Eight Below : These Eight
Deserve a Better Script
by The Blonde and The
This Walt Disney film is a true story
inspired by the events of a 1957 Japanese
Antarctic Expedition, which served as the basis
for the hit Japanese film, Nankyoku
Monogatari (which we do hope was a better
film)! Eight Below is an action-adventure
story about survival, loyalty and the strong bonds
Eight Below is set in the extreme
Antarctica wilderness. Three members of a
scientific expedition set out on a journey to find
rare artifacts. The daring team includes Jerry
Shepard, played by Paul Walker (
Into the Blue and Running Scared
), his best friend Cooper, portrayed by
Jason Biggs , and a rugged
American geologist ( Bruce Greenwood
- Capote and Thirteen Days
). Let us not forget the love interest who,
in the end, saves the day. You go, girl! The
trouble all begins when the very focused and
single-minded geologist ignores the red light
warnings to leave due to very bad weather
conditions (typical)! With the luck of fate, they
escaped some near-death experiences (after all, it
is a DISNEY film). However, due to the
continuing perilous weather conditions in
Antarctica, (you guessed it), a sudden accident
occurs upon our dynamic team. DANT, DANT, DAN! Now
they are forced to leave behind their team of
devoted, beloved sled dogs to quickly return home
for medical help. These eight intelligent, not to
mention beautiful dogs, are faced with the
struggle for survival alone in the harsh, intense
frozen wilderness of the Antarctic winter for over
six months. Do they survive? Does the team return
to look for the beautiful dogs? Does this film
deserve you to go and find out?
The Blonde: To begin with, readers, the
Maven was deathly ill with the flu, so I had to
see this movie without her. Not only did I feel
terrible for the Mav and miss her desperately, but
to make matters worse, I was on a blind date. To
be perfectly honest, the date was far better than
this film. HOW SCARY IS THAT! I was so looking
forward to this movie and perhaps that is why I
was so strongly disappointed! This film was like
no other film I care to relate it to! It was slow,
predictable and displayed the absolute worst
writing of dialogue I have heard on screen in a
long time. The acting was, at best, mediocre.
However, there were a lot of stellar acting
performances given by the dogs. I give kudos to
these animals. They displayed the only on-screen
acting that moved me in any way. They were superb!
They give Lassie a run for her money! On a more
positive note, the cinematography and locations
were breathtaking. You will almost wish you were
there. The dogs were so wonderful to watch; not
only were they gorgeous, but they were also smart.
It would be nice if people got along and cared
about each other as well as these animals do! In
keeping with the positive aspect, Paul Walker has
really amazing blue eyes. Continuing on, MANY
things bothered me about this film. I don't know,
but if I were setting out on a major expedition in
the Antarctic, I think I might just check out the
weather conditions before I left home. But HEY,
THAT'S JUST ME! Furthermore, if I were told, ìGET
OUT. GET OUT NOW. HURRY, DON'T STOP AND COLLECT
$200, again, I don't know, I think I WOULD GET
OUT! Maybe it's just a Blonde thing!
The Maven: COUGH! COUGH! COUGH! SNIFF!
The Blonde: HERE'S A KLEENEX! The Maven is
ACTULLAY so lucky she is very sick so that she
didn't have to sit through this film. I cannot
begin to tell you readers how much she would have
HATED Eight Below ! The Mav could never
have handled the pain and suffering these animals
had to deal with in the wild, due to the
negligence of the team. She would have definitely
walked out! The one thing I did find amazing about
this film was the bravery of the cast and crew to
film this movie in such extreme cold weather
The Maven: BLOWING NOSE! BLOWING NOSE,
The Blonde: YUCK! Are you okay, Mav?
The Maven: Lying in bed LIFELESS with a red
nose! SNEEZE! SNEEZE! SNEEZE!
The Blonde: BLESS YOU, MY DEAR MAV! I felt
bad for the person who scored this film. The
entire burden of any emotions at all (other than
the dogs acting parts) were placed upon them.
The Maven: SUFFERING. COUGH! COUGH!
The Blonde: BLESS YOU, AGAIN! You will need
A LOT OF POPCORN to get you through this film! If
you love beautiful and amazing dogs, heavenly
scenery, and a ton of snow-filled scenes, than you
might just enjoy this film. It did have a very
sweet ending, again, due to the dogs! It doesn't,
however, make up for the other long, HO-HUM, two
hours. I rate it a D, for don't go. If you must
see it, just wait for it to come out on cable.
