Greetings from Hollywood, my friends. Ever since I joined the MovieWeb staff full-time, which was exactly a year ago this past Saturday, actually, I just haven't had the time to write up my The Week in Review column, sad as that may be. I've been trying to think of another column I could possibly do and then this new column idea hit me like a ton of bricks: My Neck of the 'Wood.

Here's the deal. This new column will feature my opinions on various news items throughout the week, but it will also be filled with little tidbits of my life here in Hollywood. Yes, I do actually live in Hollywood, in an area called Whitley Heights, which is basically between the big n rich houses of the Hollywood Hills and Hollywood Boulevard, just a few blocks away. Whitley Heights was developed in the 1920s and was the first celebrity neighborhood in Los Angeles, even before Beverly Hills. It was home to such stars as Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, W.C. Fields and Bette Davis. I'm right in the middle of tons of cool stuff, with Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater, home to the Oscar's, the Arclight Theater and a gaggle of bars and restaurants within walking distance from my crib. I see a lot of crazy/cool shit from day to day and I run into filmmakers and actors during weekend drinking sessions as well, so I figured it would make for an interesting column, but I guess that's for you to decide, eh? So, without further ado, lets check out the last week of my life, Monday October 27 - Sunday November 2. Also, you will notice during some days I will have late night/early morning posts in the wee hours, but under what would normally be considered the next day, technically. Since I don't usually go to bed until 3 or 3:30 in the morning, I don't count it as the next day until I wake up. I'm weird like that. Deal with it. Bam.

Monday, October 27

11:14 AM PST - For the love of GOD! The Weinstein Co. has once again delayed the release of the potential cult-comedy, Fanboys, to January 2009. Why? So the Weinsteins could run a "big advertising tie-in" for the flick. Unreal. This flick has been shuffled so much that actual fanboys were seen protesting the Weinstein's handling of this flick, which was supposed to originally come out almost two years ago now. Can we trust that this film will REALLY be released in super-soft month of January? Who knows. Maybe Time Warner Cable will come through with a bigger advertising tie-in and we won't see it until the next 2034 or something. They also finally gave a release date to another heavily-delayed film, one that I've been waiting on for some time, Killshot, a film based off the smashing Elmore Leonard novel which stars the super-hot Mickey Rourke. They want to hold this until February to capitalize on the Oscar buzz Rourke's getting for his critically-acclaimed performance in The Wrestler. Well, at least that makes more sense then holding it for an advertising campaign...

1:23 PM PST - Oh, come on. Like there's any possible way that Christopher Nolan WON'T direct another Batman flick. It's one thing to not have Katie Holmes come back and get Maggie Gyllenhaal to take her place (which is always annoying when they assign a different actor to the same character). BUT, for the mastermind behind these two films to not come back for a third is just absurd. Don't read anything into this. His whole, "I hope that was a suitably slippery answer" at the end of his little speech is just icing on the cake. He hasn't signed a deal yet so he won't say for sure, but I just can't see him not coming back for a third.

Around 5 AM PST - I'm finally done transcribing my piece on my visit to the Friday the 13th, which was an awesome experience. Note to self: look at prices for transcriptionists in the future...

Tuesday, October 28

12:47 PM PST - The weird and wacky news just keeps on coming. Apparently we can expect another helping of American Pie... in the theaters! Yeah, Universal is ditching their apparently-lucrative straight-to-DVD franchise and wants another theatrical release, possibly focusing on Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan's lives as married folk. As if we friggin care. I did enjoy all of the films in the original trilogy, the big break for my old high school classmate Seann William Scott, but I'd be surprised if they could get anybody back for this... well, except maybe Jason Biggs.

1:31 PM PST - I was forwarded a very strange email from Marvel Studios giving some "production updates" of their upcoming films Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. The problem was this was stuff we already knew a long time ago, but was finally made "official" such as Favreau signing his deal for directing Iron Man 2 and executive producing The Avengers and the much-maligned news that Don Cheadle will replace Terrence Howard as Rhoadey in Iron Man 2. Stop the presses... We knew all of this weeks ago, but at least it's official... Weird.

6:10 PM PST - As I'm finishing up transcribing the lengthy but interesting Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert conference call for their new first-run syndicated series, Legend of the Seeker, I hear a helicopter circling the area above my apartment. I could also hear something that resembled speech coming out of the helicopter. I went outside to have a smoke and see if there were any fugitives in my midst, but nay. It was pretty odd.

2:35 AM PST - One of m duties here as DVD Editor for the site is to format the Reel Advice column and I was dismayed when I was formatting this week's column because they actually made a sequel to this TERRIBLE "horror" film called Reeker, which I had the extreme displeasure of reviewing. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 29

9:35 AM PST - What the hell? Joaquin Phoenix is RETIRING from acting???? What kind of shit is that? He's 34. Only football players retire at 34 and that's only if they're a running back with 12 concussions too many. He wants to focus only on music. Right. Because no actor has ever done both at the same time. Come on, Joaquin. What's the REAL reason? Email me. We'll talk. No big whoop...

11:30 AM PST - Now this sounds like a Man of Steel I could sink my teeth into. Mark Millar has a Superman trilogy pitch, and it sounds pretty damn cool to me. I was often bored during the epic mess that was Superman Returns and I really dig Millar's style and hopefully this "big Hollywood action director" he's apparently working with will provide the clout needed to get this thing off the ground, especially given how popular these reboots are. I'm pulling for you, Mark!

7 PM PST - On my way back from picking up cigarettes and Cheez-It's - both of which I'm equally addicted to - I noticed that the big spotlights over at Grauman's Chinese Theater were dancing in the early night sky. I was trying to piece together what film might be premiering that night. The presence of the hunger pangs in my stomach and the absence of my digital camera told me that I should leave the premiere investigating for another time. Perhaps next week. Besides, I had DVD's to review and the rest of the night was spent reviewing two stinkers, Deception and the semi-decent Lone Rider.

