I saw the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake this afternoon. Some parts were weak -- Johnny Depp's childlike Willy Wonka is much less interesting than Gene Wilder's menacing adult chocolateer -- but I was extremely glad to see that Grampa Joe is still a bastard. The web site Say No to Grampa Joe documents all of the ways that Joe, played by the great Jack Albertson in the original movie, was an anchor dragging down the rest of his family. At the start of the story, we meet Joe, who has spent 20 years ... read more

Dallas Observer film critic Robert Wilonsky: To damn Herbie: Fully Loaded as soporific crap, as lazy profiteering, as yet another needless and cynical remake in a season populated by such con artists, would be as pointless as the movie itself. If you had any hope for it, you're either a Walt Disney executive or Gordon Buford, author of the story "Car-Boy-Girl" that birthed five prior features, including 1969's The Love Bug and the 1997 made-for-TV redo with Bruce Campbell in the Dean Jones role, and a short-lived ... read more

I've been exchanging e-mail lately with Alan Colmes (namedrop!), the cohost of Hannity & Colmes and his own nightly radio show. This isn't payola; I'm doing this as an expression of love. As a huge fan of talk radio I've wanted to adopt a liberal show on the Drudge Retort, inspired by Matt Drudge's relentless self-promotion of his Sunday night show. Every night as Colmes airs, the Retort will post live links to upcoming guests and a place to talk about them. I don't know how this experiment will go -- my visitors ... read more

The Guardian has a great piece on how all movie trailers look alike, sound alike, begin with the words "in a world" and have the same guy doing the voiceover: ... by far the oddest practices in the world of trailers concern the music that accompanies them. Film scores tend to be completed so late in the production process that most trailer editors can't use the correct music even if they want to; normally, however, they don't. Deploying the music from a successful older film to advertise a new one must be about as ... read more

This weblog now has a second marriage to debate: the four-year union of the writers Carl Bernstein and Nora Ephron. I love the movie Heartburn, which Ephron wrote as fictionalized revenge after she and Bernstein crashed and burned. They had two sons, the second born prematurely after Carl was caught convening a rump parliament with the future Baroness Jay of Paddington, a member of Britain's House of Lords. In novel and film, Ephron lampooned Bernstein so hilariously that I'd be amazed if he ever dated another ... read more

Michael Moore is swimming in money after Fahrenheit 9/11, according to a Slate analysis that describes how the filmmaker and Disney rode the controversy over the movie all the way to the bank: Under normal circumstances, documentaries rarely, if ever, make profits (especially if distributors charge the usual 33 percent fee). So, when Miramax made the deal for Fahrenheit 9/11, it allowed Moore a generous profit participation -- which turned out to be 27 percent of the film's net receipts. Disney, in honoring this ... read more

I saw Napoleon Dynamite last night after hearing too many personal recommendations to avoid it. ... read more