Monthly Archives: August 2009
Now I’ve always been a fan of Ang Lee; I’ve seen all but 2 of his films and in my opinion, he’s never made a bad movie (some people would disagree with me on the grounds of Hulk, but that’s neither here nor there). But it’s been quite a while since he directed a comedy (Eat Drink Man Woman, in 1994), so I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out. But all things considered, the film is a surprising success; conveying the magic of the festival and memorializing the people who made it happen, Taking Woodstock becomes not so much a movie, but an experience. It may not be a masterpiece like Brokeback Mountain or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but Lee’s lowest quality film is still light-years ahead of the vast majority. Read the rest of this entry
Summer means a lot of different things to a lot of people. Time off from school. Days at the beaches. Baseball. And for those of us working here, it’s all about the stale popcorn and pertified “soft” pretzels.
We spent a lot of time at the movies this summer. In fact, this site went live with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the first film of the summer and our first film reviewed. It only seems fitting that we sum up how our time was spent based on our likes and dislikes. We’ve decided to go with a 3-2-1 format: 3 summer favorites, 2 summer disappointments, and 1 post-summer prospect (something we’re really, really looking forward to in the last half of ’09). In a collaborated effort we bring you the summer as seen through the eyes of The Devil’s Advocates: Read the rest of this entry
The story revolves around a young Jewish American named Elliot Teichberg played by Demetri Martin. Martin was showing that he’s not just a comedian… he has levels. He has taken on the responsibility of helping his elderly parents. Two old people, from another generation,who depend too much on their son, who just wants to live his life. When faced with foreclosure of their Catskills resort, he opts for a last ditch effort. Those who only know of Woodstock don’t know that it didn’t really happen in Woodstock. They were thrown out on their Hippy asses, and the whole thing almost never happened. Elliot saw this as a way to make money and bring in business, and since he already had himself a permit, why not. Read the rest of this entry
Halloween 2 (or gabillion, depending on who’s counting) is the sequel to Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Of course, Rob said there wouldn’t be a sequel when he made the first one. I’m not gonna call him out on it, because I think H2 is an entertaining horror movie. This movie mixes things up a bit by taking us into Michael Myer’s mind. Or what’s left of it. In the last movie, we saw how Michael came to be. Here we see what makes him work. Kind of odd at first. But, you get it fast if you pay attention. Read the rest of this entry
Maximus vs. William Wallace
Expectations were high for me going into watching Sunshine Cleaning. After-all it is from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, which I absolutely loved. While director Christine Jeffs didn’t quite hit those expectations, she did deliver a real heart warming film. Read the rest of this entry
I had been looking forward to seeing Adventureland for a while now. I missed it in theaters, so I had been waiting with heavy anticipation for the DVD release. And now it’s out and I got to say…worth the wait. Read the rest of this entry
Set in the 1930’s, Gosford Park is just like one of those movies that were on PBS on Sunday afternoons. It would be introduced by some guy in a smoking jacket, with a pipe. Murder, intrigue, and snooty British accents would soon follow. The thing about Gosford Park that is amazing is it takes that genre, and shows us what the cameras didn’t catch. Read the rest of this entry
WEEKEND TOP 10 STUDIO ESTIMATES, August 21 – 23, 2009.
1 Inglorious Basterds $37.6 M
2 District 9 $18.9 M
3 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $12.5 M
4 The Time Traveler’s Wife $10.0 M
5 Julie & Julia $9.0 M
6 Shorts $6.6 M
7 G-Force $4.2 M
8 Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince $3.5 M
9 The Ugly Truth $2.8 M
10 Post Grad $2.8 M
All in all not a bad week. A combined 105.1 million and who knows how much in popcorn. In fact I think 105.1 million is the price of a large popcorn nowadays.
IB as I will call it (cuz my spell check isn’t going to let the actual spelling fly)is, in my opinion, the best Tarantino film yet. I may even think it’s the best Brad Pitt film yet. I’m being as subtle as “The Bear Jew’s” bat up against a Nazi scalp I know. I freaking loved this film. Many years ago when I was all of 16 I found a movie called Reservoir Dogs. My friends and I loved it and from that day I became a disciple of the Q. Pulp Fiction all the way to Kill Bill 1 & 2. Sure there have been some misses but I’ve stayed true. IB knocks it all out of the water.
I am the Devil’s Advocate this week, but I’m putting my initial thoughts front and center soldiers, and then I’ll get into Kill Bill, hack and slash mode for the DA part.
Right away, I’ll put this out there, into the ether…this was a brilliant film. I absolutely dug it in a big way. Tarantino is in top form, with what has been billed a war film, but we all know better. It’s another revenge film. Revenge wrought upon the Nazis by the people they have tormented. It is revenge and it is justified. Just like Kill Bill or even Pulp Fiction (Bruce Willis’ thread in the film was very revenge driven).
Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. I only just now have discovered the trailer to a little indie flick called White On Rice. It doesn’t go wide release until late September/early October, but it’s been making the rounds on the festival circuit for a few months now. Shame on me for not knowing until now.
So little known fact about me….I love horror movies. I do I’m a big fan of the genre. What isn’t a little known fact about me….I have a low tolerance for stupid crap. Let alone stupid crap that costs ten bucks to see. So imagine my surprise when I saw a poster for Saw 6. I understand that people still go to see these things, but who is making them?
While I’m familiar with some of Robert Altman’s work, I know there are films that I never heard of that he worked on. That’s why I choose 1998’s The Gingerbread Man for this month’s Director’s Spotlight. It was a film that I wasn’t aware of and after seeing the cast, I quickly volunteered for.
