Archive for the ‘Zac Efron’ Category

New And News: The Beginning And End Of A Great Love Letter

February 1, 2010

Here at TBOJ, I like to start each week with a little column called New And News, in which I take a quick look at the new movies entering theaters this week,and then share some of my favorite recent news stories that have caught my eye.  This week, we’ve got a pair of new movies whose titles seem like they were meant to go together: Dear John and From Paris With Love.  Couldn’t that be the opening and closing of a romantic letter from a girl named Paris?  I think so.  Anyway, the two movies couldn’t be more different thematically, and each is hoping to find an audience that could take down Avatar this weekend, though that’s probably not going to happen.  Click inside for a preview of each film, as well as some news about Redbox stations, Paranormal Activity 2 controversy, and the continued bastardization of the Spider-Man franchise.

New:

Dear John (Sony) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews

This movie has framed itself as a pure romance, which is a genre we rarely see at the box office- especially with young stars like Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  None of the cutesy-fun humor of a romantic comedy seems to be present in Dear John, which tells the somber story of a college girl separated from her soldier boyfriend.  As the title implies, the lovers write passionate letters back and forth to one another, and somehow, I’m sure they’ll be reunited in the end.  Advertising has been very strong, and the song in the trailer is genuinely enthralling.  I don’t know if there’s been better music in a trailer since “Jesus Walks” in the trailer for Jarhead.  It’ll be interesting to see how Dear John does this weekend, but it could be a surprise box office hit.

From Paris With Love (Lionsgate) – 2,600 theaters – Reviews

Fresh off Edge Of Darkness‘ debut, we have yet another action movie with an older male actor in need of career boost.  This time, a bald, goateed John Travolta is the man toting the gun, as he plays an American agent hoping to prevent a terrorist attack in France.  With a similar film having just debuted and a pretty generic story, I wouldn’t expect From Paris With Love to do much better than Edge Of Darkness did last weekend.

News:

Wal-Mart And Target Won’t Sell Something?!?!

Redbox kiosks and Netflix, with their gigantic collections of DVDs, have been making rather handy work of killing the DVD retail industry.  Other retailers have refused to sell DVDs to Redbox employees, which allows people to rent films for just $1, but until now, Wal-Mart and Target have done so.  Well, the two retail giants are finally taking sides, and according to Variety, they are now instituting a purchasing limit of 5 DVDs per customer, in an effort to combat Redbox collections being built so quickly.  Interesting.

Saw 3D And Paranormal Activity 2: This Is War

First they chose the same release date on October 22nd.  Then, they chose the same director.  Paramount wants Kevin Greutert to direct Paranormal Activity 2, but Lionsgate has also offered him Saw 3D.  Right now, things are incredibly tense between the two studios, but someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose, and either way, it’s going to get bloody. Deadline broke the news.

Zac-Efron May Be The New Spider-Man

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!

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Top Five Movies Where People Appear To Be Different Ages Than They Actually Are But Use This To Gain Some Sort Of Insight Into Their Life

April 16, 2009

Last week it was Miley Cyrus, this week another Disney protege is attacking theaters across the country in the most original movie since… Every other movie ever made in this genre. 17 Again (itself a remake of the 1989 movie 18 Again. Why they felt it necessary to knock off a year is beyond me. Perhaps the pornographic connotations surrounding 18?…) tells the story of a man approaching middle-age with the apprehension and nostalgia everybody faces. Due to what looks like a magic whirlpool and a magician janitor, he is thrown into his seventeen year old body and allowed to be young again. Sound familiar? It should. No doubt there will be humorous antics as this man-child protects his daughter from the evil boys trying to date her and eventually realizes that ‘being young is hard,’ and that he should, ‘be closer with his children.’ I swear to you I have read no spoilers, but I guarantee you that’s what happens. Oh, there will also likely be some ‘adult situation’ he was supposed to handle, and he will now have to do it as a kid, to humorous results.

I write about this sarcastically, as if I don’t like the concept, but this isn’t entirely true. I actually tend to enjoy these movies, despite their lack of originality. 17 Again has surprisingly good reviews (at least compared to what I was predicting), and doesn’t look all bad. Yes, it’s ripe with cliche (the wise, magic janitor; the plot itself), but it actually has some potential to be a funny, light-hearted, feel-good movie. In honor of this movie hitting theaters, I will count down the top “Movies Where People Appear To Be Different Ages Than They Actually Are.”

5. Vice Versa

This film gets high marks for being original, for movies at least. Though the question remains: which film? There were 3 films made in 1918, 1937, and the most popular in 1948. As far as I can tell, the ’48 version was the first mainstream example. The plot? What the hell do you expect? A guy is given a magic stone, wishes he could have the carefree life his son, and voila. He does. They both take advantage of their new situation until they realize how hard life is for the other, and they have to relocate the lost stone to fix the situation. Evidently it’s based off a novel of the same name written in 1882, giving you some sense of how old this idea really is.

It was remade a FORTH TIME in 1988 (this era was fraught with the genre, along with box-cuts) in a movie starring Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold. It didn’t do that well at the box office and has never been all that respected critically.

4. Freaky Friday
Another one of those movies where you can ask: which version? It started as a children’s book in the seventies. The ‘classic’ film was released in 1976, there was a male version Like Father Like Son released in (guess when?) 1987, a made for TV feature in ’95, and the most recent 2003 version starring Lindsay Lohan. (tidbit: Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son, and 18 Again were all released within one year. Overkill much). The plot? A mother and daughter switch lives. The result? The mother has to deal with the difficulties of being an angst filled teenager, and the daughter has to find a way to use her youthful talents to help her mother’s career. All along, they learn to love each other more. In a surprise ending, they switch back and are better for the experience.