The Maven: Taking more meds. Cough! Cough!
Blowing nose! NOW running to the bathroom.
The Blonde: HOPE SHE MAKES IT! If you
ignore my warning of taking a hard cold NO on this
film, for your moving snacks go ahead and have a
Zero Bar some Snow Caps Candy and a Blizzard to
wash it down with!
The Maven: GOODóCOUGH, COUGH--BYE!
by The Maven and The
Annapolis was written by
Dave Collard ( Out of Time
) and directed by Justin Lin
. You may remember when, a couple of
years ago, Justin, was lauded at Sundance for his
directorial success, Better Luck Tomorrow
, about a group of bright Asian kids who find
their way to criminal activity. Annapolis
is nothing like his previous success.
The main character is Jake Huard, played by
James Franco ( Spider Man
and Tristan and Isolde ), an intense
young man determined to fulfill his mother's
dream, and his, of attending the US Naval Academy.
His father does not share this dream and would
rather his son get into the union and build the
navy ships, rather than command them. Along comes
Lieutenant Commander Burton, played by
Donnie Wahlberg ( Dreamscape
and Band of Brothers ), who informs
Jake that his application has been accepted. Right
away, Jake finds himself outclassed by his fellow
plebes. To make matters worse, Midshipman Lt.
Cole, portrayed by Tyrese Gibson
( Four Brothers and 2 Fast 2
Furious ), is his immediate commanding
officer and thinks Jake is not fit to lead men.
The only place Jake shows aptitude is in the
boxing ring. It just so happens (doesn't it
always) that there is a yearly competition, called
The Brigades, where students, as well as some
officers, compete for championship titles. This is
the only time a superior officer can be struck by
a student. Jake begins training with his very
attractive 'teacher,' Ali, played by
Jordana Brewster ( The Fast
and the Furious and The Faculty ),
who, for some reason, knows a lot about boxing.
Also aiding Jake in his training is Lt. Comdr.
Burton, who never quite explains his interest in
Will Jake be able to beat Cole? Will you
care if he does? Are naval cadets allowed to wear
as much make-up as Ali wears?
The Blonde: Well, this film certainly
surprised me. I thought it was going to be more of
a military film, not a boxing film! Annapolis
was like An Officer and a Gentlemen
(only not as good) meets Private Benjamin
(only not as funny) meets Rocky
(only not as cool) meets Top Gun
(only not as sexy). Before I get into the
film, I want to state that I would love to bring
my 13-year-old daughter to be trained there for a
couple of weeks. She would appreciate my house
rules a lot more! About the film though, it was
typical, predictable, done before and not all that
original of a story; however, it was still
enjoyable. About Ali's makeup, I don't think the
real naval cadets would even care to put it on. I
thought her makeup was well done and a lot more
creative and put together than this film!
The Maven: I was wondering if James Franco
had a headache each day from scowling so much.
These characters were kind of boring. No one
showed much personality at all. There were enough
clichés in the film to fill a dozen movies. The
acting was good. It was the writing and directing
that was bad. When I say the acting was good, I
mean, considering the lame dialogue, I enjoyed the
story. Franco and Tyrese were very easy on the
eyes. The boxing scenes were shot well and the
uniforms were pressed well and were really white.
Please, Blonde, interrupt me anytimeÖ.
The Blonde: What detergent do you
think they used to get them so whitey white?
It must be another one of those military
secrets. Ya know, honor, truth and integrity are
one thing. Being a rat fink, tattletale is a whole
other ballgame. What was up with the arrogant
character Loo? What a creep. I did love Twins.
What a sweet, kind, team player he was. I wish it
turned out better for him, though. I would have
written his fate differently. Hey Mav, why (in a
movies), when a group of men are punished during
training by having to work outside all night, is
it ALWAYS RAINING? Can't it, for ONCE, be a
beautiful, cool night with a full moon? Not to
change the subject, but don't you think the guy
who played Jake, James Franco, looks and acts like
The Maven: Apparently, the casting director
and producers of the new TNT bio-pic on James Dean
agree with you because he's the star of it!
The Blonde: OH THENÖ NEVER MIND! SEE,
THOUGH, I WAS RIGHT YET AGAIN!
