michael Emerson, played by Jason Patric… What’s that? No, Michael Emerson is the character’s name. No, it has nothing to do with the Emmy award winning actor Michael Emerson from LOST. I think it’s just a coincidence. Can I get back to the review now? Okay, thanks. Like I was saying, Michael, whose last name just happens to be Emerson, makes the classic 80’s mistake of making eyes at the lead vampire’s girl. He quickly gets mixed up in the wrong crowd, drinks the head vampire’s blood, eats some maggots, and slowly starts to turn into a vampire. When Sam discovers his brother is becoming a blood sucker, it’s up to him and the Frog brothers to find and kill the head vampire, before Michael makes his first kill.
As with most movies you grew up with, this one doesn’t quite playback as bad assed as you may remember, but one thing is for sure, Kiefer Sutherland’s mullet is scarier than his bite. The pacing in the original movie is much better than that of Lost Boys: The Tribe. I think the whole point of The Lost Boys, is what would you do if you found out that vampires are real, and your brother was becoming one? The movie really isn’t about the vampires. I think when they made the sequel, all they wanted to do is show bad ass vampires, but if they hadn’t sacrificed the story they would have had a shot at a good movie. If you haven’t seen The Lost Boys in a long time and love the way you remember it, I would suggest replaying the memory, and skipping the rental.

Rating:

3 Little People



DVD Special Features:

I didn’t get to watch any of the special features yet, but I will at some point. I’ll post an update hopefully in the near future.

Comic Con 2009

Well, Comic Con has come and gone, but if you didn’t make it down to San Diego your old friend Darby is here to lay it all out for you. The one thing that seems to always be true about Comic Con, year after year, is the fact that it has less and less to do with comics each year. This year it was the teenie girls and their “Twilight: New Moon” that over ran the Con. The one thing I always hated about Comic Con is the standing in line for two hours to get a ticket so you can stand in line for three hours the next day; the whole time not being able to spend any time on the floor. The panels are the same story. Wait in line for hours for a panel and miss a bunch of events while sitting on the floor. The Con is amazing. It’s so much fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But every year, I make a list of the things I want to do, and every year I get like two done if I’m lucky. So, here’s a run down of some of the events that went down at Comic Con this year. Some I got to see and others that I only got to hear about.

 

“Iron Man 2”

The buzz for the first “Iron Man” movie started at Comic Con. So even with production having only wrapped a week ago, nothing was going to stop Jon Favreau from sharing what he could with the fans at Comic Con this year. Appearing with Favreau on the panel was Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Sam Rockwell. After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Favreau’s son Max, they rolled the exclusive clip that introduced all the film’s new characters. “Iron Man 2” will hit theaters in May of 2010.

 

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” & “Torchwood: Children of Earth”

At the Saturday night screening of “Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” and the 5th and final episode of “Torchwood: Children of Earth,” fans got a little bit more than they were expecting.

 

“The Green Hornet”

Seth Rogen stopped by the Con to unveil the new Black Beauty, a modified 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial that he’ll be cursing around in for the upcoming film.

 

“Alice in Wonderland”

Tim Burton premiered the first trailer for “Alice in Wonderland” on Thursday at the Con, with a huge surprise visit from the Mad Hatter himself Johnny Depp.

 

“Avatar”

James Cameron makes up for his lame E3 appearance with over 20 minutes of footage from his already over hyped film “Avatar.” He also announced that fans worldwide would be able to see 15 minutes of the film for free, online on “Avatar Day,” which is August 21st. The film is set to open this year on December 18th.

 

 

 

“New Moon”

“Twilight” fangirls came by the thousands to Comic Con this year. Some would say it was the downfall of Comic Con this year. These two guys were walking the floor on late Sunday with signs to show their displease of the upcoming film’s presences this year. Some of the fangirls stayed two nights outside the convention center waiting in line to attend the “Twilight” panel on Thursday. This was truly the craziness of this year’s Con. There’s always one thing at the Con that you can’t get away from, and you at times just wish would go away. This year it was most definitely “Twilight.” It’s hard to explain. It’s like a high school click. Comic Con is geek’s paradise, and this year the popular cheerleaders stormed the gates and stole the show. “Twilight” seems like the kind of thing that would fit in at the Con, but it really just seemed to overpower everything around it. For the last six years Hollywood has been taking over Comic Con, but this is like the Jonas Brothers performing on the center of the convention floor.

 

“Dollhouse”

The almost canceled series had a screening of the unaired thirteenth episode, which can also be found on the “Dollhouse” Season One DVD set. Look for my “Dollhouse” DVD review here soon.

 

“LOST”

This was probably one of the best panels of the Con. Wayne has already done a write up on this so I’ll just redirect you there. Click Here!

 

“The Hobbit”

Peter Jackson talked a little bit about the upcoming project.

 

“Jonah Hex”

The next DC Comic film, starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, was premiered by the new teaser trailer. The new teaser poster was unveiled as well. I cannot wait to see this movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tron: Legacy”

Last but not least… The long awaited “Tron” sequel “Tron: Legacy.” A scavenger hunt sent convention goes around downtown San Diego, and finally brought them to their final destination, a marvelously reconstructed 1980’s arcade, called Flynn’s Arcade! They actually had Flynn’s Arcade tokens! I know! They also unveiled the first teaser trailer. I for one cannot wait!

 

But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.

 

The Wonder Twins and Gleek

This is the one I really wanted, but sadly it sold out by the time I stood in line for a ticket to stand in line for a figure. These DC Universe figures are so cool. I love that they make figures for the secondary characters. I can’t wait for the upcoming Question figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LOST Benjamin Linus Bobble Head

This beaten up Michael Emerson bobble head is so cool. The likeness is uncanny.

 

Doctor Who Comic Con Exclusives

Okay, I’m a huge “Doctor Who” fan, and I love the figures, but there just always seems to be just too many of them to buy at the Con. This year there were five, all between twenty and forty dollars, mostly forty. I’m sorry, six figures if you count the Captain Jack Harkness Torchwood figure. I wish they would just make one exclusive figure each year. I would buy that figure every year, but I’m not going to spend over two hundred dollars at one booth. 

 

The Blackest Night 5 Figure Green Lantern Set

 

 

One last thing, before heading back to L.A. I stopped in Eureka to have dinner at Café Diem.

Well, that does it for this year. Comic Con will be July 22nd to the 25th next year, so start making plans now.