ToonTownReviews

 See what movies are good and not so good... Reviews are from the perspective of a ToonTown guy and select reviewers. There are hundreds of collectible posters available thru ToonTownReviews! Click on any of the images to order safely and securely! (This is the sister site of 'OZ - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow) ***If there is a copyright issue, please email me by clicking on 'Email ToonTownReviews!' in the Links section and I will provide credit, change it to a link, or remove the post.***

    

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hostel - Grotesque horror flick is top box office draw


Scene from 'Hostel' (CTV.ca News) The number one film in Hollywood is no longer a religious children's film, but instead a low budget nightmare that uses blood, torture and twisted fantasies to push horror to an extreme.

The movie, Hostel, easily beat its competition last weekend by earning more than $20 million US in its first three days. In doing so, it dethroned The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from the top spot at the box office.

Hostel, written and directed by Eli Roth and backed by Quentin Tarantino, is about a group of American teenagers, out for a good time in Europe who end up trapped in a warehouse where wealthy people pay to torture their victims.

The graphic nature of the film has earned it an R rating for its torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use scenes.

These elements are the reason why horror fans and writers have enjoyed the movie.

"The thing I really like about it is the mass amount of nudity, the serious brutality and the mass amount of violence they got away with," horror film critic Spooky Dan Walker said.



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Some mainstream film critics are unimpressed by the film though.

"(It is) one of the most misogynistic films ever made," a critic for The New York Times wrote. The paper also called the film racist.

Other critics are not so hard on the film.

"I don't think it breaks new ground, but it delivers what it promises and a lot of films these days do not do that no matter what genre we are talking about," Michael Rechtshaffen of Hollywood Reporter said.

Variety Magazine reported that Eli Roth has been commissioned to make a sequel to Hostel after its successful first weekend. The film studio is hoping to release the movie next year.

At the same time of Hostel's success, a theatre in Utah, and one in Lethbridge Alberta, refuses to show Brokeback Mountain because the movie, about gay cowboys, is considered too risque.

The same theatres are showing Hostel though.


* With files from CTV's Graham Richardson in Los Angeles

 

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Curious George - Show Me the Monkey! (2006)


Theatrical Release Date: Feb 10, 2006 (Wide)

Cast & Crew:
Will Ferrell, Joan Plowright, David Cross, David Cross, Eugene Levy directed by Jun Falkenstein.

Synopsis:
Curious George and The Man With The Yellow Hat Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment bring Curious George, the original "monkey see, monkey do" chimp, to the screen in an all-new animated adventure based upon the beloved tales that have been enchanting readers for more than 60 years. George, the inquisitive little guy with an insatiable taste for adventure, sets off in a brand new tale for the big screen, where his spunky and fun-loving nature endears him to new friends he meets along thre way and (of course) lands him in a series of (mis)adventures.



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Originally published in 1941, the book has never been out of print since. Authors H.A. Rey and his wife Margret, creative partners who fled Europe during the Nazi occupation and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote the original seven Curious George tales. In 1998 Houghton-Mifflin began publishing new Curious George adventures and continues to release new titles and formats. Curious George titles have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and have been published in 17 languages, making the little monkey who left the jungle with The Man with the Yellow Hat one of the best-selling and most enduring characters in children's literature.

Will Ferrell (Elf, Old School) lends his voice to The Man with the Yellow Hat, Dick Van Dyke, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright are also among the distinguished cast of voices. Original songs are written and performed by Jack Johnson.

Official Website:
The Official Curious George Site

Reviews:

1) I was a big “Curious George” fan… when I was five. So, it’s safe to assume that the movie is being marketed to a similar demographic. As it should be.

They haven’t bothered with flashy, 3D animation. Instead they’re going 2D, though they’ve given the movie what appears to be a rather unique looking style. I’m sure the kids will love it. In fact, now they don’t even need to bother reading, they can just watch it on TV. Embrace illiteracy young fella.

What I’m wondering is what makes this movie worth putting out in theaters. Is there really that big a Curious George market? I mean, why isn’t this a direct to video release? What’s the deal with all the big name voice talent? Drew Barrymore? Will Ferrell? That’s heavy hitting. That’s a better cast than most CGI movies manage, and those actually make money. Maybe there’s more to this movie than there appears to be on the surface. Or maybe Universal just overspent.

*Previewed by Joshua Tyler

2) As computer-animated movies like Ice Age and Finding Nemo continue to do quite well at the box office, and traditionally-animated movies like Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and The Wild Thornberrys do quite poorly, there's a lot of talk in the film industry that perhaps traditional is on its last legs, and soon nearly all animated feature films will be CGI. There are still traditional movies being made, but it is true that it seems we keep hearing about more CGI movies being developed, and even many projects that were originally planned as traditional are now being converted to CGI. A glimmer of hope for the old school style, however, is the example this project provides, however, because after 10+ years of trying to get a 'Curious George' movie going that would incorporate some sort of CGI, they have finally decided that the best (and cheapest) way to capture the spirit of George, the Man in the Yellow Hat and the world they live in is to take advantage of the sweetness that traditional animation suggests. I think this is sort of a no-brainer; the simple drawings of the book seem obviously easier to transfer to 2-D artwork than to try and give them 3-D life (much less try to adapt that artwork in live-action). Of course, I feel the same way about the art of Dr. Seuss, but Universal keeps making live-action versions of his stuff, but it's good to see this is a case where they made what I think is the right decision.

