"Alvin and the Chipmunks" Sequel Gets New Director and Plot, Sort Of 

As we revealed back in May of this year, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" sequel will return to the big screen in 2010!

Now, we learned that the original director, Tim Hill, is not returning. Filling his position is Betty Thomas who's going to direct the sequel called "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel."

This second installment will introduce the Chipmunks' female counterparts, the Chipettes!

The voices of the Chipmunks -- Justin Long, Matthew Gray gubler, and Jesse McCartney -- are returning.

BUT, it is still unclear if Jason Lee (Dave) is returning.

You know why this is such a big deal for FOX 2000? Because the first film grossed more than $360 million worldwide! So what's holding Mister Jason?

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Los Angeles Film Critics Love "Wall-E" and Sean Penn 

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association truly love "Wall-E." The Pixar/Disney animated flick took home the Best Picture of the year award.

This was the first time the LA Film Critics gave its top award to an animated film!

Meanwhile, Sean Penn took home the Best Actor award for "Milk," while Sally Hawkins for "Happy-Go-Lucky" won Best Actress.

Heath Ledger is racking up all the acting trophies! His performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" garnered the late actor the Best Supporting Actor trophy.

Click Read More to see the complete list of winners and runner-ups. Read More...

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"Milk," "Benjamin Button" Lead Nominations for the 14th Annual Critics Choice Awards 

Yay! "Milk" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," two of my favorite films this year lead the pack with eight nominations for the 14th Annual Critics Choice Awards!

Yours truly is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which is the award-giving body of the Critics Choice. Yes, I was busy Sunday writing down my nominations. Sunday was our deadline.

Here's the rest of the press release...I'm so excited!

Milk received nominations for Best Picture, a Best Actor nod for Sean Penn, two Best Supporting Actor nominations for James Franco and Josh Brolin, Best Director for Gus Van Sant, Best Writer for Dustin Lance Black, and Best Composer for Danny Elfman.

The eight nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are for Best Picture, a Best Actor nomination for Brad Pitt, Best Actress for Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress for Taraji P. Henson, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Director for David Fincher, Best Writer for Eric Roth, and Best Composer for Alexandre Desplat.

The Dark Knight, Doubt and Slumdog Millionaire all tied with six nominations, each including a Best Picture nod. Clint Eastwood received a Best Actor nomination for Gran Torino and a Best Composer
nomination for Changeling, which added two nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Angelina Jolie).

The BFCA, the largest film critics’ organization with more than 200 members in the United States and Canada, representing television, radio and online critics, selected nominees in each of the 17 categories. The Critics’ Choice Awards were created by the BFCA to recognize excellence in cinematic achievement. Eligible films were
released in 2008. The accounting firm of Gregory A. Mogab tallied the written ballots.

Historically, the Critics’ Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

SET YOUR TIVO NOW! The winners will be announced at the Critics’ Choice Awards gala on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. VH1 will again broadcast this year’s ceremony Live at 9:00 PM (ET/PT).


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DVD Kisses: The Latest DVD Release for Tuesday, 12/09/08 

"The Dark Knight" -- Run and grab your DVD or Blu-Ray copy of this Christopher Nolan film! One of the year's best!

"Horton Hears a Who" -- Another great animated film. The simple message still rings true -- a person's a person no matter how small.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" -- Before you watch Keanu as Klaatu, watch the original film that's making its foray to Blu-Ray for the very first time.

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Catherine Hardwicke Says Goodbye to "Twilight" Franchise! 

OMG X 10! Director Catherine Hardwicke better get use to helming cardboard cutups of his "Twilight" leads like the one shown above because she's no longer attached to the franchise!

After being crowned the first female director to have a film open huge at the box-office ($70.6 million opening), Hardwicke said goodbye to Summit Entertainment and the franchise!

Here's what happened in bulleted form:

*** Both Summit and Hardwicke revealed that the production company's plans to rush the second installment, "New Moon," as one of the reasons for the split.

*** Hardwicke, apparently stinging from all the negative criticisms from critics, yes, including me, wanted more time to work on the script by Melissa Rosenberg.

*** Hardwicke formally passed on the project Saturday.

*** Summit is supposed to be looking for a new director WHILE waiting for Hardwicke's answer.

*** According to Variety, Summit and Hardwicke couldn't agree on how to handle the second book. Why? It's more about giant werewolves than vampires, PLUS, Edward (Robert Pattinson) is pretty much not in the story the whole time because he leaves Bella (Kristen Stewart) in order to save her. But of course, Team Edward must be satisfied, hence, Rosenberg created a plot device to bring in more of the teenage vampire.

Miss Hardwicke said goodbye via Variety:

"I am sorry that due to timing I will not have the opportunity to direct 'New Moon,'" said Hardwicke. "Directing 'Twilight' has been one of the great experiences of my life, and I am grateful to the fans for their passionate support of the film. I wish everyone at Summit the best with the sequel -- it is a great story."

Okay, I adore Hardwicke, but as I've said before, I think her best film is still her first, the brilliant "Thirteen." And that one has a great script!

So maybe, just maybe, what about Miss Rosenberg? Does Summit really think that Rosenberg is the scribe du jour for the franchise? Should they also try other takes on the script from other scriptwriters?

Look, you may not like Hardwicke, heck, you may even hate the leads -- Pattinson and Stewart -- but a great film always start with a great script, first and foremost!

So while we're in the re-shuffling of the "Twilight" franchise, I suggest, let's look for other scriptwriters as well! Let's start fresh, and perhaps, save this franchise before it becomes bad.

The "Twilight" series gets deeper and darker as the story progresses, so taking a cue from the super-successful and far more superior "Harry Potter" franchise, let's experiment with the script and the direction, and movie magic will follow!

NOTE: "Harry Potter" has an intelligent scribe behind it, Steve Kloves, who wrote the screenplay of all the "Potter" films except for one, last year's "Order of the Phoenix," and that film wasn't as good as the other later "Potter" movies. So Kloves was able to delve into J.K. Rowling's world, I'm still not sure Rosenberg really gets "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer. Just a thought!

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