Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Movie Musings.

We're taking a break today from prepared articles and research to touch on the topics that have popped up in our weekend news crawls. 

We we're sad to see the passing of Charlton Heston over the weekend. As much as Mr. Heston's body of work was impressive, our first reflection was of him playing Robert Neville in 1971's The Omega Man, the first adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend. The novel, now having seen it's third adaptation to film with Will Smith's blockbuster last year, was typical of the kind of post apocalyptic science fiction that saw popularity in the seventies and spawned the tremendous and enduring success of Planet of the Apes and it's subsequent sequels.

The online movie database lists over one hundred entries in Mr. Heston's acting resume and includes some of the most iconic roles of the 50's, 60's and 70's. An extraordinary legacy that includes Moses, Judah Ben Hur, Michelangelo, Marc Antony and Henry VIII. Heston's mark in science fiction included not only the role of Robert Neville, but also Detective Robert Thorn in the '73 classic, Soylent Green. As George Taylor, he provided the human eyes, that opened to the upside down evolution of the first Planet of the Apes (1968),  reprising the role once with Beneath the Planet of the Apes in 1970. Finally, with the release of the Planet of the Apes remake in 2001, he got to see things from the "ape" point of view, with his uncredited cameo, playing Zaius, in a single scene with Zaius' son Thade, played, I'm sure with much delight, by Tim Roth. With much respect, we wish the family and friends of Charlton Heston great comfort and warmth in the memories of an actor's life well lived. For a brief CBS retrospective of Charlton Heston's life, click over to Moviedozer's Video News Feed.

Moving on with our Monday... we we're taken, but not surprised by box-office numbers that flattened the resurgence of screwball 40's-style sports comedies attempted by George Clooney's Leatherheads. It's easy to dismiss George's efforts but the truth is, Clooney has been behind some of our absolute favorite films. There hasn't been much better than Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) for contemporary history based screenwriting (for which Clooney and writer Grant Heslov received Academy Award nominations). His performance in Three Kings (1999) and Syriana (2005) showed appealing grit and his penchant for comic timing are best showcased in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and the near perfect Intolerable Cruelty (2003) opposite Catherine Zeta Jones. Speaking for Moviedozer, we put last year's Michael Clayton, as the the best picture of 2007, with Clooney anchoring positively brilliant performances from virtually every other member of the cast. With two new films already in the wings, we'll count Leatherheads as a blip, not unlike the throughly lost effort that was Ocean's Twelve. One more thing of note... a special and sincere nod to Clooney, for choosing to honor his hometown and their support for his movie, by holding the movie's full-fanfare premiere back home in Maysville, KY. For a glimpse at the premiere, click the video in our Moviedozer Videos feature on the right.

Remember the weekend Alvin and the Chipmunks went CGI? That was back last December. The makers of the film sure as hell remember, they raked in more than 44 mil. that weekend, with three rodents that started as cartoons some 40 years ago. After it's initial run, Alvin and Co. had taken in more than 350 million worldwide. A few weeks ago, an elephant and some imaginary creatures from the mind of children's story genius Theodore Seuss Geisel, went CGI and Horton Hears a Who! grabbed the number one slot at the box-office for two weeks running. With an opening north of 45 mil. and worldwide numbers already climbing past the 200 million mark, Hollywood will be absolutely furious to find more chestnut animation to squeeze through the magic CGI machine.

Horton is only past his third week as a movie star but Disney and Pixar must be taking note. For everyone trying to crank out computer animation and litter their production floors with deep layers of cash, it seems that enduring characters in richly textured stories are still key. Funny how that should seem obvious.

Finally, we'll take a shot at plugging a little of what's new over at our home site, We've been in the midst of lots of redesign & refurbishment and some of the results are starting to surface.

If you haven't been lately, go check out our refreshed Trailer Takes page. You can click posters to watch lots of new movie trailers and also read our quick takes and feature trailer reviews. Thanks to the folks at Trailer Addict, you can also watch our Spotlight Trailer right on our site (with great sound and picture resolution) and start planning you're blockbuster summer trips to the movies. Our current Spotlight is on Ben Stiller's upcoming comedy Tropic Thunder, and the trailer is the funniest we've seen in years.

We've also added a Movie News feed to our front page Previews and a companion Moviedozer Video News feed on the Pulling Focus page. There's lots of new technology hitting our pages and we'd love to hear what you think. Drop us an email or add a comment here and we'll do our best to please.

Thanks as always for stopping by at Dailies. Next up, we'll be taking a look at one of our favorite Hollywood Hucksters, George Lucas. We've said it before... we love George but he's really starting to feel like our nutty Uncle in the movie business. We'll tell you what's up with George (and his ever present Star Wars projects) next at Moviedozer Dailies.

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