Thursday, October 30

9:40 AM PST - There is just some crazy damn news this week, but this has to take the cake. Samuel L. Jackson starring in a remake of The Last Dragon. Absolutely unreal. This movie was absolutely HORRIBLE!!! I'm shocked that both Jackson and Wu Tang Clan's RZA, who is producing the film, are on board for a remake. While I can't believe this is actually being remade, on the other hand, it's not like they can get any worse... can they?

10:30 AM PST YEAH!! The teaser trailer for Angels & Demons is here!! I absolutely loved Dan Brown's novel, which I thought was better than his other, incredibly-popular Robert Langdon adventure, The Da Vinci Code, and I just can't wait to see this.

Between 10:44 and 10:50 AM PST It was actually raining here in L.A. Yes, actual raindrops were falling from the sky, and it wasn't in January, the only time any semblance of actual non-sunny weather imposes itself on Los Angelenos. Very bizarre.

1:15 PM PST YEAH!!! - Part II. The Slumdog Millionaire trailer is finally here and it looks just as good as all the hype it is getting. It looks like Danny Boyle is back and better than ever here with this true-story adaptation of a young illiterate boy who makes an improbable run in India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? This looks like a surefire Oscar candidate here, folks.

Approximately 9 PM PST While I was outside on my front steps having a cigarette, a friend of mine in the building was getting home and he hooked me up with some passes to the AFI Film Festival that's going on in Los Angeles. Score!! Sadly they're not good for any of the big opening night/closing night, centerpiece gala or tribute screenings, but I'm sure I'll get some use out of them. Good looking out!

Friday, October 31

10:05 AM PST - Some good Sam Jackson news for a change. Jackson is a narrating Basterd in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Apparently he'll be narrating the flick and popping up in key moments, and stuff. Sounds cool to me. What's a QT flick without the baddest man on the planet, anyway? I'm not so sure about the Hong Kong actress playing a French theater owner, Maggie Cheung, but whatever.

3:30 PM PST - Huh? King of the Hill is cancelled? You mean that show was still on in the first place? Weird...

10:30 PM PST - After contemplating things to do over a few 7 & 7's on this Halloween evening, I decided to join my roommate at the famous Velvet Margarita just down the street from me. I was there for their amazing Cinco de Mayo celebration where they off FREE beers and margaritas from 9 PM until close, which would be an incredible deal in Minnesota, much less Hollywood. The bar has been known to be a local hangout for such celebs as Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, but I have yet to see them amongst the patrons... and I would've noticed that night since the place was DEAD! I couldn't believe it. We had a few more drinks there before wandering off to a few other bars before calling it a night. Apparently everyone and their mom's was down at either the big block party down the street on Hollywood Blvd. and the other one on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, but being sans costume, I could care less.

Saturday, November 1

4:10 PM PST After a lovely day of doing next to nothing, I headed down to the Arclight to see Kevin Smith's latest offering, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I have been a fan of Smith's work ever since he burst on the scene with Clerks, but I have to say that this is his best work yet. It's insanely funny throughout the whole flick, with some amazing chemistry between Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks, some wonderful scene-stealing moments from hilariously-deadpan Craig Robinson and even some wonderful eye candy in real porn star Katie Morgan and her "assets." Really, how could you go wrong? Humor, drama, wonderful acting, a surprisingly-touching story and nudity. I'll throw up a full review in the coming days, so check that out.

Between 9 PM and Midnight PST - About a month ago, I went down to one of my favorite bars, the improv comedy club iO West (the West-Coast wing of Chicago's Improv Olympic), to kill some time and have some drinks while watching the Dodgers knock the Cubs out of the playoffs, which was awesome. I found out that night from a friend who works there that David Koechner's improv team, Beer Shark Mice, was coming back to perform regularly on Saturday nights at 9 PM, and this was their first show back. Naturally, I had to check it out and this show has been a Saturday tradition ever since. What's also cool is that the cast of this troupe - which also includes Peter Hulne, Pat Finn, Mike Jackson and Scrubs' Neil Flynn (the janitor) - usually hangs around the bar for awhile after the show and they're all really cool to talk to. After this night's show, I ended up talking with David Koechner for at least an hour after the show, and he couldn't have been a cooler guy. It isn't that often that I get a chance to talk with someone like that - not for work anyway - and it was just awesome to have some drinks with a truly hilarious performer and one hell of a nice guy. It's like they say out here, you never know who you'll run into out here, and I'm glad I ran into David Koechner.

Sunday, November 2

10 AM PST I was awaken from my slumber my some people talking outside. See, my apartment is essentially right next to the front door and, for some reason, people like to congregate on the front steps or by the parking entrance, talking on their cell phones about crappy relationships or anything else under the sun. This morning one of the guys in my building was apparently moving out and he was explaining the reason why: he's been cast in a reality show on VH1. Hilarity. This guy is a character and I can totally see him on a reality series. Apparently they have a ton of reality shows on VH1 so I don't know which one it is yet. I don't watch TV much... OK, at all. I don't even have TV of any kind in my apartment because we don't have cable (too busy on my end, no interest on roommate's end) and we don't even get network TV either, for some reason. Still, I probably would watch just to see how he's portrayed on the show, whichever one it may be.

Well, that about wraps up my week, as I try to do as little as possible on Sunday's... and accomplished that goal quite handily, except for writing this, of course. Crazy stuff, eh? Not really. Just another week in My Neck of the 'Wood. Thanks for reading and, always remember: if it looks like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free. Peace in. Gallagher out!

Cinemark Movie Club