The Maven: Annapolis is all about
integrity. How can you have integrity without
truth? In order to be a good leader, you have to
face the truth. Yes, I know George W. can't handle
the truth, but HE didn't go to Annapolis
now, did he? Also, I agree ÖAli's makeup is
The Blonde: Do you think she gets it
at Sephora or at her local drug store? Hey Maven,
I just want you to know that I am YOUR
The Maven: YES, I KNOW!
The Blonde: FITCHÖ. YA CAN'T SAY SOMETHING
NICE TO ME, CAN YA?
The Maven: Instead of commenting on the
formulaic movie, why don't we talk about the other
films we saw this past week?
The Blonde: Yeah! It was too much of a
formula movie and predictable, too!
The Maven: We're going to have to work on
those five or more letter words, aren't we?
Meanwhile, Albert Brooks missed the mark on his
latest film, Comedy in the Muslim World .
I love Albert, but he took the wrong turn on this
The Blonde: I love Albert too! It's just,
how do you go from brilliance like Defending
your Life , Muse and Mother
, to this NOT funny and terrible film. It was
almost as if he knew, but didn't care. It appeared
that he wanted nothing more than to deliver a
message to the world, that there is TOO MUCH OUT
SOURCING OF AMERICAN JOBS! Speaking of messages,
what books do you think Oprah will suggest to her
reading club this week?
The Maven: Below the belt Blonde, even for
you! I give Oprah credit for going on national
television admitting she was fooled herself and
confronting James Frey!
The Blonde: I AGREE, and I love Oprah too!
The Maven: I ran to the theater to see
Nanny McPhee . Ever since I first heard
Emma Thompson mention that she was writing a
screenplay (the first screenplay she wrote since
Sense and Sensibility ) based on short
stories by Christianna Brand, Nurse Matilda
, I was enthralled. It was a gothic tale of
the strict nanny, with magical powers, that shows
seven children that they are basically good! They
learned to use their own resourcefulness and
wisdom to put things right, instead of using it to
cause mayhem. The vibrant colors that production
designer Michael Howells used gave the film its
fairytale feel. I loved every minute of it.
The Blonde: I loved it as well and give it
an A. I know that it was a children's film, but I
must say that it took me back to being a child and
believing again in fairytales. It was sweet,
funny, warm, imaginative, romantic and magical! I
was also happy that it was filled with morals. It
was a precious film and one of my favorites this
year. It really should become a classic as far as
I am concerned. Nanny McPhee was like
Lemony Snicket meets Mary Poppins
without the spoonful of sugar! Bravo to Emma
for having the tenderness and courage to make this
film and story a reality.
The Maven: Oh, let's get back to this
The Blonde: You mean the predictable film?
The Maven: Oh you poor sweet Blonde, go
have some coffee!
The Blonde: I have my Starbucks latte right
The Maven: NEVER MIND! In closing, why
would a movie with a potential to accent the Navy
at war (Iraq) choose instead to focus on a yearly
The Blonde: Is that a trick question?
The Maven: Well, it wasn't meant to be, but
perhaps it might have been for you! Annapolis
wasn't a BAD movie. It's just that it could
have been so much better. I rate it a C- for
completely wasting my time on something I could
catch on cable in a few months.
The Blonde: I thought the best and most
exciting part of this film was the final fight
scene. I thought it was not only acted well, but
staged and directed well, too. It was the only
time in this film, other than the one scene with
Twins, that you felt some kind of urge to root for
any character or even had any feelings or emotions
The Maven: That's not true. We liked Ali's
makeup and rooted to see more of it in the next
The Blonde: Okay, true! Now, after I said
the above statement, this should have not been a
Rocky film, but a root for the underdog
cadet kind of film! I rate Annapolis a
C--. Don't bother going, readers! It is just the
same-ole-same-ole kind of film that is just made
to make money! If you ignore our warnings, then
for your movie snacks go ahead and have BOX of
Milk Duds (as this film was a big dud) or a BOX of
Nerds or a BOX of animal Crackers or a BOX ofÖ
The Maven: Take your coffee and let's go! I
think they get your BOX-ing drift.