3. 13 Going on 30

I reluctantly include this on the list, and only do so for the respect it has received for the public at large. Personally, I don’t get it. Maybe it’s a girl thing. It’s essentially a remake of the winner on this list (an actual classic). I felt it didn’t really add anything to the genre, but was made just for the sake of it. I will say this: the movie’s charm comes almost exclusively from Jennifer Garner, who seems to enjoy the roll she is in. It garnered (get it? Garner… never mind.) pretty positive reviews and is considered a funny, albeit a retreading movie.

2. Jack
It’s not a movie you’d technically think of fitting in this genre. There’s no ‘supernatural switch,’ nobody suddenly waking up and screaming when they look into the mirror. Yet it completely fits into the absurdly long heading of this article. I would have included another Robin Williams Movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, but that was too much a stretch, since it’s only a costume that makes the person look older (it would certainly, however, make it onto the best “Going In Drag” movies, a list of only 2 movies, and the other isn’t White Chicks).

Jack however fits nicely into this list, once you accept the notion. There’s no magic in this story, no body switching or voodoo. Jack is a boy who has a rare aging disorder; he ages at four times the speed of a normal person. Thus at age 10, he appears to be 40. We see him interact with his classmates, and attempt to overcome their prejudice as he is different from everyone else. It’s a humorous, often touching movie (I defy someone not to feel sad when Jack asks his teacher, played by J-Lo, to the dance because he knows how strange it would be for the younger girls). Ultimately, it’s not about learning the difficulties of life or old age, but understanding to cherish life itself.

Note: I realize with this basis The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fits my criteria. Since I’ve made the list, I’ll say it’s too recent to tell. But it was a good movie.

1. Big

If you saw the title of this post and didn’t immediately recognize that this movie would be number one, it means one of two things: you haven’t seen it recently, or you haven’t seen it at all. Either way, you need to go watch this movie. It really did transcend a lot of it’s genres stereotypes and delivered a quality, humorous, all around great movie that helped launch Tom Hanks’ career. The plot is as generic as the others: a young boy, tired of being excluded because of his youth, makes a wish to a carnival machine to be big. His wish is granted.

It’s the rest of this movie that makes it amazing. The supporting characters are great, and it shows the beauty of youthful thinking in an adult-minded world. In the classic scene pictured at the left, Josh plays foot piano with the CEO of a company, opening his inner youth and allowing Josh to get into the big leagues with his ‘fresh ideas.’ The movie is bold in many ways: the mother thinks Josh has been kidnapped, and is an emotional wreck the entire movie, and it’s highly implied that Josh loses his virginity while in his adult state. A risky movie, considering he’s only twelve.

What is perhaps the highlight of this movie is the relationship between Josh and his best friend. As he becomes more accustomed to adult life, he loses all of that boyish charm he first exhibited so strongly and begins to alienate the boy that had helped him the entire time. He finally realizes the beauty and rareness of youth, and works to turn back the process.

Funny Moment #46, at a nice dinner party Josh eats baby corn like corn on the cob and spits out caviar into a napkin.

These stories are old, repetitive, and formulaic, but somehow mange to still be fun and popular. I think they’re so appealing because they typically allow us to imagine looking at our lives from a different perspective. We can imagine how our own mother would act around us, not recognizing our thirty year old body. We can see how they might have feelings they can’t fully express to us. Ultimately, they all call for us to cherish the present (and, of course, realizing the difficulties of being a parent/teenager).

Hannah Montana Hits Theaters, Satan Says "The Time Is Nigh For My Invasion"

April 9, 2009

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are saddling up, the moon is turning red, and the Hannah Montana movie is actually being released in theaters across America. Indeed, everything John wrote in Revelations is coming true. This means parents of tweens and boyfriends of those girls that still watch Disney channel and listen to the Jonas brothers (and, oddly, tend to be the sluttiest…strange) will be subjected to the most mind numbingly terrible movie to hit theaters since The Lizzie Mcguire Movie.

I’ve made my love for Disney clear, but I should add there is a limit. And it turns out, that limit is the trend of the Disney Tween.  I can’t see how these kids reach such a high level of stardom. High School Musical is the only musical thousands of people have seen. As a lover of good musicals, I hate it that that has to be at the forefront of the art. Have any of these kids lives ended up well? Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears have spiraled into a level of whoredom and ‘dumb bitch syndrome’ I didn’t think achievable and Hilary Duff has faded out of the limelight (she should consider herself lucky). The rare exception is Shia Labeouf, but even he sounds like he’s on the verge of an alcoholic breakdown.
Which begs the question: Is Miley Cyrus next? There’s already been leaked photos on the internet of her showing more skin than someone her age should, and she became a common joke when she posed in a magazine hugging her dad’s waist in a slightly too sexual way. She’s rapidly approaching that eighteenth birthday, where I predict there will be a ‘great unraveling’ (both metaphorically, and physically, as her clothes will most certainly be scarce).
Though, I’m not sure we’ll make it there, as it’s clear the Doomsday clock is at ten minutes to midnight awaiting the release of Hannah Montana‘s release. I, for one, will be holed up in my room with food and water, and a gun. Zombies will walk the earth, Apollyon will reign supreme, and the anti-christ will take control (could it be… Zac Efron?!) Very soon we will all be administered the mark of “HM” on our foreheads, and will be forced to live in darkness.
Pray for your souls. Hanna Montana cometh this Easter weekend, as if hell were laughing at the holiday.
P.S. Grady, please don’t kill me.