Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 10/30/12

The Campaign: I think I am one of those guys that can take or leave Will Ferrell. On some occasions I really enjoy his movies, but others I can just sort of tolerate him. When I first saw this one I was not really interested in it - but, as time as passed I am actually a little more interested in it. So, I will give it a shot.

Safety Not Guaranteed: I am a pretty big fan of F/X's The League and I enjoy watching Parks and Recreation as well. So, this is pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it actually looks good. Really looking forward to checking this out.

Ruby Sparks: Not sure yet on this one - jury is still out. I honestly had no idea what it was about until I just read a brief synopsis. And, I actually think it might be somewhat interesting. I will give it some more time thought, maybe something I check out later.

Americano: Just heard about this one as well. No real interest here though.

Monday, October 29, 2012

50x3: Moon (O-1)

For the first film on Oscar's list I watch one that I was not too familiar with. I had heard about it and had seen the odd poster for it, but really had no idea what it was about.

I will say this before I start, there is really no way to talk about this film without spoilers - so if you have not seen it and plan to do not read anymore.

Moon is a film in the same vein as Cast Away or Buried in that for pretty much the entire film we are with just one human character. Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell, who is on a 3-year mission on the moon to oversee harvesting that is done there for a gas called helium-3 that is sent to Earth.

Bell has a wife, Tess (Dominique McElligott) and a young daughter Eve (Kaya Scoderlario), which are the only things really keeping him going while spending his days alone. Them and his only other 'friend' a robot named GERTY (Kevin Spacey).

With only two weeks remaining on his mission, Bell gets in an accident while out on the moon surface trying to recover a helium-3 canister. He awakens in the infirmary by GERTY with no memory of the accident. He overhears GERTY speaking with the Lunar Industries, who is in charge, despite the fact that communications have been knocked out for years.

GERTY is to keep Bell in the space station and not let him out as a rescue team comes to get him. Believing something is not right, Bell creates a fake issue to get out of the station and finds an unconscious person inside a crashed rover - which turns out to be himself.

As it turns out there is no 3-year mission. Long ago a man named Sam Bell volunteered to have himself cloned so that these clones could harvest on the moon risk free. Of course, all of Bell's memories and thoughts were left inside his clones - so they longed to get home and see their wife and new child.

But, there was no return home for these clones. Their 3-year mission was (and this is just what I gathered) actually their life expectancy. Once their 3-year mission was over - GERTY would 'awaken' another clone and the cycle would begin all over again.

In Moon Rockwell did have a few more things to interact with than Hanks did in Cast Away. Hanks' lone companion was a volleyball that couldn't speak, while Rockwell had a robot that could interact and eventually another clone to speak with.

But, Rockwell still did an amazing job in the role. Plus the difference between the two clones was night and day. Despite not having much color in the film, the views were outstanding - especially when they journeyed out onto the surface of the moon.


Friday, October 26, 2012

HOT: Road to Perdition

I bought this film when it came out on DVD, which I am guessing was in 2002, and watched it not long after. I had not watched it again. On my first viewing it just didn't grab me like most Tom Hanks films have - and so it sat in my collection unwatched until now.

After a second watch, I think I like Road to Perdition a little more than on my first watch. Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, who works for a crime lord named John Rooney (Paul Newman) - in what would pretty much be his last film before he died not as a voice actor.

Sullivan and his family, wife Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and sons Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) and Peter (Liam Aiken) have a pretty decent life living in the protection of Rooney and the money that is coming in. But, as many have found out, if you cross the Rooney family it may be the last thing you ever do.

Not quite understanding what his father does for a living, and really not having the greatest relationship with his father, Michael Jr. hides in the back of a truck one night when his father and Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig), who is Rooney's son - which I am guessing may be the first time I had seen him in anything - go to talk some sense into an associate when all goes wrong and they are forced to murder him and his associates. The whole event witnessed by Michael Jr.

Sullivan promises both Connor and John that his son would never speak a word of what he saw - but Connor remains unstable and sends Sullivan on a job in order to get him killed - while going to their house to murder the rest of the family.

