Oscar History

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Entries in Ahnuld (8)


Review: Maggie

Michael C. here to review Maggie

The buzz on Henry Hobson’s Maggie has focused on the novelty of blockbuster icon Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in a low-budget indie drama, which is akin to seeing Daniel Day-Lewis star in a Farrelly brother’s comedy. There is an undeniable fascination in seeing one of filmdom’s most famous men-of-action play a character defined by his powerlessness. The invincible violence machine that once laid waste to entire armies single-handedly now gets into a believable hand-to-hand struggle with some schmuck deputy sheriff and almost loses.

Arnold’s performance is one of the main reasons to see Maggie, and it doesn’t need to operate on that meta-level to work. There is nary a trace of the one-time blockbuster God on the screen this time out. There are no quips. No poses. No winks to the camera. As Wade, Schwarzenegger’s star charisma remains in tact, only this time it is tempered by a new vulnerability. Set well into an unfolding zombie apocalypse, all Wade wants is to rescue his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) from the zombie virus with which she is infected, but we watch those Mr. Universe shoulders droop under the weight of sadness as Maggie’s veins gradually turn black and congeal. This disease is one enemy Arnold can’t destroy.


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Say What, Arnold & Abigail

Amuse us by adding dialogue or a caption to this image of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin in the forthcoming zombie movie Maggie which will apparently premiere at TIFF

The winner will pick the next banner theme. You may have noticed the banner uptop recently changed to a "stankface" theme courtesy of recent winner JoFo


Twins: Electro & Mr Freeze

Have you seen the first official still of Electro (Jamie Foxx) from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is it, albeit quite, um, altered by my photoshoppin' whimsy.

Can The Amazing Spider-Man 2 be as terrible as I want it to be? I mean please please please for the love of all that is holy in comic book cinema please don't be just dull and bland and redundant like The Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Please be just straight-up terrible so that you're fun to hate! Like Batman and Robin (1997)!


Link Wars Episode IV: A New Blog

MNPP on Keep the Lights On in 250 words or less. Good insights here - love the ending - though JA likes the film more than I do.
Deadline Upcoming 3D conversions of all Star Wars movies cancelled. Thank god. Every day I pray to the movie gods to take the plague of 3D and its conversions away from us!
Two Dollar Cinema heads to The Last Stand on account of a childhood spent with Arnold Schwarzenegger movies
The Film Doctor 10 questions about Silver Linings Playbook


Stale Popcorn takes in Xavier Dolan's Lawrence Anyways. I love Dolan but I'm scared of this one - three hour dramas are hard to pull off. 
Vulture interviews Steven Soderbergh who apparently really is retiring now.
Movie|Line is the upcoming Brad Bird/George Clooney feature Tomorrowland (previously title 1952) about early space travel?
In Contention will Argo be a Driving Miss Daisy or an Apollo 13
The Carpetbagger Mistakes were made on the marketing of Django and The Master 

And did you see Matt Damon talking to Nicole Kidman a few nights back on Jimmy Kimmel Live Jimmy Kimmel Sucks?

Hilarious. Nicole Kidman can steal my utensils any time she'd like. 


"Cast This!" Box Office Special: Female Expendables?

Sylvester Stallone and his team of aged action heroes ruled the box office with their high-octane throwback The Expendables 2. The title is perfect because it's the kind of disposable flick you can imagine people watching half-assed for years on end on cable while eating, cleaning, making phone calls, taking a sick day, you name it.

Top o' the Box Office *newbies in bold*
02 THE BOURNE LEGACY $17 (cum $69.5)
04 THE CAMPAIGN $11.8 (cum. $51.6)
05 SPARKLE $12 ...more on this one soon 
06 DARK KNIGHT RISES $12 (Cum. $409.9) Review

The Expendables franchise is weirdly sexist -- how can you have like a dozen action stars per movie (*stars* being a smudgey concept here once you're past the one name icons), many of them past their prime, and never include any of the women who've led or played a major hand in action hits in any decade? Yes, they exist! Word is out that the producers are planning on backing a female heavy edition of the franchise, a spin-off if you will. Why we're not allowed to have a co-ed Expendables I do not know. 

