Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

In baseball, one out of three would get us into the Hall of Fame. Out here in Oysterland, everything tends to be about right now, what’s current, what’s hot, can you capture lightning in a bottle. So, we often end up in the odd position of recommending films after following their development, essentially reviewing “Films That Aren’t Out Yet.

We follow the buzz, pick and choose from other blogs, watch trailers, debate the merits of the cast and crew. In such fashion we (hopefully) recommended three recent releases this fall: Sleuth; Gone,Baby Gone and American Gangster.

The reality can often be difficult to swallow. Surprisingly, Sleuth, the one that was written by a Nobel laureate, directed by Kenneth Branaugh and starring Michael Caine and Jude Law was the one that sucked. So much so that it’s not even worth mentioning again in sentence.


Ben Affleck proved to have a sure hand in directing a taut, suspenseful thriller from a great novel by Denis Lehane. Good visuals without getting too fancy, good performances from the cast (who knew Casey Affleck could act?) and a tight plot made Gone, Baby Gone a fun time at the local theaterplex and an early contender for Oscar buzz. The taut thriller, secure in its direction, showed why Affleck loves his hometown warts and all. It also showed that Matt Damon might not necessarily be the smarter of the two and that Affleck clearly picked up a lot of pointers from the sets he has acted on. The ending even left much discussion about the nature of being right or wrong, good or bad. Can’t wait to see what he does for his follow up project.


American Gangster, according to some detractors, glamorizes Frank Lucas too much, but it’s hard to argue with the quality of the film. Ridley Scott channels Scorsese and Coppola in giving us this throwback to the Seventies style gangster movie. Denzel Washington is a force of nature as Lucas, and Russel Crowe gives his most complex performance since the last time he played a cop, ten years ago in L.A. Confidential.

A Daily Dose of movie & television links

-The internet is buzzing over the new The Dark Knight trailer.? It’s pretty rad.? We posted a bootlegged version of the trailer and the official version hit yesterday.? I haven’t stopped watching it since.? Also, someone bootlegged a copy of the six-minute prequel in front of I Am Legend on IMAX.? I’ve watched it and it’s safe to say I wish I just waited to see it on IMAX.? That would have been pretty rad, but the guy did a good job bootlegging it.

– George Clooney is directing a screwball comedy, Leatherheads, about the early days of professional football, written by sports scribe Rick Reilly (he used to write the back page at SI, but now works for ESPN), and it stars Renee Zelweger, The Office’s John Krazinski and of course, Clooney. ? Looks like this one could be a fun romp, but nothing too serious.

– The Dallas remake that was supposed to star John Travolta and Jennifer Lopez, and has had all sorts of behind the scenes problems looks like it can’t possibly be any good.? Seriously, this sounds like a turd sandwich.

– Turns out you shouldn’t always bet on black, especially if it’s Wesley Snipes.? The actor has all but fell off the map, what with tax fraud allegations, but he finally speaks out to EW.

– The beautiful and talented Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera, The Day After Tomorrow) has signed on to star in the upcoming adaptation of Dragonball.? Someone needs to get her an agent stat, because she’s got charisma to burn and should be doing better projects, but what do we know?? Dark Horizons has some set photos.
-? AFI has released their annual year end list of the best movies and television shows.? It should be noted that the American Film Institute only considers “American” film releases, though that seems like a nebulous proposition because non-American movies have showed up in the past like Lord of the Rings. ?

The Favs and Vince Vaughn are reteaming for the 2008 holiday flick, Four Christmases.? This one stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, who rumors have it aren’t getting along on set because of Vaughn’s penchant for ad libbing scenes and her desire to rehearse beforehand, as a couple who attempt to visit both of their divorced parents during the holiday.

– Baz Luhrmann has finally wrapped production on his much anticpated follow-up to Moulin Rouge.? Australia has been gesticulating for quite a bit, but in it’s final form will star Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.? Kidman travels to the outback and fall in love with a rancher.? Elton John is being courted to do the soundtrack.? When asked about the film, John reported said, “It’s like Titanic on dry land.”? Sorry, that was the sound of me dry heaving.

– The good guys over at Joblo have the trailer for Will Smith’s next flick, the action-comedy Hancock.? It’s a strange title, but the premise sounds funny.? Smith stars as a down on his luck superhero who hires a PR guy to rehab his image.? Also Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron star.? Give Smith’s dominance of the box-office you can pencil in this one to make, oh, about a bazillion dollars.? It’s directed by Peter Berg, so it’s in good hands and Jason Bateman just kills us with his delivery.

– Speaking of Will Smith, I Am Legend made $76 million at the box-office this weekend.? That’s pretty ridonkulous. ? Just goes to show you that even with mixed reviews, everyone should bow down to Will Smith.

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