I have to admit, not really sure I didn't enjoy this the first time around. I really got into it much more this time. The old-time era looked great and some of the characters in the film were just great - including one I didn't mention Harlen Maguire played brilliantly by Jude Law.

Still, I can't rank this too high on the Hanks list of films, but I think it has earned the right to be in a rotation of rewatches whereas before I wouldn't have given it another look.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 10/23/12

Magic Mike: There isn't really much about a male stripper movie that can get me excited, but I have heard some really good things about the film - including Matthew McConaughey's performance. Will definitely check this one out.

Secret of the Wings: Not sure how many we are in now, but this is one of the animated Tinkerbell films. We watched and enjoyed the first film, and we may have even seen the second. I will not rush out and see this, but if it ever makes it to a movie channel or the Disney Channel, perhaps we will check it out.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: The name of this film sounds pretty cool. I knew that an Abraham Lincoln film was coming out (I was thinking the Daniel Day Lewis one), so when this one came out I was a bit confused. Either way, I am not really into these films and it is apparently horrible anyway. So I am skipping.

Madea's Witness Protection: Seems like these Madea films are the second most films I write about next to horror films. Of course I tend to stay away from both. I have never watched one of these films, and I don't ever really plan to.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: This is actually a film I am really looking forward to seeing. Probably the most of the five listed here. When I first saw the trailer I thought it looked interesting and I definitely enjoy myself some Keira Knightley - when she isn't doing a period piece. So, when I get the chance I will be checking this one out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

HOT: Catch Me If You Can

In my opinion, Tom Hanks is the greatest actor in Hollywood. One of the things I admire so much about him is that even when he is not technically the star of the film, he still shines. This is really shown well in That Thing You Do, but you can definitely see it here as well.

Hanks plays Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can - a definite top character in the film, but definitely not the star. No, that belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr. a 16-year old kid who leads Hanratty on a cross-country chase as he cons millions of dollars from  people and companies by forging checks.

Abagnale, Jr. is the son of Frank Abagnale (Christopher Walken), who gets denied a small business loan due to some issues with the IRS and eventually divorces his wife, Paula (Nathalie Baye), who is having an affair. When the two decide to separate, Abagnale, Jr. takes off and the fun begins.

He begins to pose as a Pan Am pilot, and then starts to forge fake Pan Am checks to the tune of 2.8 million dollars.

This of course begins to alert the FBI and Hanratty starts tracking Abagnale, Jr. - so much so that it becomes the only thing he wants to do.

Over the course of three years Abagnale, Jr. becomes a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer by forging documents and he conned millions of dollars along the way.

Still just a kid himself, Abagnale, Jr. tries to do most of this for the approval of his father - and soon tries to build a relationship with Hanratty with phone calls near Christmas time.

The film itself is based on a true story - and Abagnale, Jr. was one of the top forgers in the United States. He now works with the FBI in tracking down forgers.

DiCaprio and Hanks were absolutely amazing in their roles - and together they were even better. DiCaprio really carried the film as Abagnale, Jr. but Hanks was downright amazing playing second fiddle.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 10/16/12

Madagascar 3: Despite having an almost six-year old in the house, this is one of the film series that I have not really had to watch. I watched the first Madagascar when it first came out I believe, but I don't think I have seen the second one - and I don't plan on watching the third one until I at least watch the second, which at this point I don't.

Moonrise Kingdom: I can honestly say I haven't hear much about this film. After looking it over, not really something I plan on checking out.

That's My Boy: It has been awhile since I have checked out an Adam Sandler film. I will eventually check out all of them, including the bound to be awful Jack and Jill, but so little time to watch movies has left me staying away from them. Eventually I will check this one out as well.

Chernobyl Diaries: Horror film release of the week. Skipping.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50x3: Flakes (J-1)

As I was watching this movie I immediately thought two things: 1) Why is this not a thing? 2) Since it is not a thing, why can't I make this happen?

