1. Adult Swim Plays It Safe with 'Black Jesus'
Deadline reports that Adult Swim (a cable channel that takes over the Cartoon Network at night) "is looking to stir up controversy" with "Black Jesus," a series that will portray Jesus as a modern-day black man living in Compton.
What controversy? The controversy of receiving all kinds of media love? The facing of the withering cries of 'courage' sure to come from the anti-Christian urban provincials that populate our mainstream and entertainment media?
Blasphemy is cowardly and boring -- about as edgy as placing President Obama between two ferns so he can pitch a federal government program that forces people to buy something.
2. 'Noah' On Pace for $35 Million Opening Weekend
Ouch. $35 million is terrible. According to Variety, that means "Noah" will barely nudge $100 million in North America.
With a budget of $130 million and an advertising budget that likely approached $50 million, "Noah" will have to gross something around $400 million worldwide just to break even.
3. True Detective's Huge Finale Broke HBO Go
With all the hype over the finale, it felt mandatory to give HBO's "True Detective" a try. What television is doing with long-form storytelling these days is phenomenal and I'm an addict. All eight episodes of "True Detective's" first season are available at HBO On Demand. I got through the first two episodes and they were good enough that I want to watch the rest … right now.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are both very good as Louisiana homicide detectives handed a career-defining case with what looks like the murder of a prostitute during a satanic ritual. The partners are mismatched, but in a unique and entertaining way, and thus far HBO's signature but off-putting soft-core sex has been kept to a minimum.
4. 'Dirty Harry' Revisionism
Someone just can't deal with the fact that Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" is a conservative movie:
This becomes clear during the film’s midway one-two punch: as he’s torturing information out of the killer in an attempt to locate a slowly suffocating kidnap victim, there’s no doubt that Callahan is going legitimately (if temporarily) insane, crossing a line forever. Lest this scene get the audience too effusive about the proceedings, it’s followed by a somber shot of a fully nude 14-year-old dead girl with rigor mortis being pulled out of a hole in the ground. Forgotten in all the one-liners and iconography of the franchise is that these two scenes show Harry Callahan as a good man permanently broken by the horror he’s tasked with facing. …
It’s only after crossing that line, after Callahan breaks, that we enter the realm of fantasy. … There’s a scene near the finale in which Callahan flat-out refuses to carry out his bosses’ orders -- yet another ransom delivery to the killer -- and stomps out, his career effectively over. In the very next scene, one that allows for no passage of time, Dirty Harry has somehow materialized miles away, standing on an overpass at an exit ramp just as the killer is driving on it -- in every sense a physical impossibility. Freeing himself from the system’s constrictive red tape (and his own sanity), Callahan has seemingly transcended the rules of space and time, and he’s ready to fly.
So, if I'm reading this correctly, we know that after torturing the Scorpio Killer Callahan is "broken" because he believes he can fly and the film itself turns into a "fantasy" because the time cut showing Callahan perched on the bridge isn't really a time cut but a real-time cut that is meant to tell the viewer that Callahan simply materialized on this bridge out of thin air…
Was the unicorn that delivered him invisible? Could be. Could be.
Shouldn't there be some sort of threshold for interpreting film? Not just making shit up might be a start.
During the 70's there were literally hundreds of left-wing movies. But this writer is so upset that just one that wasn't got through that he's deluded himself to pretend it didn't.
Have some dignity man. Let it go.
5. That Sound You Hear Is Lenny Bruce Spinning In His Grave
I was blessed to have come of age in the Richard Pryor/George Carlin/Sam Kinison/Norman Lear/Harold Ramis comedy era. In those days -- the 70s and early 80s -- the thought of a Funny or Die flaking for The Man in the form of an oppressive federal government program that rips off young people by forcing them to overpay for health insurance, was unthinkable.
People coming of age today have no sense of a mainstream comedic culture that fights for liberty and individual freedom; against conformity, censorship, and others telling you what to do.
I might not have agreed politically with some of the icons I listed above … but in spirit: Hell yes.
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A new book alleges that actor Woody Harrelson's father, a contract killer who died in prison at the age of 69, is responsible for an unsolved murder dating back more than four decades.
Texas trial lawyer David Berg's Run, Brother, Run includes evidence pinning his brother's murder in 1968 on Charles Harrelson.
According to the book, Harrelson’s girlfriend, Sandra Sue Attaway, lured [Alan] Berg to the Brass Jar, a Houston bar. Harrelson forced Berg into the car with a gun and told Attaway to drive to a remote location. There, he got out and shot Berg in the temple. Harrelson reportedly strangled Berg after the gunshot failed to kill him.
Woody Harrelson hates the government far more than the stereotype of the average Tea Partier would suggest. The Now You See Me star told Details magazine that he'd be open to living without government rather than the corrupted one we have today.
He's an anarchist, to be blunt, and he's not on board with President Obama's Hope and Change coalition.
DETAILS: So you dislike Democrats as much as you dislike the GOP?
Woody Harrelson: It's all synchronized swimming to me. They all kneel and kiss the ring. Who's going to take on the oil industry or the medical industry? People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon. Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war. A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan. Corporations like Grumman are so powerful that—I don't know, is this the kind of shit we want to talk about? It's making me depressed....
