So Long Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Many Thanks For the Movies, Stories, and AIDS Foundation 


Elizabeth Taylor, the grande dame of Hollywood, has passed away early Wednesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. She was 79.

Surrounded by her children, Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton, Taylor closed her eyes and joined other classic Hollywood icons to live in cinema heaven.

In a statement to ABC News, her son, Michael, said: "My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts."


Instead of sending flowers, her family has asked that contributions be made to Taylor's longtime passion -- her AIDS Foundation. (You can make donations and contributions by clicking here)

You can also write personal messages to her Facebook page right here.

Taylor starred in more than 50 films. Born in northwest London in 1932, her first movie was "There's One Born Every Minute" when she was just nine years old. (Taylor in Pictures Through the Years)

If you guys haven't seen her two Academy Award-winning performances, watching them would make great homages. She won for "Butterfield 8," a movie that can be deemed campy now, but her searing performance as a prostitute lives on. (Watch when Taylor accepted her Oscar for "Butterfield 8")

My favorite, which I always try to see every now and then, is "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." It's a cinematic spitfire from director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Ernest Lehman from a story by Edward Albee. Watch Taylor's fiery performance as she dukes it out with Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis. (See "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" trailer right here)

Like a true Hollywood legend, Taylor's career is marked by world-renowned beauty, acting, failed marriages, and unmitigated passion towards helping her community and fellowmen, her AIDS foundation.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor will be missed :sad

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"Sucker Punch" Movie Review -- How Many Kisses Do Zack Snyder and His Five Young Rebels Get? 


Director Zack Snyder has taken us into his stylized Battle of Thermopylae in the hit “300,” and subverted the notion of superheroes in “Watchmen.” Now, the filmmaker is asking us to open our minds for his epic action opus, “Sucker Punch,” a fantasy-within-a-fantasy film that packs a mean wallop.

The film depends highly on Snyder’s flamboyant visual flair. The one-time music video and commercial director knows how to tell stories through emblazoned images. Indeed, “Sucker Punch” is part music video and part videogame that is one-hundred percent entertaining.

Music plays a major part in the movie. Babydoll’s (Emily Browning) psyche and fantasy are told through songs. The opening montage introducing the character features Browning singing “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics as we see haunting images of Babydoll and her sister and their abusive stepfather (Gerard Plunkett). Read More...

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Moviegoers Swallow "Limitless" Pill! Bradley Cooper Thriller Tops Box-Office! 


"Limitless" took the top spot at the box-office this past weekend. The Relativity Media sci-fi thriller starring Bradley Cooper debuted at No. 1 with $19 million. ("Limitless" review)

Co-starring Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, "Limitless" is a fun, intriguing film from director Neil Burger. It asks the question -- if there's a drug that can tap into your maximum brain potential, will you take it?

Previous weekend's box-office champ, "Battle: Los Angeles," dropped to No. 3 with $14.6 million. So far, the Sony Pictures alien invasion movie has made $60.6 million at the box-office.

Coming in at No. 2 was the Johnny Depp/Gore Verbinski animation collaboration "Rango." The Paramount flick made $15.3 million with a $92.6 million box-office total. ("Rango" movie review)

The other two new releases duked it out for the fourth and fifth place. "The Lincoln Lawyer" featuring Matthew McConaughey entered at No. 4 with $13.4 million, while "Paul" starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and the voice of Seth Rogen as a wisecracking, pot-smoking alien debuted at No. 5 with $13.2 million. ("Paul" movie review)

The bad news of the box-office weekend continued to belong to Walt Disney Pictures. Their 3-D motion-capture adventure, "Mars Needs Moms" made $5.3 million for a grand total of $15.4 million since its release. That's way off from its reported $150 million budget!

And the good news of the box-office weekend belonged to Focus Features' "Jane Eyre." In a very limited release, the Cary Fukunaga movie starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, and Judi Dench received a per-screen average of $18,377 and a domestic total of $730,901. Focus will continue to roll "Jane Eyre" into other markets by next week. ("Jane Eyre" interviews with Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, and director Cary Fukunaga)

Here's the list of the Top 10 Box-Office films for weekend of March 18:

1. "Limitless," $19 million.