For Jessica's first film on the list I watched Flakes. I had never heard of this film, nor did I have any idea what it was about. I didn't even know who was in it except Zooey Deschanel - and that was only because she was on the cover of the poster.

So, the film stars Aaron Stanford as Neal Downs, a struggling musician who works at a local 'restaurant' named Flakes. It is owned by an old hippie stoner, Willie (Christopher Lloyd).

The 'restaurant' is actually just a little place that serves bowls of cereal. What an amazing premise. Who doesn't love cereal? I mean I can eat it at pretty much any meal, or just grab it as a snack - with or without milk.

This place is a Cheers-esque place where they have a certain repeat clientele - and sort of created their own little niche in the area. They brought in special cereal from all over, and worked at getting some brands that were even discontinued.

Deschanel plays Pussy Katz, Downs' girlfriend. She is pretty much a struggling artist, who really encourages Downs to get back into the studio and finish his album - which would mean taking time off at the restaurant. He promises to take some time off to finish it, but stuff continues to come up and he never does it.

One afternoon, Stuart (Keir O'Donnell) comes into the restaurant and sees a moneymaking opportunity and asks Downs if he would like to franchise the place. Downs and Willie are both pretty anti-big business and toss Stuart out.

But, not long after a place just like Flakes opens across the street - and to his surprise is run by Stuart. As the two restaurants begin to fight for customers - Downs decides to stay on board and not take the time off to work on his album. This angers Pussy, and to hurt him in a way she takes a job for the rival restaurant.

So, Downs now has three things going on - save the original Flakes restaurant, finish his album and make peace with his girlfriend.

Very surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. I pretty much like most Deschanel films, and adding a little Christopher Lloyd to the mix only enhances that. I wasn't familiar with many of the other actors, but they all did extremely well.

A small, odd film about cereal - it's amazing how such as simple premise could be so enjoyable.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 10/9/12

Prometheus: Honestly when I first heard of this I wasn't really into it. But, after hearing it was a prequel to the Alien films, I became a bit more intrigued. I have actually only seen the first two Alien films, but I will definitely have to check out the others and will eventually look into this one as well.

Rock of Ages: Heard some good and some bad about this film. I can say, though, that when I saw the trailer in the theater I definitely wanted to check it out. Alec Baldwin looked like the stoner, old roadie - then Julianne Hough (fresh off seeing her in Footloose) and Tom Cruise as an aging rock star. I was all in - and I still will be checking it out despite some of the harsh reviews.

The Raven: Growing up one of the few authors I did enjoy was Edgar Allen Poe - and I really enjoy John Cusack, but this just doesn't look like a film for me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

50x3: Rent (E-1)

Let me first preface this by saying I have obviously never seen the Broadway show that this film is based upon. After doing some research I did find out that most of the characters from the original Broadway cast reprised their role in the film, which was obviously a good choice.

Anyway, the film is title Rent (the first film from Erika) for many reasons - the most of which I believe is that the characters are showing us the we are all just 'renting' our time here on Earth and eventually our lease will be up. The more literal reason is pointed out that Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) and Roger Davis (Adam Pascal), who have been living in a rent-free apartment, all of a sudden are being notified that they need to pay a year's worth of rent.

Former friend and now husband of a girl whose father owns these buildings, Benjamin Coffin (Taye Diggs), is the one sending out the notices to those in the apartment. But, if Mark and Roger can somehow force Maureen Johnson (Idina Menzel) to not perform her protest, then their rent continues to be free.

A lot is happening in this film (show) over the course of  a year. Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) comes to visit his friends Mark, who is a struggling film maker, and Roger, who is a struggling musician. Before making it to the apartment, though, Tom is mugged and found in the street by Angel Dumott Schunard (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), a drag queen. Tom and Angel share a few things in common - both are gay and both just happen to have the AIDS virus.

Maureen is Mark's former girlfriend, who is now dating a lawyer named Joanne Jefferson (Tracie Thoms). Mark had never met Joanne, and for the longest time thought she was a man.