No. I don't believe in politics. I'm an anarchist, I guess you could say. I think people could be just fine looking after themselves.
Later, Harrelson found himself expanding on his anti-government feelings.
The government may change faces from time to time, but it's not like we fight wars for democracy—we fight wars for capitalism and for oil. I keep coming back to the same goddamn subject. I guess because it's what really bugs me the most.
Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me has an appealing comic spirit, and it’s a considerable amount of fun, in parts.
It concerns four talented but low-level illusionist-hustlers: one card master (Jesse Eisenberg), one mentalist (Woody Harrelson), one daring escape artist (Isla Fisher), and an artful pickpocket (Dave Franco). One day they receive a mysterious summons to become part of The Eye, whatever that may be. They have no idea who’s behind this outfit, but they agree to join, and soon they’re headlining Las Vegas with a group act that ranges from disappearing rabbits to water tanks full of deadly piranhas.
The actors alone make the movie worth watching. Eisenberg, less jittery than usual here, is deftly comic; Harrelson is once again wonderfully droll; Fisher is an entirely lovable screwball; and Franco (brother of James) is a very good-looking guy.
Also on hand are Michael Caine, as the quartet’s shady multimillionaire mentor, and Morgan Freeman, as a magic-debunker with a hit TV show. And after the four young stars manage to rob a bank in Paris without leaving their Vegas casino stage, a grizzled FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) shows up with a lovely Interpol operative (Mélanie Laurent) to get to the bottom of their shenanigans.
Read the full review at Reason.com.
Netflix revolutionized the way TV-based content is shown by letting users watch an entire season's worth of episodes at one time.
Amazon is going one step further with its first wave of original streaming content. The Internet giant is giving users the chance to rate and rank its pilot offerings. The online shopping destination released 14 pilots today, hoping viewers will sample the shows and let it know (via page views and comments) which ones deserve a full-season pickup.
The company's efforts deserve attention. Not only did Amazon lure some respectable names to their initial show lineup, including John Goodman, Clancy Brown and Bebe Neuwirth, its Amazon Prime service combines solid pre-existing content with shipping perks its streaming competition can't match.
Amazon's highest profile pilot is Zombieland, based on the hit horror comedy and written by the film's screenwriters (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick). The show's pilot, however, isn't a good omen for Amazon's streaming future.
The pilot recycles the "rules" of Zombieland, like embracing cardio to keep one step ahead of the undead, but the punch lines rely on stale R-rated gags.
More curious is its copious product placement, including shout outs to Ensure, IKEA and On-Star.
It's hard to replace Woody Harrelson, so memorable as the film's zombie slayer, but actor Kirk Ward (Forrest Gump, The Island) needs better material to even try. The pilot's emphasis is how the quartet of characters wants to expand its numbers but the new recruits keep dying before so much as an introductory handshake.
The show's opening sight gag is a winner, with a pair of co-workers discussing mundane problems while the zombie apocalypse brews just outside the office windows. It's mostly downhill from there.
Amazon deserves credit for bringing transparency to the pilot process, but content is still king no matter how new fare is brought to the public.
An anti-war on drugs celebrity brigade is begging President Barack Obama to change how the nation deals with drug offenders.
Jim Carrey, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, Chris Rock, Susan Sarandon, Will Smith, Woody Harrelson and many more signed a fawning letter to the President pleading for a kinder approach to drug offense cases.
In short, they say Obama should shut down the "prison industrial complex."
Your hard work and leadership on issues affecting the unrepresented classes of people in our nation have served as an inspiration to many of us who hope for brighter futures for all Americans. In that spirit, we believe the time is right to further the work you have done around revising our national policies on the criminal justice system and continue moving from a suppression-based model to one that focuses on intervention and rehabilitation....
Your administration has moved in the right direction by committing increased funds to drug prevention and treatment programs and supporting state and local re-entry grants. We encourage you to continue your efforts to revamp the policies of the last 30 years that have seen the prison population skyrocket.
The greatest victims of the prison industrial complex are our nation’s children. Hundreds of thousands of children have lost a parent to long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenses, leaving these children to fend for themselves. Many of these children end up in the criminal justice system, which comes as no surprise as studies have shown the link between incarceration and broken families, juvenile delinquency, violence and poverty.
The movies that inspire us are often based on real moments. This is no less true for sports movies. So what are the best of the lot? It was not an easy list, but in honor of the Oscars, here’s our take.
10. Wimbledon. Who would have thought a sports movie with Kirsten Dunst and tennis would make this list? But it was well written and captures what can sometimes be the structure and attraction of the sport.
9. White Men Can’t Jump. Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in this often-quoted classic about race and basketball.
8. Slap Shot. The classic tale of the Charleston Chiefs, great comedy. Who doesn’t have a pair of those glasses?
7. Coach Carter. The story of the Richmond HS (California) team that made the playoffs despite a lockout for academics, Samuel L. Jackson turns in a great performance.
