The Following Previews have Absolutely No Rating because I hate the MPAA:

TROY: The opening shot of the trailer blew me away. Brad Pitt's newest directed by Wolfgang Petersen, whos been behind some "epics" looks to be as faithful a film translation of Homer's The Iliad can be within budget and location constraints.

SIDEBAR:While we were in the bookstore I decided the best production/character/role for Brad Pitt. One that will bring him to the top echelons of all actors and could also be one hell of film, a new version of CHÉ!  While sometime next year Walter Salles will release his adaptation of "The Motorcycle Diaries" with Jean Pierre Noher in the role of Ernesto Guevara, imagine what a Brad Pitt film based upon/inspired by documentation, archived footage and "Guerilla Warfare" could be like. There was a 1969 film with Omar Shariff & Jack Palance, but it was void of historical essence and the depictions of Che and Fidel were foolhardy at best. Terrence Malick may be making a Che film with Benicio Del Toro but it is without a script or a start date. While Benicio would make a cool Che, he doesn't have the star power that Brad holds, nor is he as charming to convey how utterly charming Ernesto supposedly was. People who have played Castro in the past include Joe Mantegna and Anthony La Paglia. DeNiro would make an awesome Castro as would Hector Elizondo, but they're both getting a little old for the rol of a young Fidel. I'm thinking maybe Billy Cruddup. He and Pitt did not share any dialogue against each other in "Sleepers" till the last scene and that was a shame. Although if the Malick/Del Toro film does happen... never mind.

HELLBOY: I'm not sure how long the trailer they're showing on the net now is, but this trailer made me really want to see the film. I would separate it from its source material though to enjoy it to its fullest. As it seems there may be some separation from the source anyway. I mean Mike did do all new character designs for a lot of it, bringing them to a more realistic stance for "the real world". There are parts of the film which still look kind of vapid, but it is an action-adventure movie about a bureau of freaks who save the world based on a comic by a guy who did a comic about a guy with a screwdriver for a head, of course parts of it will be vapid.

WALKING TALL: A "remake" of a 1970's film called of course Walking Tall (, except Buford Pusser is now Chris Vaughn. Despite this inane change, this is a film starring The Rock that I'd actually want to see. I guess after three or four times making action films you start to get the hang of it. I'll never EVER see The Scorpion King or Helldorado (or whatever that one ended up being called, I refuse to IMDB it), but I think I'll rent Walking Tall 2004 in time though. Despite it co-starring Johnny Knoxville.

TAKING LIVES: This suspense thriller seems pretty awesome. While the plot is the same as the book from 1999 that it is based on though, the characters are so different. There is no female FBI agent in the book. The particulars are there though. A serial killer who takes on the identities of his victims. As a concept it's pretty fascinating. With a cast like Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke and Kiefer Sutherland and a director like DJ Caruso behind it, I expect to be tantalized till I finally get a chance to see it.

THE LAST SAMURAI: The first thing that caught me off guard and that was a nice surprise was Billy Connolly. Right off his presence made the film ten times better than it could have been. Cruise from the start was as much his character as he could be. It's not his acting that is at the fault that many of his characters seem similar, the fact is obvious that they are. He is traditionally cast as a charming guy who can also be slightly belligerent and also shows amazing confidence, while still having a very tortured past and reasons to be paranoid. Algren is a bit less this than anyone he's played before. He also as an actor takes a nice backseat to his supporting cast. Especially with the true star of the film Ken Watanabe. This Japanese actor shines in every scene he's in the film.

In both his English and subtitled sequences, Ken is just brilliant, as are newcomer Shichinosuke Nakamura, and Hiroyuki Sanada is "jolly good". Masato Harada, a writer/director himself (like Zwick, the writer/director of the film I am writing about here) is quite menacing, intimidating and a jerk in his role as the Industrialist. One of the shining examples of acting and beauty in the film though (other than the child actors who are wonderful) is Kyoki. That woman is just exquisite. On her IMDB page someone who is obviously not a fan of quality filmmaking was upset over a scene that wasn't in the film. This type of scene would have ruined the film. The type of scene they had to convey what he wanted was more erotic than anything I've seen on screen in awhile.

On top of all the wonderful acting, everything else falls into place amazingly. The set design, cinematography, costumes, all mind-blazing and Oscar nominee worthy. The Samurai armor especially was a sight to behold. The shots of the mountains that may or may have not been Japan, possibly those were New Zealand (the film was mostly shot in NZ, but many exterior shots were done of Japan), either way were captivating. The one thing the film really needs to be nominated for (in any film awards thing) is best original script. Although there's historical basis for it, the fact that there is no physical book that this film came from is proof of its brilliance.

Before I get to my last thoughts I must express a love for the fighting in this movie. It was brutal, it was hardcore, it was serious. It was also very realistic and that added to its brutality. I was truly impressed by Cruises tenacity... more so than I was with him even in Minority Report. There's one scene that he obviously takes a lot of pain and it took a lot of shots, but he was a trooper. It just shows. Cruise isn't young anymore either, he's going to be 42 in July. That's not exactly old, but he's also a dad and a divorcee and been through two movies called Mission Impossible.

I've thinking a fight between Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves could be quite something to see. Make the fight and winner a shoot, but find some kind of plot and script around it. Throw in some really great actresses and have them get naked as well, maybe have a strip contest. Yeah, that's an idea.