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Midweek movie news

Getting a bit of an early start and catching up with some news we didn’t discuss yesterday.

* In terms of raw cash, the movies had a record March this year, largely thanks to those inflated, and then extra-inflated, ticket prices for “Alice in Wonderland” in 3-D. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Alice in Wonderland

* RIP Corin Redgrave, of one of the world’s great acting families.

* Reading this Nikki Finke item about what sounds like the increasingly fraught auction of MGM, it really does make it seem like a million years ago when MGM was the absolute epitome, for better and for worse, of Hollywood power.

* I’m breaking a confidence here with this super-secret Twitter leak by Jon Favreau, but it appears that Harrison Ford will be in “Cowboys and Aliens.”

* Universal, which hasn’t exactly been rolling in cash lately, has pulled the plug on “Cartel.” It would have been a remake of the fact-based Italian mafia thriller from 1993, “La Scorta,” set admidst Mexico’s drug wars. Josh Brolin was set to play the lead. Mike Fleming doesn’t specifically mention insurance or the cost of security, but considering the topic and what’s been going in throughout Mexico — apparently including Mexico City where the film was to be shot — it must have been through the roof.

* Master cinephile blogger Dennis Cozzalio checks in and brings word of some cool film fests.

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Blu Tuesday: Pinocchio, Let the Right One In and The French Connection

Welcome to the latest column on Premium Hollywood, Blu Tuesday, where I’ll be covering some of the best and biggest high-def titles of the week. For those hoping this was a post about a New Order/Rolling Stones tribute band, I apologize, but you’ll have to keep holding your breath for that one, whoever you may be.

You see, when Blu-ray first hit the market, there weren’t very many titles to talk about other than the new releases that were already coming out on DVD. Now that the format is more popular with studios, however, my office has become overrun with high-def titles, and well, I just don’t have the time to cover every one in as much detail as I’d like. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be covered at all, however, and so I’ve created this column to help cleanse my conscience (and some office space) and keep you all in the know on some Blu-rays you might be looking forward to, as well as a few others you should add to your shopping list.

“Pinocchio” (Walt Disney)

One of my least favorite Disney classics after “Dumbo” and “Bambi,” “Pinocchio” is still a no-brainer when it comes to diehard collectors and fans of animated films. It’s been years since Disney last released this from their ominous vault and so they’ve not only put out a new DVD edition to celebrate the occassion, but a high-def version as well. As expected, the new digital restoration is incredible. The colors pop off the screen like they were freshly painted, and were it not for the fact that hand-drawn animation is virtually extinct, you’d swear this was made yesterday. The best part about the three-disc set, though, isn’t the new transfer or the fact that you get three different versions of the movie (Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy), but the hours of bonus material that have been lovingly crammed onto the disc. You get all the usual stuff that you’d expect from a typical new release (audio commentary, making-of, deleted scenes), but somehow they just feel more special on a movie this old.

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A Chat with Joe Lo Truglio (“The State,” “Role Models”)

If the words “rub a dub dub” conjure images of a bearded man in chain mail rather than three men in a tub, then you’re probably one of the people who saw and laughed at “Role Models.” The film was directed by (and features a cameo from) David Wain, late of The State, but he’s not the only alumnus of that particular comedic organization to be found within its frames. There are actually a couple, if you’re counting, but only one managed to spend the duration of the film dressed in Medevial garb and spouting laughably earnest comments using mock Elizabethan phrasing…and – what luck! – we actually had the opportunity to speak to the gentleman in question.

Stay tuned for…

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Paul Rudd, Mac, and McDonalds dance contest

My guess is that few, if any of us, remember the movie “Mac and Me.” A movie staring an alien that is separated from his family, searches for them, evades the government and dances in a McDonald’s, all with the aid of a child in a wheelchair (think “ET” but without being able to ride a bike). A post on Filmdrunk shows a clip from “Conan” where Paul Rudd plays a scene from “Mac and Me” instead of one from his movie “Role Models.” It has apparently been a rolling joke on the show, with Paul Rudd going straight to this scene from “Mac and Me,” forgoing the promotion of the film in which he’s starring.

As a way to further jog your memory, here is a behind the scenes clip with the painted one himself, Ronald McDonald, who introduces the movie:

With all the shameless self-promotion done in the name of the golden arches, I’ve come up with a formula for “Mac and Me.” It goes something like this: Ronald McDonald + “Mac and Me” + McDonald’s dance party in “Mac and Me” = the greatest product placement movie in history.

Gives new meaning to the phrase Mac attack.

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Bullz-Eye’s Best and Worst Movies of 2008: Senior Editor David Medsker’s picks

With mere weeks to go, I had no idea what my list for favorite movies of 2008 was going to look like. More accurately, my list contained several movies that my inner critic told me had no business whatsoever in a year-end top ten list. There were a lot of movies that I liked (as you’ll soon discover), but not a whole lot that I loved. Starting about December 1, though, that changed dramatically. Whew.

Oh, and if you just read fellow BE critic Jason Zingale’s list before checking out mine, your eyes do not deceive you. Unlike, say, EW’s Owen Glieberman and Lisa Schwartzman, who seem to go out of their way to run lists as dissimilar as possible, JZ and I are pretty much on the exact same page this year. A meeting of the minds, or a lack of options? A little of both, I suppose.