But let's help the producers out by casting it for them in the comments.
I'll start right here with six must-haves from Nathaniel's Crowded Actressexual Brain


  • Sigourney Weaver -- seriously, if she's not already at the tippity top of the "throw money at her" list, they're imbeciles.
  • Michelle Yeoh -- always riveting when she fights and a damn good actress, too.
  • Linda Hamilton - Duh! Even her name is tough.
  • Milla Jovovich - knows her away around an action scene and will get naked for your R rating
  • Daryl Hannah - because she's an awesomely imposing amazon (think Blade Runner and Kill Bill) and doesn't get nearly enough work 
  • Pam Grier - because think of the fun they could have referencing her fame-making work. Razors in an afro please! 

Once I got started I couldn't stop. I literally thought of 22 more actresses who would be perfect while collecting these photos -- like give me a scene of Run Franka Potente Run. Even if it's just a cameo! -- including recent action divas like Léa Seydoux (so very hawt in Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol or Kate Beckinsale (fresh in the brain on account of Total Recall).

But I don't want to hog all the fun. Which actresses would you line up to see in a huge dumb explosive ensemble actioner? Give me at least six of your favorite options, preferrably ten, ranked, in the comments. Maybe we'll revisit this once we have all your lists.

Ready... set... GO!



Personal Canon #86: T2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991)

For the 20th anniversary of the James Cameron classic Terminator 2, Judgment Day a reposting of the Personal Canon essay on the film, easily one of the best actioners of all time with a performance by Linda Hamilton which rivals Sigourney Weaver's Ripley badassery ...and that's a nearly impossible feat.

T2: Judgment Day (1991)  Directed by James Cameron | Screenplay by James Cameron and William Wisher Jr | Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Joe Morton, S Epatha Merkerson and introducing Edward Furlong | Released 07/03/1991

Once the big profits for the small budgeted The Terminator began rolling in in October of '84, James Cameron became a hot commodity. He wasted no time on the follow up. Twenty-one months later the release of the much larger sci-fi spectacle Aliens (1986 -- to be celebrated here very soon) catapulted him from "filmmaker to watch" to the real deal. His long absence from the multiplex -- Avatar's December 2009 bow ended a 12 year drought -- made it easy to forget this basic truth: the director once moved swiftly through the stages of filmmaking if never quite as rapidly as his movies moved through their action. After Aliens, he left outer space for the deep seas with The Abyss (another hit) and having proved himself thrice over, returned to the killer robots that made his name.

"Model Citizen"
The Terminator cost 6 million to make, Terminator 2: Judgment Day would cost 100 million plus. The budget wasn't the only thing exploding: salaries, visual effects, setpieces, ambition, and public reaction were all supersized. Yet for all of this exponential external growth, Cameron smartly kept his focus tight and intimate.

Early shots give you the color scheme: fiery reds|steel blues. (Michael Edwards as JC.)

Sarah Connor's opening narration and the imagery of post-apocalyptic LA it plays over, both review the first movie and download Cameron's game plan for the sequel.

The computer which controlled the machines, Skynet, sent two terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy the leader of the human resistance, John Connor my son. The first terminator was programmed to strike at me in the year 1984 before John was born. It failed. The second was set to strike at John himself when he was still a child. As before the resistance was able to send a lone warrior, a protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first.

In other words, it's more of the same... only bigger which we notice immediately by way of shinier effects and massive fireball explosions. This repeat template is familiar but it won't be comfortable. We're also going deeper. The story structure is varied only enough to reflect the passage of time. But what has that passage of time wrought?

