Monthly Archives: February 2011

Our Oscar Picks

And the Oscar pick winner is….

We posted our Oscar picks last week to see who would get the most correct out of the major categories, and we have a three way tie between Brian, Lauren, and Matt.

The Oscar pick winners are:
Matt
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Lauren
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Brian
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Animated feature: Toy Story 3

And the Oscar loser is….

We had a two-way tie. With three correct, Victor and Kyle are our Oscar Losers. Better luck next year, guys!

Oscar night is here

Oscar night is here! This is the pinnacle of film awards, and we are aways excited to see who wins.

We’ve made our picks (click here) and can’t wait to see how they unfold. For a complete list of the nominees, click here.

And the winners are…

Achievement in Art Direction: Alice in Wonderand
Achievement in Cinematography: Inception
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing
Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Foriegn Film: In a Better World
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Original Score: The Social Network
Best Sound Mixing:  Inception
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best makeup: The Wolfman
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderand
Life Action Short Film: God of Love
Feature-length Documentary: Inside Job
Short Subject Documentary: Strangers No More
Achievment in Visual Effects: Inception
Best Original Song: We Belong Together, from the film Tangled
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Picture: The King’s Speech 

Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet stars Leslie Nielsen as a heroic starship captain who finds the paradise planet Altair-IV, which is inhabited by Dr. Morbius and his daughter, the sole survivors of an earlier expedition. Morbius uncovered the secrets of the long-lost civilization that made Altair-IV a paradise — the same secrets that unknowingly destroyed the society!

Victor
Rating: 9 out of 10

Plain and simple- “Forbidden Planet” is an under appreciated sci-fi classic. It was directed by Fred Wilcox and stars Leslie Nielson (yes, Leslie Nielson from Naked Gun and Airplane!), Anne Francis and Walter Pidgeon. It is a film which is a marvel to behold on numerous levels. On the surface it is almost a sci-fi horror fable about a creature awakened from a deep slumber on another planet. The story involves a monster which is killing off crew members of a rescue party sent to investigate the disappearance of previous explorers. Upon finding only two survivors, Pidgeon and his daughter played sexily by Francis, the captain suspects that something about the ancient civilization of the planet is awry. There has been obvious comparisons to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but the film digs deeper than that and explores the Greek intensity of the Id. Pidgeon’s character gives this feeling to the viewer because his sub conscious-mind that drives the creature.

Leslie Nielson and Anne Francis have great chemistry. Their interactions with Robby the Robot (a very expensive prop for 1956) are wonderful to watch, as are the special effects that still look very polished to this day. “Forbidden Planet” also sports a cool electronic score done by Louis and Bebe Barron. It’s is a bit jarring at first but the beeps and boops mesh well with futuristic settings.

I remember having this film on VHS — then laserdisc and now blu ray — and the transfer is impeccable. It still holds up well and is very entertaining even for the most jaded sci-fi geek. The dialog is a bit corny and the pacing somewhat laborious at times. But I am nit picking. Catch it in widescreen if you can. And try not to provoke monsters from the Id.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Filmmaker Thierry Guetta had been casually documenting the underground world of street art for years, but when he encounters Banksy, an elusive British stencil artist, his project takes a fascinating twist. Unimpressed with Guetta’s footage, Banksy takes over filmmaking duties and Guetta reinvents himself as a street artist named Mr. Brainwash — and, much to Banksy’s surprise, immediately becomes a darling of the Los Angeles art scene.

Lauren
Rating: 9 out of 10

After waiting for “Exit Through the Gift Shop” to finally get to Las Vegas and about five failed attempts to see it with some friends, I snuck off on Saturday afternoon and caught the film in a small, crowded theater.

When reading the description of the movie, which started out as a “filmmaker’s” attempt to get the famous and elusive street artist Banksy on film but ended up with Banksy turning the camera on the “filmmaker,” I was confused. But, it doesn’t matter what the description is or why the movie was made. It is amazing from beginning to end. Even if I didn’t completely know what was happening until close to the end. I loved the art and laughed the entire time.

I can’t explain what happens without giving away the humor and twist of the story. All I can say is I loved it and can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t. If you love art, if you think art can be joke, if you think street art is beautiful or if you think it was cool but now it’s not because everyone says it is, if you don’t even care about art, I still can’t imagine you wouldn’t be interested in this movie.

Our Oscar Picks

Who will be the Oscar winners…
and the Oscar losers?

Oscar night is upon us, at long last! Here are the picks from our regular contributors. Our writers are all making their selections, and we’ll see who the most prolific prognosticator is… and who isn’t. Click here to see the full nominee list. We’re only picking the main categories. I mean, who really gives a crap about art direction awards? Well, we do, but we won’t bore you with that. The Oscars are Sunday at 8 p.m. east coast time on ABC. The majority are picking “The King’s Speech” for best picture, but after that, it’s a jumble.