Best movies of 2008

1. The Dark Knight
I’m not sure how Christopher Nolan is going to top this. This is so much bigger, smarter, darker and bleaker than any other superhero movie ever made that it’s insulting to lump it into the superhero category.

2. WALL·E
Repeated viewings of this since its release on DVD have elevated it towards not just the top of my list of 2008, but on the list of Pixar’s finest work. The dancing-in-space sequence is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
As a longtime David Fincher fan (his video for Madonna’s “Oh Father” still gives me chills), I’ll be the first to admit that his reputation has loomed larger than the quality of his work. He puts his money where his mouth is here. The last ten minutes are devastating.

4. Frost/Nixon
The only man who can give Samuel L. Jackson a run for his money at saying the word “motherfucker”: Richard Milhous Nixon.

5. Iron Man
Let that be a lesson to you: always take the Humdrum-vee over the Fun-vee.

6. RocknRolla
My pet theory: the name of Gerard Butler’s character One Two is a reference to the Specials’ song “Little Bitch.” Can anyone confirm this?

7. Slumdog Millionaire
Do you think that guy that won all those “Jeopardy” episodes was tortured like this movie’s hero was?

8. Let the Right One In
If you see one vampire movie this year…it ain’t “Twilight.” This Swedish import combines the lure of the undead with the hell that is junior high school. The ending to this movie is sadder than any I’ve seen all year, even the one with the dead dog.

9. Revolutionary Road
Only Leo and Kate could make a movie about two miserable suburbanites so watchable.

10. Tropic Thunder
“Now let’s make a movie!” *Clank* “Oh.” *BOOM* Nothing all year made me laugh harder.

Honorable mentions:
The Wrestler
Choke
The Wackness
Burn after Reading

I Was a Middle-Aged Teenager, Part Deux

I’m 40 years old, but some of my favorite movies – or scenes – came from movies that were aimed squarely at my inner 20-year-old.

Step Brothers
If we were to update our Movie Tunes piece, the “Sweet Child o’ Mine” scene would easily be in our Top 20.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
It had what most Apatow-related movies sorely lack: balance. And hot damn, how awesome is Mila Kunis?

Sex Drive
Rumspringa! WOOOOOO!

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
If anyone is thinking about seeing if this will work in real life, we beg you, STOP. The world has enough bad amateur porn as it is, and your friend isn’t a tenth as hot as Elizabeth Banks.

Wanted
I’d debate whether Morgan Freeman’s character was telling the truth in the movie’s final bloodbath, but does it really matter? This was big, dumb, silly, and an absolute blast.

Pineapple Express
Between this and “Choke,” I’ll never think of anal beads the same way again.

Role Models
Finally, a Seann William Scott movie that didn’t make me want to drown kittens.

Docs that rock

Man on Wire
Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

The Kids Movies Are Alright

Kung Fu Panda
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Horton Hears a Who

Appealing to a man, but made for a woman

What Happens in Vegas…
Definitely, Maybe
Baby Mama
27 Dresses

Worst movies of 2008 (that I saw)

1. The Love Guru
Not even Justin Timberlake could save this from being the unfunniest movie of the year, if not all time. It’s like a bunch of teenagers came up with dick joke punch lines, then worked their way backwards for setups. Painfully bad.

2. Meet Dave
It’s over, Eddie. The next time you have a thought about a family movie comeback vehicle, let it go.

3. Over Her Dead Body
The only Eva worth watching this year is the one in “WALL·E.”

4. Untraceable
Screen Gems makes “Saw Lite,” tries to equate gawker’s block on the highway with willingly contributing to the death of another human being. Uh, sure.

5. Mad Money
Note to self: get job at Federal Reserve. If Diane Keaton can steal from them, so can I.

6. Deception
Hearing Michelle Williams say “fuck and suck” might be the funniest thing I heard in a movie all year.

7. Nim’s Island
Someone once asked Elijah Wood why he did the movie “Flipper.” His answer: to swim with dolphins for six months. Now we know why Abigail Breslin did “Nim’s Island”: to play with sea lions. We forgive you, sweetie. Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler, on the other hand, have some ‘splaining to do.

8. Made of Honor
Made all the more sickening by the fact that this will stand as Sydney Pollack’s final performance. He steals the movie, but the movie he’s stealing isn’t worthy of his presence.

9. Married Life
A black romantic dramedy that’s neither dark, nor funny, nor romantic.

10. The Spirit
“NO EGG ON MY FACE!” Um, I don’t know how to tell you this, Sam, but this movie is one giant piece o’ egg on your face.

Well made, but repulsive in every other regard

Funny Games
Few movies will make you angrier than this self-serving cheat of a film. It’s basically two hours of director Michael Haneke saying, “Fuck you America, you violent, brutish thugs.” America responded by (rightly) ignoring his film. I guess we’re not as brutish as you thought, Michael, and what does it say about you that you tried to profit from our supposed misery? Douchebag.

My co-workers saw them so I didn’t have to

Meet the Spartans
Strange Wilderness
Disaster Movie
88 Minutes
Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

Bonus points to that last movie when cast member Mike Epps gave us quite possibly the worst interview ever.

“Snakes on a Plane” award for Movie Title of the Year

“The Midnight Meat Train.” And surprise, it actually wasn’t that bad.

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