Upgrade U: The origin T-800 (Arnold) and the leaner meaner T-1000 (Robert Patrick)

As before... two naked men arriving from the future are introduced first. Once clothes are violently procured, their target is immediately identified by text (a phone book in the first film, a police car monitor in the second). Cut to target: John Connor (Edward Furlong). He's even introduced with a shot of a motorbike just like his mother was in 1984. So far so remarkably similar. This makes the slight tweaks stand out all the more. First, the film is more self consciously "funny" (the "Born to Be Bad" accompaniment to the T-800's intro). Second, both visitors from the future are instantly portrayed as formidable threats rather than as a David and Goliath mismatch. Third... where the hell is Sarah Connor?

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Tech Noir "The Terminator" 

This article was originally published in summer 2009. [Thanks to Leave Me The White for some of the screencaps] I'm reposting with minor edits in celebration of the 20th anniversary of its sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day on this 4th of July Weekend.  Plus, what's more American than spectacles of Hollywood violence that launced billion dollar franchises?

Arnold Schwarzenegger as "The Terminator"

"Tech Noir"
In March of 1984 when The Terminator began filming, the director James Cameron and the producer Gale Ann Hurd were no Hollywood heavyweights. Cameron was no one's idea of a visionary (except for perhaps his own) and had only one feature under his belt, Piranha 2: The Spawning -- auspicious beginnings! Hurd had learned the production ropes on B movies for Roger Corman. Cameron and Hurd intended for the dark, fast and cheaply made robot movie to be their calling card. Seven months later in October the movie premiered with only its deceptively simple premise (killer machine hunts woman) and Conan the Barbarian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to sell it. The Terminator was an immediate hit, though not quite a blockbuster. It earned a Conan-like $38 million gross in its initial run (which I believe is something roughly in the ballpark of $100 million in today's ticket sales).

As a franchise it was a slow starter but as a stand alone movie The Terminator was anything but. The movie begins with a bone crushing (literally) view of "The Year of Darkness", in which massive machines hunt humans in desolate post-apocalyptic ruins. Very quickly we're thrown back to present day Los Angeles ...present day in in the 80s at least.

An electric storm begins and a naked crouching man rises from the clearing smoke. He proceeds to walk emotionless through LA and slaughters some punks for clothes. A second electrical storm follows dropping another naked man into downtown LA. The twin sequences are mostly wordless but already Cameron's story instincts are shining: The first man (we don't technically know he's a machine) is already embedded in the audiences mind as an cool collected deadly force to be reckoned with, the second Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is, in contrast, a scurrying, less capable and frankly desperate looking man.

Contrasting Entrances

In short, he's mortal.

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BFCA Live Blog

8:55 Keith Urban announces that he is "not afraid to cry." Good thing because he's married to Nicole Kidman! Not to imply that she's difficult but she can access the heavy soul-shattering stuff.

8:57 Oh hi! Live Blog. Why am I doing this? Does anyone watch this? Refresh your screens!

8:58 Jeff Bridges is doing his Rooster Cogburn voice for the press guy? Does he feel like a performing seal?

9:04 Arnold Schwarzenegger emerges to open the show. Noooo... I was about to predict that Ahnuld would say "I'm back" or "I'll be back" or some lame Terminator pun that we'd enjoy as a guilty pleasure but no. He's being sincere. [gasp]. That's no adjective with which to open a show.

9:06 Ahnuld...

"I invented not speaking English correctly"

Okay that was funny. Albeit subtle funny which is always a tough sell during awards show.

9:07 Quick show of hands. Who believes that Ahnuld saw Black Swan three times in the theater as he claims?




9:10 THE FIGHTER wins Best Ensemble. I'm glad they let Jack McGee accept. He was really special in the background, don't you think? He made you believe that he could handle and was even happily married to Melissa Leo's Crazy! That's an achievement in authentic masochism. Go McGee.

9:17 Hailee Steinfeld wins Best Young Actor/Actress. Chloe Moretz is undoubtedly pissed. Hailee thanks "everyone in here. And the Lord." I always think it's funny when celebrities thank God when they beat other celebrities to prizes. If God is that guy cares about who wins movie awards than... ohmygod. I AM GOD!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP including made for tv movie titles, blonde Emma, Natalie skinny/pregnant and armpit licking.

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