"Avatar" Chosen by AFI as One of Year's Top Moments! 


The American Film Institute has released its list of 2009's "Moments of Significance" and hailed James Cameron's "Avatar" as one of the "events" of 2009. Yet, the film wasn't chosen as one of the year's best movies. (Take a look at AFI's Top 10 of 2009 right here)

But their picks are quite intriguing -- Twitter, Reality Shows, Leno, Michael Jackson. Here's the complete AFI Moments of Significance:

AFI MOMENTS OF SIGNIFICANCE

AVATAR - JAMES CAMERON’S MILEPOST IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE ART FORM

James Cameron’s pioneering effort to unleash the human imagination was fully realized in 2009 with the release of AVATAR, a film that firmly established itself as a landmark in the way stories are told.

With an army of technological wizards at his side, writer/director/producer/co-editor Cameron called upon the forces of art and technology to create new tools for storytelling that are groundbreaking in both scope and scale.

The magic of the motion picture - and the transfer of its power to television and now video games - has always found its truest power in its immersive qualities, and with Cameron’s advances in CGI (computer-generated images) and 3-D, AVATAR enters AFI’s almanac as an achievement that will have profound effects on the future of the art form.

TWITTER: THE NEW WATERCOOLER

Twitter, the Internet platform for messages of up to 140 characters, has become a powerful force in the worlds of film and television. It has long been proven that the most effective way to attract an audience is through “word of mouth,” and Twitter allows for these influential conversations to be immediate and international.

Twitter has also created new and direct channels of communication for artists to speak directly to their fan base. Most notably, in 2009, Ashton Kutcher enlisted over one million followers to his “tweets.”

In marketing terms, Twitter and other forms of social networking have allowed motion pictures and television programs the opportunity to both expand and unite their audiences. For example, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY became a cultural sensation in 2009 for mastering “word of mouth” marketing via social networks, in addition to telling a terrifying tale very well. In television, Twitter helped to ensure “appointment television” by creating venues for viewers to comment on shows as they aired. For example, GLEE employed Twitter to broaden its fan base of “Gleeks.”

THE LENO EXPERIMENT AND THE LOSS OF DRAMA

On September 14, 2009, NBC premiered THE JAY LENO SHOW, a reformatted version of THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO, to run Monday through Friday at 10:00 p.m.

As a result, five hours traditionally reserved for episodic drama were dropped from the broadcast television landscape. The move had a harsh effect in job losses for the creative ensembles whose stories were told at that time, and also among national affiliate stations whose ratings for 11:00 p.m. local news programs dropped significantly.

This experiment can be viewed as another chapter in the evolution of television to less expensive programming, which began in force with the emergence of reality television. However, audiences have found quality dramas moving in force to cable and pay cable television, and the world awaits the first breakout drama scripted for the Internet.

REALITY TV AND THE LOSS OF BOUNDARIES

Reality television crossed a line in 2009 as the cultural craving for celebrity moved in a dangerous new direction. Most significantly, the “characters” now referred to as “Balloon Boy” and “Octomom,” in addition to a couple who allegedly infiltrated the White House to attend a state dinner, have marked the year as one in which the health and welfare of our citizens should be considered before the standards and practices of television.

THE END OF ANALOG AND OTHER SIGNS OF SEA CHANGE

On June 12, 2009, analog television switched off, and the digital revolution saw a new day. This moment is mostly symbolic, but signaled further change across many former television traditions:

• Several long-running soap operas were cancelled in 2009. GUIDING LIGHT, the longest-running drama in television and radio history, aired its final episode on September 18, 2009. The program began in 1937, during the second Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was also announced that AS THE WORLD TURNS, a daytime staple since 1956, would air its last episode on September 10, 2010. The demise of the soap opera can be linked to the omnipresent melodrama presented in news, reality and other programs that are now available instantaneously, around the clock and on many platforms.

• Long-form television became more scarce in 2009. While excellent programs like GREY GARDENS, INTO THE STORM and PRAYERS FOR BOBBY proved there was still quality work being done in the field, the fragmentation of the television audience strained the economics of the old business model for TV movies and mini-series.

Other notable moments in the sea of change include Comcast’s bid to acquire NBC Universal to ensure content for distribution to its more than 23 million subscribers, as well as the continued rise in the reliance of DVRs (digital video recorders) so that audiences have shows when and where they wish to view them.

2009 - A YEAR OF EXTRAORDINARY ANIMATION

Though animation has been a genre of great impact since the dawn of the moving image, 2009 marked a year that saw a dazzling explosion of noteworthy work from many of the nation’s finest artists, and in forms vast and varied - from classic hand-drawn stories like THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG; to stop-motion splendors like CORALINE and FANTASTIC MR. FOX; to computer-generated creations like 9, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS and MONSTERS VS. ALIENS.

THIS IS IT - DEATH OF MICHAEL JACKSON

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. One of the most influential entertainers in modern day, Jackson’s death was met with a worldwide expression of grief.

In the months that followed his death, Jackson’s talents were celebrated on-line, with a renewed interest in the musical and video gifts he had given the world over five decades; on television, as millions tuned in for his memorial and funeral services; and, most notably, in theatres, with the film THIS IS IT, a documentary crafted from the rehearsal footage for an upcoming concert tour. The film proved an unprecedented global eulogy for fans and friends of the “King of Pop.”

RECESSION - THE MOVIES AGAIN PROVE A TONIC FOR ECONOMIC AILS

Just as Americans flocked to musicals and screwball comedies during the Great Depression of the 1930s, audiences in 2009 escaped their worries by going to the movies. Though total admissions do not compare, it is worthy to note that in the world’s darkest economic time since the Depression, American films grossed more money than any time in the history of the art form. Aliens, vampires and wizards may have replaced Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on the silver screen, but the movies still provide joy and refuge in a story well told.

