Happy Anniversary: Jimmy Fallon — From Taxi to The Tonight Show

by Ethan Alter February 19, 2014 12:16 pm
Happy Anniversary: Jimmy Fallon — From <I>Taxi</i> to <I>The Tonight Show</i>

Monday night marked the beginning of Jimmy Fallon's career as the host of NBC's venerable The Tonight Show, a job that -- based on his predecessor -- he'll either have for three decades or nine months. In an amusing bit of timing, Fallon's promotion to late night's top spot arrives exactly ten years after his bid to become an A-list movie star. That's right, 2004 was the year Taxi zoomed into theaters… and then zoomed out again just as quickly, effectively ending Fallon's big-screen career. In case you don't recall (and honestly, why would you), the wacky buddy comedy cast the then recent-Saturday Night Live refugee as a bumbling cop with a deep-seated fear of driving who teams up with a road crazy taxi driver (Queen Latifah) to take down a crew of smoking hot bank robbers… because that's what happens in wacky buddy comedies. To mark the occasion of Fallon's new gig, I watched Taxi and his maiden Tonight Show episode back-to-back to see how they stacked up against each other.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 18, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spider-Man isn't the only Sam Raimi-directed superhero capable of swinging over rooftops...

<I>Winter’s Tale</i>: If You Are Looking For Romance On Valentine’s Day… Look Elsewhere

Admittedly it's my fault that the only things I knew about this movie is what I'd garnered from the trailer, as I somehow missed this book when it came out in the early '80s, even though it is entirely the kind of story my pre-teen self would have adored. Perhaps if I'd even seen the book cover I'd have been more prepared for the fantasy elements of this story, as the trailer made it seem more like an epic love story about a man who stayed alive in order to see the woman he loved again. It also led me to believe this was a reincarnation tale, or something of that ilk, not a tale of a battle between good and evil. After sitting through the two hours of the movie, I feel like that time could have been better spent sitting down and reading the beloved book, because the special effects elements make this lofty tale into a silly parade through time.

Indie Snapshot: Adult World

by Ethan Alter February 14, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Adult World</i>

Remember the John Cusack who made you think kickboxing and putting "In Your Eyes" on boombox blast was the height of cool? The John Cusack who warmed your heart by helping out young runaway Natty Gann? Or, hell, even the John Cusack who took you on a weird, wild trip through John Malkovich's brain? Well, that John Cusack is mostly gone, but for the first time in a very long time, remnants of him can be seen in Adult World, the sophomore feature from actor Scott Coffey, whose career dates back to the '80s when Cusack was a king of Young Hollywood. Though they never appeared in a film together in that era, Coffey clearly remembers the dashing figure that Cusack once cut and he draws on some of that nostalgia for the role the actor is playing here: a once-hot, now-not poet named Rat Billings, who has spent the past decade or so neglecting his talent by teaching classes and editing anthologies he doesn't really care about and in general holding the world at arm's length via a curt, caustic attitude. In fact, if he hadn't already called the movie Adult World, The John Cusack Story would be an appropriate title.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 11, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And now his game has ended.

I Want My VOD: February 2014

by Ethan Alter February 10, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My VOD: February 2014

Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman venture beyond the valley of the Dollhouse in the VOD feature, Lust for Love.

The Lego Movie: A Whole Lotta Awesome

by Ethan Alter February 7, 2014 6:05 am
<i>The Lego Movie:</i> A Whole Lotta Awesome

I adore The Lego Movie for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller -- the team that proved there was a great movie that could be made out of 21 Jump Street -- are obvious fans of The Matrix. And I'm not just talking about the first film in that franchise, which provides this one with its central narrative spine, i.e. an ordinary guy learning that there are worlds beyond his own and that he may be the chosen one with the power necessary to defend them from extinction. I'm also referring to the lesser-loved (undeservedly so) sequels, which venture to narrative realms and traverse thematic ground uncommon for a spectacle of its type. Not to spoil anything specific here, but The Lego Movie has more than a few strands of Reloaded and Revolutions woven into its DNA, particularly as our tiny, yellow Neo stand-in Emmett (exuberantly voiced by Chris Pratt) grasps his way towards a rousing victory as well as a state of higher consciousness about his place in a carefully constructed multi-verse.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, Febuary 4, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 4, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, Febuary 4, 2014

Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto are about to join the club... of Oscar winners.

Super Bowl 2014: Judging the Movie Trailers

by Ethan Alter February 3, 2014 11:43 am
Super Bowl 2014: Judging the Movie Trailers

We recap the big, blowout movie trailers glimpsed during last night's big, blowout game.

The Most Awkward Things about That Awkward Moment

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2014 6:00 am
The Most Awkward Things about <i>That Awkward Moment</i>

As the film goes out of its way to explain to us, the title of the new guy-centric relationship dramedy That Awkward Moment refers to that strange halfway point between a casual hook-up and a real romance. But it's also an accurate description of the movie's content: this tedious, originality-starved run through familiar rom-com tropes is basically one long awkward moment. It's a film that for everyone involved -- including stars Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller along with writer/directror Tom Gormican -- would be wise to quietly put behind them… like puberty or admitting that you cried at the end of Marley & Me. Here are the most awkward things about this entirely awkward movie.

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