In 1969, Americans first went to the moon. The challenges were daunting, including finding and training the men who would make those early, dangerous, pioneering probes into near-earth space—men who had, in the words of the Thomas Wolfe book on which this 1983 movie was based, “the right stuff.”
This is the compelling story of those first Mercury astronauts, who paved the way for that “One giant leap for mankind” moment. It’s also the story of uber test pilot Chuck Yeager—never an astronaut but the first man to break the sound barrier.
When high-school baseball coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) was looking for a way to inspire his perennially losing team to win, he decided to issue a challenge they couldn't refuse. If they made it to the district playoffs, he would try out for a major-league baseball team. Fortunately for Morris, his team fulfilled their part of the bargain, and he went to the tryout in which his fast ball was clocked at 98 mph! It wasn't long before Jim found himself pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a 35-year-old rookie. The best part of the story is that it actually happened in 1999.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/403rookie.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When high-school baseball coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) was looking for a way to inspire his perennially losing team to win, he decided to issue a challenge they couldn't refuse. If they made it to the district playoffs, he would try out for a major-league baseball team. Fortunately for Morris, his team fulfilled their part of the bargain, and he went to the tryout in which his fast ball was clocked at 98 mph! It wasn't long before Jim found himself pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a 35-year-old rookie. The best part of the story is that it actually happened in 1999.
Writer/director Wes Anderson’s artsy comedies are so distinct, you’d never mistake a single frame of his movies for anyone else’s. 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums showcases many of his hallmarks and themes: a mixed family of blood and adopted relatives separating and then banding together to overcome collective dysfunction, oddly brilliant characters whose clothes are identity uniforms, a simultaneous embracing and lampooning of academia, a labyrinthine set that functions like a cross between a playhouse and a fort, and a nice role for the great character actor Seymour Cassel. It’s Anderson’s most polarizing film in terms of accessibility, but it’s also his funniest.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/rundown.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, stars as Beck, a bounty hunter sent to the Amazon jungle to fetch Travis (Seann William Scott), the son of his wealthy boss. With a $250,000 bounty on his head, Travis is Beck's meal ticket to his dream of opening his own restaurant.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/shawshankredemption.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Based on the short story by Stephen King, <i>The Shawshank Redemption</i>'s central character is Andy Dufrane (Tim Robbins), a banker convicted of killing his wife and her country-club lover—a crime he didn't commit. With nothing to look forward to but a life behind bars, Andy befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), the prison's virtual Wal-Mart "who can get things." Unbeknownst to Red, one of Andy's first requisitions helps him escape the confines of prison life. Over the next 19 years, Andy adapts to his surroundings and eventually puts his financial skills to work for the corrupt warden (Bob Gunton).
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/simpsons20.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When <i>The Simpsons</i> first appeared on "The Tracey Ullman Show" in 1987 I doubt anyone would have thought it would win 25 Emmy awards, become the longest-running American sitcom, and eventually surpass <i>Gunsmoke</i> as the longest running primetime series with over 450 episodes.
Surely Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are two of the more interesting people working in Hollywood right now. With his diverse mile-long résumé and her Oscar nomination (for co-writing Bridesmaids) and indie cred, plus their shared Saturday Night Live pedigree, we never know quite what we’ll get next from them. The Skeleton Twins is not their first big-screen pairing, but it’s their most significant, as they play same-age sibs Maggie and Milo, estranged for the past 10 years and now suddenly reunited as they grapple with their own issues.
The stunning tale of a new breed of cultural insurgent: a punk genius who sparked a revolution and changed the face of human interaction for a generation, and perhaps forever. Shot through with emotional brutality and unexpected humor, this superbly crafted film chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website's unfathomable success.
Until I sat down to watch this, my favorite film of 2010 was Inceptionit's now second. Aaron Sorkin, best known for "The West Wing," adapted the script from Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaires" and takes what could have been a dull topic and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Under David Fincher's direction, there's plenty of humor, drama, and heartbreak it's interesting to see how Zuckerberg's socially retarded behavior costs him his best friend but in the process he builds his dream.
The Social Network opens with a conversation between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend (Rooney Mara), and it's the perfect setup for a movie about a certain form of Internet interaction.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/soloist.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT><I>Los Angeles Times</I> newspaper columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers a brilliant but homeless street musician (Jamie Foxx) with a Julliard education. The man clearly has some psychological issues, but a unique bond of friendship develops between the two men that transforms both of their lives.
Dave (Jay Baruchel) is not your average NYU student; he's the heir to Merlin's powerful magic. Recruited by the sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicholas Cage) to help him battle the forces of darkness in modern-day Manhattan, he's forced into a crash course in the art and science of magic. Can he fulfill his destiny?
Loosely based on Fantasia's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) reunite to deliver an over-the-top thrill ride. Cage and Baruchel are awesome as master and apprentice who persevere through an overcomplicated script. The action scenes are extremely well shot and the CGI is quite good, especially when Dave coerces the mop into cleaning duty.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/spiderwick.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Seeking to escape her failed marriage, Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) moves her three children away from New York City to a country home left to her by an insane aunt. The children soon discover that the old house harbors many mysteries, and Jared (Freddie Highmore) finds his great-great uncle Spiderwick's Field Guide, which reveals the unbelievable truth about the Spiderwick Estate—a secret world of fantastical creatures hidden from normal view.