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A Very Merry Record-Shattering Box-Office Christmas! "Avatar" Remains on Top with $75 Million 


Hollywood celebrated a merry Christmas with shattered box-office records! Moviegoers spent the weekend enjoying high-profile releases. The estimated $278 million box-office take broke the previous record of $253 million set in July 2008 when "The Dark Knight" was released.

For a while, at least on its opening day, "Sherlock Holmes" was poised to take the box-office crown earning a record Christmas day debut of $24.9 million.

But James Cameron's "Avatar" regained its audience over the weekend, topping the box office with merely a 3 percent drop from its opening weekend. The sci-fi flick earned $75 million for the No. 1 crown!

Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law must settle for the No. 2 spot. Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" opened with a very impressive $65.4 million box office take.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" took in $50.2 million on the weekend, and $77.1 million since it opened Wednesday. Also opening strongly was "It's Complicated" starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin from director Nancy Meyer. The Universal romantic romp had a solid debut of $22.1 million settling at No. 4.

Oscar contender films also did very well at the box office. "Up in the Air" starring George Clooney grossed $11.8 million (total $24.5 million) while "Nine" earned $5.5 million in 1408 theaters.

Here's the estimated Top 10 Box Office films for Christmas weekend:

1. "Avatar," $75 million.
2. "Sherlock Holmes," $65.4 million.
3. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," $50.2 million.
4. "It's Complicated," $22.1 million.
5. "Up in the Air," $11.8 million.
6. "The Blind Side," $11.7 million.
7. "The Princess and the Frog," $8.7 million.
8. "Nine," $5.5 million.
9. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" $5 million.
10. "Invictus," $4.4 million.

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Top 10 Best Films of 2009! Did Your Favorite Movie Appear On My List?  


From big blockbusters to small independent films, they all earned a slot in my Top 10 Best Films of 2009 list. My requirements are simple – did the film entertain? Provoke? Cajole? Will I remember the movie years from now? I’m happy to report that the films that entertained, provoked, and cajoled me can all be found on my list. And yes, I’ll remember these movies for years to come.

Here’s my list of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2009, from No. 10 to the best of the best! And there's also a fun TOP 10 video made just for you! Read More...

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Latest Movie Reviews: "Sherlock Holmes," "Nine," "It's Complicated" 


It's that time of the year when studios cram the Christmas weekend with lots and lots of movies! Not only do we have to overindulge with eating, we can also overindulge with watching movies.

This weekend, "Sherlock Holmes," "Nine," "It's Complicated," "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" are going to try to topple "Avatar's" No. 1 position. But I think James Cameron's masterpiece will remain the king of the box-office weekend.

"Up in the Air" also goes in wide release (Check out my movie review of "Up in the Air" here, and my interviews with director Jason Reitman, and cast Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick right here).

Here's my movie reviews of "Sherlock Holmes," "Nine," and "It's Complicated." Have fun! :happy



Here more info from Yahoo on the films we discussed:

"SHERLOCK HOLMES"

Robert Downey Jr. brings the legendary detective to life as he has never been portrayed before. Jude Law stars as Holmes' trusted colleague, Watson, a doctor and war veteran who is a formidable ally for Sherlock Holmes. Rachel McAdams stars as Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have bested Holmes and who has maintained a tempestuous relationship with the detective.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Adaptation and Mystery
Running Time: 2 hr. 9 min.
Release Date: December 25th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material including violence, disturbing images and a scene of suggestive material.
Distributors:
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

"NINE"

SYNOPSIS
Famous film director Guido Contini reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion while balancing the numerous women in his life.

Drama, Musical and Adaptation
December 25th, 2009
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking.
STARRING
Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Stacie 'Fergie' Ferguson and Judi Dench
DIRECTED BY Rob Marshall

"IT'S COMPLICATED"

Jane is the mother of three grown kids, owns a thriving Santa Barbara bakery/restaurant and has - after a decade of divorce - an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, attorney Jake. But when Jane and Jake find themselves out of town for their son's college graduation, things start to get complicated. An innocent meal together turns into the unimaginable - an affair.

Genres: Comedy and Romance
Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.
Release Date: December 25th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for some drug content and sexuality.
Distributors:
Universal Pictures

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Trouble in "Clash of the Titans" Paradise? Why Are They Reshooting? 


The fantasy-adventure "Clash of the Titans" is set to open in three months, but they're going back to reshoot! Actor Sam Worthington revealed that director Louis Leterrier, Legendary Pictures, and Warner Bros. all agreed to shoot more scenes to make the film more epic, and turn it into gasp, 3-D!

Worthington told the LA Times that:

"We're going to be going back and shooting more scenes for it, they cut loose with some money so we can add to it...We're going to be shooting more scenes in January, so we're going to be right up against it -- the movie comes out in March."


So new money means new filming? Or is this a sign that Warner Bros. didn't like the cut they saw of "Clash of the Titans?" Or is the studio just setting their sights higher for the film?

Let's have Worthington explain:

"There were some creaky parts but they are the parts that we knew were creaky and that we knew were going to be creaky going into it. The studio is also letting us add some gods and scenes. And they're talking about making the movie a 3D film."


I hope Leterrier and company get this right! I love Greek mythology, and I totally dug the original "Clash of the Titans" starring Harry Hamlin. And honestly? I didn't quite fancy the trailer of the remake. It didn't make me go giddy with excitement!

And why are they not showing Medusa yet? Or Pegasus?

In case you haven't seen the trailer of "Clash of the Titans," here it is:



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