6. Field of Dreams. Has any sports movie ever been so widely quoted? “Build it, and they will come”.
5. The Natural. That last home run scene with the lights is an all-time classic.
4. The Babe. The story of Babe Ruth told very well, with John Goodman turning in a virtuoso performance.
3. Major League. Great cast including Charlie Sheen as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. Classic comedy.
2. Hoosiers. The classic about the Cinderella Indiana high school basketball team had a great cast, including Gene Hackman.
1. Miracle. The story of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” US Olympic hockey team was brilliantly done by Disney. They used actual college and minor league hockey players and taught them how to act, rather than get actors who knew how to play hockey, for this movie.
Next Top 10: Top 10 Magical Seasons.
The group, apparently oblivious to the green energy charades that marked Obama's first term, put its message online to prod their progressive leader to pick up the baton from ex-Current TV owner Al Gore:
“Your legacy as 44th president of the United States rests firmly on your leadership on climate disruption. Only the president has the power to lead an effort on the scale and with the urgency we need to phase out fossil fuels and lead America, and the world, in a clean energy revolution.”
It's all part of a march on Washington slated for Feb. 17 which promise to be the "the largest climate rally in the history of the United States."
Those that signed the letter include several stars whose carbon footprint would make Gore blush as well as others financially able to survive the Obama recovery: Adam Levine, Alec Baldwin, Alicia Silverstone, Bonnie Raitt, Darren Aronofsky, Edward Norton, Edward James Olmos, Elle Macpherson, Evangeline Lilly, Ian Somerhalder, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Incubus, Linkin Park, Malin Akerman, Michael Franti, Morgan Freeman, My Morning Jacket, Ozomatli, Phillipe Cousteau, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Russell Simmons, Susan Sarandon, Tom Steyer, Woody Harrelson and Yoko Ono.
A gaggle of far-left actors have signed on for a new film embracing the 9/11 Truther movement.
"September Morn," to be directed by former stuntman B.J. Davis, will star Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen, Daniel Sunjata ("Rescue Me"), Judd Nelson and Ed Asner.
Styling itself as a drama in the tradition of Twelve Angry Men, the film's advance publicity note hints at a cover-up, saying: "We the people demand that the government revisit and initiates a thorough and independent investigation to the tragic events of 911."
Other stars appearing in the film, according to IMDB.com, include Esai Morales (last seen in "Atlas Shrugged: Part II"), Valerie Harper and John Heard.
Sheen, Harrelson and Asner have a history of questioning what "really" happened on Sept. 11, 2001, although making a feature film about those questions may bring greater scrutiny to their career choices.
“Seven Psychopaths” is twisted, demented and gratuitously violent. It’s also one of the best surprises of 2012. Starring Colin Farrell and a scene-stealing Christopher Walken, this violent drama about a dog kidnapping is an escapist pleasure that is more fun to watch than 99 percent of today's movies.
Farrell is the star of the film and plays Marty, a wannabe writer who is working on a script called “Seven Psychopaths.” He is friends with the psychotically quirky Billy (Sam Rockwell) and an intense older man named Hans (Walken). Billy and Hans, two men you never want to be stuck in an elevator with, take pleasure and a certain amount of pride in their profession of dog-kidnapping and reward-collecting. They kidnap local pets and then are given a handsome - and clearly unwarranted - reward when they return the pets to their owners.
When the story begins, they have kidnapped the dog of a gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a decision they soon regret when people start getting killed in pursuit of an innocent Shih Tzu. Charlie may be psychotic and willing to threaten and murder innocent people along the way but gosh, he does love his cute little doggie.
And Harrelson, like Walken, is one of the film’s greatest strengths. Like Matthew McConaughey (who showed the depth of his acting in this year’s “Killer Joe”), Harrelson is able to both charm and threaten those around him, sometimes doing both in the same sentence. There is one really great scene showcasing this between him and Han’s hospital-dwelling wife that will both surprise and shock audiences. Here is a man who can be goofy and childlike when he wants to be and a vicious murderer when he chooses to be.
But aside from Harrelson, the rest of the large cast delivers in this wonderfully outrageous story. Farrell, who seemed wasted in the big-budget “Total Recall” earlier this year, is great as the lovable but alcoholic writer who is struggling to write a screenplay about psychopaths that doesn’t feature a lot of violence. And Walken has great fun actually playing a unique character who can be sensitive but who has a history of violence in his own background that will leave audiences stunned.
The script, which was written and directed by Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”), strangely succeeds in mashing together both intense violence and quirky comedy. One minute you may be shocked of the brutality of it all while at the next minute, you’re laughing along with the characters. At times, much of the story is foreshadowed or referenced in the script that Farrell is trying to write and the movie-within-a-movie becomes one of the film’s most intriguing and consistently engaging aspects.
It is admittedly difficult to keep track of which characters are actually the seven psychopaths that the title refers to - the screen tells us but it’s hard to remember which is which - but who really cares? When a movie is this fun and inventive, it doesn’t matter who is or who isn’t a psychopath.
“Seven Psychopaths” is one of the greatest film surprises of the year. Who would have expected that a comedy about a dog-napping could be this grand?