2. "Rango," $15.3 million.

3. "Battle: Los Angeles," $14.6 million.

4. "The Lincoln Lawyer," $13.4 million.

5. "Paul," $13.2 million

6. "Red Riding Hood," $7.3 million.

7. "The Adjustment Bureau," $5.9 million

8. "Mars Needs Moms!" $5.3 million.

9. "Beastly," $3.3 million.

10. "Hall Pass," $2.6 million.

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Rest Easy Naysayers, "Sucker Punch" is Actually GOOD! Here's Why... 


I must admit I was reluctant to watching "Sucker Punch." Rumors abound that Warner Bros. pulled director Zack Snyder from helming the "300" sequel, "Xerxes," because of the horrible early cuts of "Sucker Punch." But Warner Bros. announced its intent was to have Snyder concentrate on the "Superman" reboot he's working on with producer Christopher Nolan.

After watching "Sucker Punch" last night, I now believe that the studio pulled Snyder from "Xerxes" so he could concentrate on his Man of Steel project. Why?

Because "Sucker Punch" is actually good! Like the film's tagline, I was unprepared!

Note -- this is not my full review of the movie, this is just my stream of consciousness to help me crystallize my thoughts on the film.

First, what you see in the trailer is what you get! WB is not duping you by hyping the movie. It is a balls-out, guns-out fantasy-within-a-fantasy film that packs a mean wallop!

Second, Snyder and company subvert the film's melodramatic nature (a girl abused by her stepfather gets thrown into an insane asylum) by letting the audience peek into Baby Doll's (Emily Browning) imaginary world.

Third, Scott Glenn rocks! He's the Yoda, the Dumbledore, the Gandalf of the movie. The Zen Master that showed Baby Doll the road to freedom. It's a role that would have been perfect for David Carradine.

Fourth, though the character development of the surrounding cast was inept, the chemistry of the five girls Baby Doll, Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) was palpable. You can tell they really like each other on-off screen.

Fifth, I love the soundtrack. The music plays an important role in the movie. Plus points for Browning for singing Sweet Dreams.

Sixth, the fantasy worlds and the real world were equally given ample weight. So when you're in and out of the dream/fantasy, you're always in for a ride.

Seventh...and this is a biggie, the film's pure visceral energy!

That's all I'm going to tell you right now, I'm just psyched after watching "Sucker Punch" especially when I was not looking forward to doing so!

Now, I have a lot of issues to talk to the cast and Synder. That, of course, will be posted here...very soon!

P.S. I LOVE THE WEAPONS! And how each of the weapons is represented by each of the characters.

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Watch "Limitless" and "Paul" Movie Reviews 


(For my written review of "Paul," click here)

Here's more info on "Limitless" from Yahoo:

GENRES: Drama, Thriller and Adaptation
IN THEATERS: March 18th, 2011
MPAA: PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language.
Aspiring author Eddie Morra's life changes when an old friend introduces him to NZT, a new drug that lets him tap his full potential.

Cast & Crew
STARRING:
Bradley Cooper ........................................................................................ Eddie Morra
Robert De Niro ........................................................................................ Carl Van Loon
Abbie Cornish ........................................................................................ Lindy
Anna Friel ........................................................................................ Melissa
Johnny Whitworth ........................................................................................ Vernon Gant
Andrew Howard ........................................................................................ Gennady
Robert John Burke ........................................................................................ Pierce
Tomas Arana ........................................................................................ Tan Coat
T.V. Carpio ........................................................................................ Valerie
DIRECTED BY:
Neil Burger

Here's more info on "Paul" from Yahoo:

For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town -- a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings. Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.

Genres: Comedy and Science Fiction/Fantasy
Release Date: March 18th, 2011 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references and some drug use.
Distributors: Universal Pictures

Cast and Credits
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader
Directed by: Greg Mottola
Produced by: Liza Chasin, Robert Graf, Natascha Wharton

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