Tennis Ball, Sometimes Life Can Land on
the Net, but Does it Fall Forward or
by The Maven and The
Match Point is a drama about ambition and
obsession, the seduction of wealth and the
relationship between love and sexual passion. Most
importantly, the story reveals the huge part
“luck” plays on our lives. You can have great
skill and drive, but it all comes down to
Chris Wilton is an Irishman
from an austere, poor family. He is a talented
tennis player, so he turns professional but
realizes he doesn't have the ambition and drive
needed to go all the way. He does, however, have
enough ambition to instruct the wealthy country
club types in tennis. Chris is played by Jonathan
Rhys Meyers (Bend it Like Beckham and recently
TV's Elvis), who never played tennis before, but
is Irish. Chris reads Dostoevsky and has a
fondness for opera. The fondness for opera is
lucky for him because it leads to an easy
friendship with a pupil of his, Tom Hewitt. Tom,
played by Matthew Goode (Chasing Liberty) is an
amiable fellow from a very wealthy family. He
offers Chris a seat in his family box at the Royal
Opera House. At the opera, Chris meets Chloe,
Tom's sister, who is immediately smitten with him.
Chloe, portrayed by Emily Mortimer (Lovely and
Amazing and Bright Young Things) is bright, pretty
and a little naive. When Chris comes to the family
manse for the weekend, she sets her sights on him
and plunges in with all her heart. Also visiting
the family is Tom’s girlfriend, Nola Rice,played
by Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation and The
Girl with the Pearl Earring). Nola is a naturally
sexy beauty who can't help but attract men. Chris
is drawn to her, but doesn't act on his desire,
yet. Meanwhile, Chloe wants to help Chris move
along in the business world. Her father, Alec
Hewitt, played by Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity
and Red Eye) suggests a leg up into his
corporate world. He sees that his daughter likes
Chris and, since he himself likes the boy, he
doesn't hesitate to help. Chris feels a little
trapped by things moving so speedily in his favor,
but he does like the privileged lifestyle being
with Chloe brings him, so he accepts the help up,
gracefully. While things are moving along with
Chloe and Chris, there is still that attraction
between Nola and Chris. She and Chris are both
outsiders in the wealthy world that the Hewetts
live in and both would like to enjoy the
perks their respective lovers bring them.
When Tom breaks off his relationship with Nola and
she moves away, Chloe and Chris marry. He is
moving up in the company and Chloe is now obsessed
with getting pregnant. For some reason, it's just
not happening. Suddenly, Chris runs into Nola and
all of that lust he felt before, returns. He wants
to see her, but she doesn't see why she should get
involved with a married man. Chris is very
persistent and she finally gives himher number.
This can only lead to complications, but what
would a Woody Allen movie be without them?
Match Point won rave reviews at the
Cannes Film Festival and critics everywhere are
saying it's one of Allen's best! He has written
two characters that make some really sleazy
choices in their lives and one who is so driven by
lust that it leads to a dreadful compulsion. Go
and see who you root for!
I know the Mav and I will be on different sides of
the net on this film. I thought this film was
marvelous and twisted all at the same time. I must
say that Match Point really caught me off guard
and I found myself enthralled watching every
second, even though it did take a while to get off
a good volley. I really thought this was a
wonderful stretch for Woody! I surprisingly found
it different from most of his other films. It
appeared that Woody even changed his directing
style, rhythm and pace with this film as well.
Match Point was like Crimes and Misdemeanors meets
Murder with Pictures and Key Largo meets The
Murder in the Red Barn all meet up with Scott
Peterson! What I found the most interesting about
this film is Woody Allen’s ability to survive
being out of Manhattan for the filming. He must
have gone home on breaks to get through it! He
hates leaving his city that he loves so much. I
guess London works for him as well. Don’t get me
started on Camilla!
The Maven: Before
I begin, I have to take a moment to yell at THE
BLONDE about last week’s review. In the film we
were commenting about last week, it is Heath
Ledger not Keith Ledger!
You mean Bareback Mountain? Keith, Heath, smeath!
The bottom line is that the guy gave the most
stellar performance of his career and the movie
The Maven: IT IS BROKEBACK
MOUNTAIN AND IT IS HEATH. Now, that that is
corrected, I will continue! It’s not that we are
on different sides of the net; it’s just that I
would rather not be playing. I agree with you that
the movie was interesting and I might add
provocative! In fact, this was Woody’s best
writing yet! There was no whiney neurotic guy
getting on my nerves. None of the characters were
so lost in a stereotype that you might get bored
with them. Woody created a mystery about Chris.
You never really knew what drove him. Yes, he was
enamored with the lifestyle that Chloe could give
him, but HE wasn’t the pursuer in that
relationship. Woody never let us see into Chris,
we just saw him reacting to his circumstances.