District 9 is a Sci-Fi action film set in an alternate Earth, where a mysterious alien aircraft descends upon Johannesburg, South Africa in 1982. The film opens through a documentary type film style, where the situation is explained from events covered by eye-witness interviews and media coverage. While contact wasn’t initially made, as six months past, anxious humans decide to force their way onto the ship and make contact. The humans find that the aliens seem to be aboard a refugee ship and are malnourished and in a sickly state of health. Geneva convention rules on refugees are applied and the aliens are shipped to militarized refugee camps just beneath the hovering ship, called District 9. As roughly thirty years pass, rehabilitating the aliens turns into exploitation, while the camps turn to slums and human/alien integration runs rampant between the aliens labeled “Prawns” and feuding Nigerian warlords.
Science fiction has a long history of dealing with real world issues. Some of the best sci-fi (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Fahrenheit 451) tell stories that have real meaning behind them. District 9 is definitely one of those stories.
After seeing the previews that featured a couple of actors from The Hangover, I thought I would give The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard a try. While at times this movie seemed to try too hard to be funny, it still was good for a few chuckles.
I must admit, I was very sad when I heard Christopher Nolan was considering not directing the next Batman movie. His feelings were two-fold, from what I could tell: he planned on having the Joker return in the next film (and didn’t want to cast anyone else in that role), and he felt somewhat responsible for what happened to Heath Ledger. For this, I completely understand.
While enjoying a wine tour in Napa Valley, California on my honeymoon last month, the tour guide talked to us about a film called Bottle Shock. She and another couple on the the tour raved about it and how it shows how Californian Wine got on the map. Naturally I had to check it out after falling in love with the Napa Valley area.
So there I was making fun of my friend Bernie’s ridiculous looking beard. I said that he looked like an independent film director. I also said all he need is a baseball hat, and at Halloween he can go as the guy who made The Blair Witch Project. He then asked me to repeat it because he didn’t hear me. Then he said it. Looking over on Latino Film Review I see that the makers of the original (not the sucky Book of Shadows or whatever) are making a true sequel.
Westerns have always been a favorite genre of mine. Not only can be action-packed and entertaining, but every once in a while they feature complex characters, thought-provoking themes and surprising plot twists. Some of my favorites from the classic era include The Searchers and Shane, but they’ve seen two comebacks including the one in recent years with Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma and No Country For Old Men. But they were never more rich with feeling and atmosphere than McCabe & Mrs. Miller, starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and directed by Robert Altman.
After waiting years for my childhood loves of Transformers and G.I. Joe to come to the silver-screen, I finally got to fulfill that want with G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Getting a 2nd Transformer film was icing on that cake as well.
With the Chicago Comic-Con in town, I was torn on when I was going to see Snake Eyes come to life and battle Storm Shadow for ninja supremacy. I was able to sneak a couple hours in for a matinee late Sunday morning and watch the characters I grew up with on the big screen.
Am I the only one who doesn’t like or care if somethings in 3-D? I find myself sitting in a theater wearing glasses that frankly make me look stupid. I don’t think for a moment anything looks real enough to actually jump off the screen and get me. My favorite part is they talk about it like it’s a new thing. Now in Disney Digital 3-D!!! Blah blah blah! I saw Freddy’s Dead the Final Nightmare in 3-D. It didn’t scare me anymore then it would have in 2-D. In fact it really didn’t scare me at all.
With the rise of CGI and its effect of making standard action movies huge blockbusters, there’s been a real lack in a favorite genre of mine: thought-provoking sci-fi. Some of my most treasured films fall into this category: The Matrix, Blade Runner and Minority Report. Finally, the industry has been blessed with another: Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones.
When did vampires become a reason for guys to wear eye liner? What’s more, what the hell is the deal with the Twilight vamps sparkling in the sunlight? I am not a fan of vampire revision. I want it bloody, I want it cool. I do however enjoy the campy vamp movies. The original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My Best Friends a Vampire, and the classic Jim Carrey film Once Bitten.
If you watch Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, in the credits the title of the film has no asterisks. If you look at original ads and posters for the film, the little buggers make a cameo. Apparently they’re on the cutting room floor, but I’ve decided to give them their proper due.
In August we’ve decided to get Robert Altman out of the way. I say get out of the way, because his films are so good, we need to just get this one done and over with.
Actually, we’ve enjoyed each spotlight and have been very careful about our selections. As the months go on there will be more diversity in our picks, but our brainstorming led to a short list that has led to Coppolas, Allens, and Altmans hogging the spotlight. Once we get away from the shortlist, all bets are off (I’m looking at you Werner Herzog).
Funny People tries very hard to take three groups of people, and make them all like the same movie. Those who loved Knocked Up, people who like movies, and people who still listen to Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady Land while driving in their cars. It however did not achieve that goal.
Judd Apatow is back with his third film at the director’s helm, though if you asked the average moviegoer they would tell you he does eight films a year (I’m pretty sure that’s what Tyler Perry averages, however), since you see his name attached to so many projects. How does this film hold up to the masterfully done 40 Year Old Virgin and the riotously funny Knocked Up?
Let me begin this by saying that I am a huge fan of Watchmen. The comic book is one of my all time favorite comic books. The movie is now one of my top ten favorite movies. I really enjoyed this movie. I think it was marketed badly and too much for most people to handle. It’s not your typical story and it definitely is not your typical Hollywood blockbuster. Hopefully, with the Blu-ray and DVD release it will get the second chance it deserves.