Curious George A bit of news that I can offer the world today that I don't think has been reported elsewhere yet is that I heard from an anonymous source over the weekend that Will Ferrell has signed on to provide the voice for the Man in the Yellow Hat. When I first heard the news, I was under the impression that Universal was still going for live-action for the character, and I have to say... he immediately struck me as a brilliant choice. Will Ferrell would look INSANELY GREAT in that yellow hat. But, you know, even though it turns out they're just going to be using his voice, he's still a good choice. Will has a broadly comedic and acrobatic vocal range that should work well for El Hombre del Sombrero Amarillo.

I also think Jun Falkenstein might be just the director this project needs to properly adapt these sweet tales of a precocious chimp to the big screen. With a guy whose major project has been The Tigger Movie at the helm, I think we can safely be assured that this isn't going to be a puerile movie with "gross out" humor, etc. I think that's what some people might expect from a chimp movie, but really... Curious George isn't that sort of chimp movie. It's got to be sweet and nostalgic, or it's not really Curious George.


*By Greg (Yahoo! Movies)

 

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

HOODWINKED


Red Riding Hood. The Woodsman. Granny. The Wolf. Not your typical crime. Not your usual suspects.



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Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood . . . or so they think. That’s all about to change because no one has ever seen their favorite fairy tale quite like this -- turned upside-down, inside-out and reinvented as a computer-animated caper comedy that at last reveals the shocking true-crime investigation behind the legend. At last, the full story can be revealed of how Red (ANNE HATHAWAY), Granny (GLENN CLOSE), The Woodsman (JIM BELUSHI) and the Wolf (PATRICK WARBURTON) all came together as criminal suspects in a case that almost HOODWINKED the law. With inventive story telling, spunk and wit, filmmakers Cory & Todd and Tony Leech bring to the screen a story for the young, the young at heart and everyone in between.

HOODWINKED begins at the end of the tale and winds its way back . . . It all begins as a feathered and furry assortment of cops and detectives turn up at Granny’s cottage in the woods to answer a domestic disturbance call. It looks at first to be just another open-and-shut case of a woodsman assaulting a wolf impersonating a granny, with an assortment of criminal charges including breaking and entering, intent to eat and wielding an axe without a license.

But looks can be deceiving. As debonair detective Nicky Flippers (DAVID OGDEN STIERS) and hard-nosed (or is that furry-nosed?) Police Chief Grizzly (XZIBIT) and fellow police officer Bill Stork (Anthony Anderson) question the slippery suspects, they discover each one has a completely different, yet equally wild and woolly, tale to tell. Not only that, but it seems that this crime has ties to the notorious “Goody Bandit” who has been ravaging the woods by stealing the valuable recipes that keep the forest in muffins.

None of the group is exactly what they seem, and each has their own deep secrets and wily deceptions. The detectives soon uncover that seemingly innocent Red is worldly wise; that the big, bad Wolf has been terribly misunderstood; that Granny has a secret life no one could have imagined; and that the insecure Woodsman, whose brawn just might outweigh -- well you know the stereotype -- has some surprising ambitions of his own.

They’re not your usual suspects -- yet the investigators must use their clashing eyewitness accounts to solve the increasingly convoluted riddle of who among them has committed a crime. When at last the nefarious villain’s true identity is revealed, it’s up to Red, the Wolf, The Woodsman and Granny to put aside their differences and find their own original twist on happily ever after.

HOODWINKED features the voice talents of Anne Hathaway (“The Princess Diaries,” “Ella Enchanted”), Glenn Close (“101 Dalmatians,” “Tarzan,” “The Big Chill”), Patrick Warburton (“Seinfeld,” “The Emperor’s New Groove”), David Ogden Stiers (“Lilo and Stitch”), Andy Dick (ABC’s “Less Than Perfect”), Chazz Palminteri (“The Usual Suspects,” “Stuart Little,” “Analyze This”), Xzibit (“Derailed,” MTV’s “Pimp my Ride,” “XxX”), Anthony Anderson (“Hustle & Flow,” “Barbershop,” “Me, Myself & Irene”) and Jim Belushi (“According to Jim,” “K-9,” “Joe Somebody”).


 

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Syriana


REVIEW SUMMARY:

Swaddled in 30 extra pounds and a thick gray beard, George Clooney moves through his portion of "Syriana" with furrowed brow and a slow, careful gait. His character, Bob Barnes, is a not-unfamiliar type in the world of movie espionage: the weary, cynical C.I.A. operative on the brink of an attack of conscience. Bob, who has spent his career in cheerful spots like Beirut and Tehran, is the kind of guy who knows a lot more than he says, and who speaks in a low monotone, evading more questions than he answers. When pressed for information - by an aggressive government bureaucrat or by his impatient teenage son (Max Minghella) - his default response seems to be, "It's complicated." Quite so.