The Blonde: I don’t necessarily
agree with you that this is Woody’s BEST writing,
but it certainly was very well done. Is it just me
or have you noticed that Woody’s films all involve
an over-abundant fixation on sex and relationships
that are very complicated, strange or sick? I
wonder if he is projecting his own life through
his films. Continuing on, in this film, I hated
the mother, didn’t mind the dad too much, really
liked the brother (cute as well), and felt bad for
Chloe as she lives in a wonderland of being
totally naive, innocent and emotionally blind. I
mostly felt pity for Nola. She has no direction,
confidence or self-esteem! As for our lead, THE
GOOD LOOKING Chris, WELL, I really loathed his
character. He is an opportunist, a user, a cheat
and a total arrogant heartless liar; oh yes, and
selfish, self absorbed and self-centered! And
those are his good points! I’ve been with his
The Maven: I disagree with you
about Chloe’s brother, Tom! He was too emotionally
shallow. The man was as bland as you can get. Nola
was sad, though. She appeared to have it all, but
underneath she was the needy one. I also loathed
Chris. Wasn’t it funny that, in the end, you
wanted him to win? THAT was the genius of Woody’s
The Blonde: First of all,
Tom was shallow, but his gorgeous looks make that
a wash! By the way, I have seen a lot more bland
then Tom! Furthermore, Nola was more than needy,
she was down right desperate! You are right
however, about how we were all rooting for the
unlikable Chris in the end. It reminded me of the
movie, The Getaway, where you root for the bad
guys. I think Woody just understands human nature
as we all actually do root for the underdog. I
really did like this film. It truly captivated me.
It started out slow, but did eventually build and
build into an intriguing tale. This was not a
totally original storyline, but it was uniquely
written. I really loved how the ending surprised
me. I am not easily fooled, so this was fun.
Speaking of fun, or making fun of, what is up with
Hillary Duff’s cheek implants? Is she kidding? I
believe in plastic surgery to enhance one’slooks,
but man, who is Hillary now?
Maven: I don’t know about that. Are you sure she
had them? I mean, YOU HAVE BEEN WRONG BEFORE! Who
was your source on this bit of
The Blonde: My 13-year-old
daughter and her girlfriend at this week’s
The Maven: OH WELL
THEN, end of discussion. Far from me to ever argue
with two teenage girls. I do think, however, that
she has gotten way too skinny.
Blonde: There’s no such thing as houses or
diamonds being too big or EVER being too skinny.
Did you also hear about Britney Spears being
The Maven: I take it
that you got this info from the same source as
your other gossip?
The Blonde: Do you
have a problem with that?
AH, NO, but our readers will! I just have to say
that Scarlett is amazing. She was 19 when she made
this film. Her body of work (no pun) up to this
point is simply astounding. I read that Kate
Winslet was originally cast in the role of Nola.
What a break for Scarlett that Kate wanted to
spend more time with her family.
Blonde: I love Kate and her acting, but I just
don’t see her in the role of Nola at all!
Continuing on, I thought all of the acting in this
movie was not only believable (for unbelievable
characters), but so well done. It made this film a
pleasure to watch. I am so happy Woody is back on
top. He needed a box-office hit. Talk about a
The Maven: The
look of this movie also sold it. Cinematographer
Remi Adefarafin’s (In Good Company and About a
Boy) architectural choices lent a coolness that
belied the nastiness of the story. Everything had
such clean, crisp lines to it. There was
sophistication on every corner but, under it all,
were some evil machinations.
Blonde: Sounds like the Royal family!
The Maven: This film went from a
civilized drama about wealthy English people and
tennis to a thriller involving lust and
compulsion. Through it all, you see how hard work
is not the only thing that helps you achieve your
goals in life. Luck and chance determines so much
more! The writing made this film intriguing to
watch. The acting kept it in my mind long after
the film was over. I rate it a B for bowling me
over with a story that will provoke moral
discussions for weeks to come.
Blonde: This film’s characters were like Jerry
Springer of the rich!
The Maven: No,
they were more like the Maury guests or perhaps
The Blonde: Whatever! I
totally and surprisingly enjoyed this film and
everything about it from the casting to the
directing. I rate Match Point a B+. For your film
snacks bring some Lucky Charms Cereal, which
symbolizes the moral of this story being based on
P.S: If you are in the mood
for a lovely, romantic old-fashioned film, see The
New World. The film is slow, but charming and
sweet! And if you want to see brilliant acting
which will most certainly earn lead Phillip
Seymour-Hoffman an Oscar nomination, see Capote.
See you at the movies!