Finally we have Roger, who lost his girlfriend after she killed herself upon learning the both had contracted HIV - that we speculate was due to his use of drugs. He has sort of shut himself off from love while trying to write the perfect song - but a downstairs neighbor Mimi (Rosario Dawson) comes up to get a candle lit on a cold night and the two sort of hit it off. But, since Mimi is currently still using drugs, Roger kicks her out.

So much going on and, for the most part, we learn almost everything through song.

I would say that about 3/4 of the music in the film is outstanding, while some of the songs I felt were rather forced just to push the story along. But, I definitely came away with a lot of new songs stuck in my head - but especially the first song (though I had heard that one before).

The characters and the acting in this film were so amazing. Obviously using, for the most part, the same actors from the Broadway production was the right way to go. They had been these characters for awhile and knew how to portray them. I am not saying it would have been a terrible film if they had used different actors - but you can just tell that they really owned their characters.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 10/2/12

Dark Shadows: A Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. STOP THE PRESSES! I had previously never heard of the television series that this film was based upon, but I guess from things I have heard the film didn't really stay true to the series anyway. I will probably check it out, but I am not really expecting much.

People Like Us: So, ever since Star Trek I have sort of enjoyed Chris Pine's work, and tend to check him out when I can. Plus, this film has Mark Duplass from The League and the always enjoyable to look at Olivia Wilde. Film looks more like something my wife would like - so probably a film we can check out together.

Iron Sky: This premise just sounds so crazy: the Nazis are apparently not gone, but are living on a secret hideout base located on the moon until they plan to return to the Earth in 2018. How crazy is that?

Red Lights: The cast in this looks great, Cillian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro - but the story itself does not interest me, and I am apparently not alone as it didn't do that well with the box office.

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding: Wow, I like a lot of people in this movie as well. But, I was expecting this to be a Sarah Jessica Parker film, yet it isn't. This just looks really bad.

Monday, October 1, 2012

50x3: Three O'Clock High (M-1)

It seems with each list I am able to get caught up on some '80s high school films I missed for some reason or another, and this list is no different.

So, with the first selection off of Matt's list we have Three O'Clock High. The film is probably the step-child of those brat-pack films from John Hughes. The film had the same sort of feel of those films - and it's odd that this one is never mentioned.

Like most '80s film the premise revolves around a kid, Jerry Mitchell (Casey Siemaszko), who is a run-of-the-mill high school student and it just so happens that his parents are out of town - though this really doesn't have much to do with the actual story.

Mitchell is one of the school store runners, and also happens to be a journalist on the school newspaper. On this particular the day, the school is abuzz about a new student that is coming to school, Buddy Revell (Richard Tyson). Buddy brings with him a ton of a rumors (think Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You - except that it may actually be true).

Mitchell's journalism teacher selects him to do a piece on the new student as a way for the high school to get to know him - and as a way to welcome Buddy to the school.

A chance meeting in the bathroom with Buddy, Mitchell decides to try and talk to him - but it appears the rumors may in fact be true as Buddy doesn't want to be bothered. As Mitchell tries to get closer to him he touches him - as one of the rumors clearly stated never to do - and Buddy decides it's too much and tells Mitchell there will be a fight after school at 3 p.m.

The rest of the film is Mitchell trying desperately to find a way out of the fight, whether that be trying to get Buddy kicked out of school, escaping, paying a bigger guy to fight Buddy, or flat out paying Buddy not to fight him.

Like most of the '80s brat pack films this was was rather enjoyable, though it did lack that bit of heart that those films usually have woven into it.

Siemaszko, though apparently still acting, I have never heard of except in this film - and he wasn't a real standout actor.

To me the standouts were Tyson as Buddy - a really great villain (you may remember him from Kindergarten Cop), with a lot of hair. And, Jerry's sister Brei, who was played by Stacey Glick. I looked up her resume as well, and she has been in nothing - which is a shame because I felt she was really great as his kid sister.

Again, decent. Not spectacular, but a fun watch that I can see watching again.