Matt

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Brian

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Annette Benning, The Kids Are All Right
Supporting Actress: Hailee Stenfield, True Grit
Animated feature: Toy Story 3


Kyle

Best Picture: Black Swan
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, The Black Swan
Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, The Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Lauren

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Victor

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffery Rush, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

The A-Team: A Public Apology

matt

I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to our readers. I was wrong, and I’m sorry.

There’s no way on God’s green Earth that I should have posted my cousin Shawn’s review of “The A-Team.” He was giddy with joy, bubbling with a childlike excitement over this reboot of the 1980s television show about a group of Army Rangers wrongly arrested, but who break out of jail and work as soldiers of fortune — helping the most needy along the way. He posted publicly on facebook that it was far better and more enjoyable than the Academy Award-nominated “Black Swan.” I never should have posted that review, in which he gave it a 7 out of 10.

What can I say? My cousin has crappy taste in movies.

I promised in our podcast that I would watch the A-Team and give my honest opinion of it. Shawn said I had been unfair to the movie, since I lambasted it when it hadn’t even hit theater. I listed it as a movie you shouldn’t waste your money on this summer.

Well, my wife and I sat down to watch this over the weekend, and I have to say, that those are some of the worst 117 minutes I have ever spent in my life. This film embodies everything that is wrong with Hollywood. It’s full of moronic dialogue, hokey plots, action that is simply insulting to your intelligence, wooden acting, and a source material that was recycled from a television show that was never even good to begin with.

The film starts out with Liam Neeson’s character being absolutely pummeled by two hulks that are just throwing haymakers at his face while he’s strapped to a chair. He, of course, has a key hidden in his mouth and escapes — WITHOUT A MARK ON HIS FACE. After he escapes, he just randomly comes across three other Army Rangers on three separate occasions within minutes who come together joyously as The A-Team. Isn’t that special?

Later, the crew gets shot down in a plane and escape in a tank in the sky. Naturally, the tank has some parachutes attached. While falling, they shoot down drones that are firing at them. Obviously, you can’t land a tank — let’s not ask ourselves, then, why it has parachutes — so they fire the cannon with great precision to direct the plummeting tank — now down to one parachute from three — and land it safely in a lake. They then drive out of the lake. Naturally. Somewhere in there is a plot about forfeiting and espionage. It’s not worth getting into.

This film has an i.q. equal to the rating I give it — a big fat 2.

I Love You Phillip Morris

When upstanding Texas cop Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) realizes he’s gay, he changes his entire life and pulls a series of bold con jobs that lands him jail — where he meets his one true love, cellmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). When Morris is transferred to another prison, lovesick Russell mounts a series of jailbreaks just to be with his beloved soul mate. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa direct this comedy based on a true story.

Lauren
Rating: 8 out of 10

“I Love You Phillip Morris” is only playing in one theater where I live, in Las Vegas, so I’m guessing not a lot of people are going to see it. But, it’s so good I really hope people find their way to the theater.

Jim Carrey is twisted, touching, and funny in this real-life story of con-man Steven Russell, who, after years of marriage, decides he’s gay and starts committing insurance fraud to live a new life in Miami. He gets caught, goes to jail, and that’s where the story really gets started. He falls in love with the sweet, cute inmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Once out, he pulls a few more successful cons and gets caught and breaks out of jail numerous times – all in the name of love, he says.

The comedy is dark, the sex is explicit, and the story is sort of unbelievable, but it really happened. I looked it up. Even if the story was made up, it’d still be fun to watch.

The Bride of Frankenstein

After vowing to step away from his dark experiments, Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is blackmailed into creating another fiend (Elsa Lanchester) — this time, in female form — who will serve as a ghoulish bride for his infamous monster (Boris Karloff). Ernest Thesiger co-stars as Frankenstein’s deranged mentor, Dr. Septimus Pretorius, who forces the doctor’s hand by kidnapping his wife (Valerie Hobson).

Victor
Rating: 10 out of 10

I believe I actually saw this film, the 1935 sequel, before the first. As a kid I thought it just another Frankenstein movie. Upon more viewings, the film makes an impression that lasts very long after the film ends. It continues with the Gothic feeling of the original but this film includes so much more. First and foremost is the emotion and believability that the first film somewhat lacked. In this film the Frankenstein creature learns to speak and is able to voice his pain and want for a mate like him to share eternity with. The film continues right after the first ends and Boris Karloff and Colin Clive return. James Whale (who was the subject of the film Gods and Monsters) directed this film with incredible vision. The lighting is dim and shadows pronounced. Whale is a set director and he relishes on playing the camera to those sets to make dramatic impressions.