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"Syriana," written and directed by Stephen Gaghan (who also wrote "Traffic," its obvious precursor), is a movie that demands and rewards close attention. Loosely based on the memoirs of a C.I.A. veteran, Robert Baer, on whom Mr. Clooney's character is modeled, it aims to be a great deal more than a standard geopolitical thriller and thereby succeeds in being one of the best geopolitical thrillers in a very long time. Along with Mr. Baer's book "See No Evil," it assimilates a whole shelf of post-9/11 nonfiction and journalism, spinning a complex, intriguing narrative about oil, terrorism, money and power. Parsing its details requires a good deal of concentration: important information is conveyed through whispered conversations and sidelong glances, and you may sometimes wish for a chart diagraming all the patterns of influence, connection and coincidence. But the mental labor of figuring out just what is going on is part of what makes the film such a rich and entertaining experience.



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And its sheer entertainment value - the way that Mr. Gaghan, with remarkable conviction and confidence, both honors and scrambles the conventions of the genre - is worth emphasizing. Since it deals with some contentious contemporary realities, it is likely to be greeted with a fair amount of chin-rubbing commentary. Though "Syriana" is expressly a work of fiction, it will no doubt be subjected to a round of pseudo-fact-checking, and its dark, conspiratorial view of the present and recent past is likely to be challenged, either because it is too complicated or not complicated enough.

There are four main storylines, linked by the anxious, irregular heartbeat of Alexandre Desplat's score - each one subject to enough twists and reversals to make plot summary a treacherous exercise. While Bob is sorting out his midcareer issues - his bosses, concerned about his maverick tendencies, appear to want either to confine him to a desk job or send him off to be killed somewhere - some members of the younger generation are finding troubles and opportunities of their own. Bennet Holiday (Jeffrey Wright) is a rising lawyer at a Washington firm who is called upon to run due diligence in advance of a merger between two energy companies. Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon), a financial analyst living with his family in expatriate luxury in Geneva, becomes the financial adviser to Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig), who is eager to succeed his father as ruler of an oil-rich emirate and inaugurate a program of political and economic modernization. In Prince Nasir's country, meanwhile, a young Pakistani laborer named Wasim (Mazhar Munir) succumbs to the lure of radical Islam, seeking refuge from the dusty oil fields and crowded hostels in the tranquillity of a madrasa.

These five characters - Bob, Wasim, Prince Nasir, Bennett and Bryan - add up to a sort of composite hero, though their heroism, collective and individual, is highly ambiguous. Not one of them is in possession of a clear conscience or a singular motive, and not one of them fully claims the audience's sympathy. Greed and ambition sometimes coincide with idealism, and self-interest shades into scruple. Each of the five is afflicted by family problems - the mutual disappointments of fathers and sons is the film's principal psychological motif - and throws himself into the world of money, politics and power as a way to escape or salve his private unhappiness.


*Reviewed by — A. O. Scott, The New York Times

 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Special Report - Brokeback Mountain sweeps Golden Globes


Ang Lee poses with the Golden Globe award<br />he won for best director for his work on 'Brokeback Mountain.'(Reed Saxon AP)
Ang Lee poses with the Golden Globe award
he won for best director for his work on "Brokeback Mountain." (Reed Saxon AP)


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16 - A groundbreaking film about a love affair between two cowboys took top awards at the 63rd Golden Globes on Monday, a ceremony that dealt almost entirely with low-budget, art house films that have not yet broken through to blockbuster-size audiences.



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"Brokeback Mountain," a poetic film that spans a 30-year romance, based on the short story by Annie Proulx, won best dramatic film, best director for Ang Lee, best screenplay for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana and best song.



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The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the lovers, has raised the issue of the acceptance of gay relationships on screen and in wider American society. The film has been enthusiastically embraced by critics and within Hollywood, but has met some resistance in the broader public, and even now is playing in only 683 theaters, having taken in $30.8 million.



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One Utah theater pulled the film from distribution, and the comedian Larry David sparked debate when he wrote a humorous Op-Ed article in The New York Times saying he could not bring himself to see the film. Focus Features, which is releasing "Brokeback," has lately been publishing ads showing the lead actors with their on-screen wives, rather than as lovers.



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Accepting his award, Mr. Lee saluted "the power of movies to change the way we're thinking."

In another role that dealt with gender politics, Felicity Huffman won best actress for her portrayal of a transgendered man in "TransAmerica." And Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor in a dramatic role for playing Truman Capote, the flamboyantly gay and brazenly ambitious writer, in "Capote."



 

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Welcome to ToonTown Movie Reviews


This Blog has been set up so people can check out if we liked a movie or not before they go to see it. You will also be able to buy movie memorabilia (posters, still photos, coffe cups, mouse pads etc.) related to the movies you enjoyed.

It is operated by 2 Canadian guys that like watching movies.


 

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