The Bride of Frankenstein is a touching film with well placed humor, intensity and precise dialog delivery. The portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein, played by Clive, is a bit enigmatic but surreal. He is in turmoil after having created what most of the villagers see as a complete, murderous creature. It takes a blind man who cannot see what the creature looks like to accept him as a friend. This is one of the most heart wrenching moments of the film. Whale does not do sentimentality at all and provides very visceral images of the creature and of his bride to be.

The Bride of Frankenstein at times provokes fear, disgust and heart breaking emotion. It has the feel of a poetic theater play with great sets and make up. Karloff acts through it and raises the bar for actors who portray beasts. Whale’s direction of the camera and his actors are a revelation.

Jaws of Satan

Disguised as a deadly king cobra, Satan slithers into a small town and begins terrorizing Father Tom Farrow (Fritz Weaver), a priest whose family was cursed long ago. With snake-related deaths rising and city officials unresponsive, Farrow must fight Satan himself. In addition to a variety of suspenseful attack scenes, this low-budget horror movie also features a very young Christina Applegate in her big-screen debut.

Brian
Rating: 1 out of 10

I really don’t know why I do this to myself. I’m sitting at night with my wife and we’re flipping through the Netflix movies that are available through instant watching. I’m not in the mood for a drama, or a comedy, or sci-fi. Hmmm, horror sounds good. Then I notice legendary Director of Photography Dean Cundey (Halloween, The Thing, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), who worked on a film called “Jaws of Satan.”

I love the movie Jaws and you add Satan and it sounds even more evil and perilous. Well, I could not have been more wrong!! Imagine if you will, you have a film camera and you have no idea what to make a movie about. So, you go to Toys ‘R’ Us and you find a rubber snake and say, “Hey, I could make a horror film where a snake kills people.” You now have exactly the same amount of talent as the people who made “Jaws of Satan.” Where do I start with the shitiness?

Well, how about the phoniest looking snakes ever put on film? Check. How about claiming one of them is Satan? Check. How about tying a priest’s roots back to a druid culture that somehow battled previous snakes? Check. I could go on and on about the horrid special effects where you can see the glass between the guy and the snake. Or, I could explain the scene where a woman goes to bed and a rattlesnake slowly moves toward her. She picks up the phone and dials 911? Nooooope. She calls another character to come help her. We then watch as he runs from his hotel room to her house to save her. Now, I have no clue how close that hotel was to her house. But, if it was 3 blocks let’s say, it would take a hell of a lot longer for him to show up than it would FOR THE SNAKE TO CRAWL TO THE OTHER END OF A BED!!!!! Then, when the guy shows up, he coils the snake up with a rope and shoots it in the head. HAHAHAHA!!!! How the hell does a movie like this get made without someone who has serious brain damage green lighting the financing? I looked up the director, Bob Claver, and found that he had a terrific resume that consisted of Charles in Charge episodes as well as Mork & Mindy. I can’t believe a talent like this has been hidden from me for all these years when I could have been treasuring his genius.

Here’s a corny scene from Jaws of Satan…

Zombieland 2


matt

Zombieland was an enjoyable flick — a treat to zombie movie lovers everywhere. Two Academy Award-nominated actors, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, had great chemistry in a movie that balanced humor and levity with horror and action. Bill Murray’s cameo was fantastic and really made the movie. Having Emma Stone to look at didn’t hurt, either.

So why not a sequel? This has the makings to be a fun franchise. It’s not like there hasn’t been zombie sequels before.

Eisenberg told MovieWeb.com that Zombieland 2 is being scripted and will likely be in 3D. I hate 3-D, but a zombie flick could be fun. Here what Eisenberg said: “I believe they are going to shoot it in 3D. If they do it. Which will be interesting for the glasses industry. They are just starting to write the script. Maybe they haven’t even started that yet. I don’t know where my character will go. The first movie was fun, though. I can’t imagine the second one won’t be good.”

However, co-star Harrelson told TotalFilm.com he’s not sure making a sequel is the “right thing to do.”

On the first movie, he said: “I didn’t even want to read the script… Then as it turns out, I read the script and I thought it was phenomenal, really funny…” he said. “Usually, if I theoretically reject it, I’m right, but this one I was dead wrong. And it might be the first movie I do a sequel to.”

When we asked if the follow-up is definitely happening, Harrelson said: “I’m sure it will happen if everyone does it, but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do. … It’s one thing to do it when it came out real good and it made a lot of people laugh, but then to do a sequel… 99 out of 100 are worse by a lot. So I don’t know. … “I don’t feel like a sequels guy.”