MOV037: “Thank you Andre, I’ll have the Veal Picatta”

The boys review a wide variety this week. Does “Hot Shots!” still deliver on the spoof comedy front? Is “The Way Back” just too long to hold their attention? Will “Thor” hammer his way into their hearts or just be eye-candy? It’s also Oscar and Razzie nomination time, so the boys weigh in on their predictions. All this and more in this episode of COL Movies!

News:

The Past: Hot Shots! (1991)

Director: Jim Abrahms

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Cary Elwes, Valeria Golino

Trivia:

  • Charlie Sheen (Topper), Jon Cryer (Washout) and Ryan Styles (Mailman) would all go on to work together on the TV show “Two and a half men”
  • Several of the Aircraft Carrier scenes were re-used stock footage from “Flight of The Intruder” and “The Final Countdown”
  • Valeria Golino claims the scene in which she catches an olive popped out of her bellybutton was accomplished without trick photography.
  • Lloyd Bridges replaced George C. Scott
  • The aircraft carrier on which the movie takes place is actually a wooden deck built on the edge of a cliff at a deserted Marineland facility. The film was shot at an angle that made the deck look like a ship at sea.
  • Topper Harley’s name comes from Harley-Davidson’s 1960’s motor scooter, the Harley Topper.

Talking Points:

  • Where would you say this movie rates within the genre?
  • Lloyd Bridges, nuff said.
  • Did you have a favorite character?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Always check your chair for chihuahuas before sitting down
  • Charlie Sheen would have possibly made a good superman
  • Not playing to win is like sleeping with your sister
  • You can’t be an admiral without your cap
  • Movie credits are a good place for recipes

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Now this is the type of comedy I love.
Ray: Took me a while, but it had me laughing at the end of it.
Steve: Spoof classic. Clever from everything from visuals, writing, and delivery of lines. Surprisingly cerebral at times. I like this a ton more than Airplane any day.

The Present: The Way Back

Director: Peter Weir

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell

Trivia:

  • The film is based on a memoir by Slavomir Rawicz depicting his escape from a Siberian gulag and subsequent 4000-mile walk to freedom in India. Incredibly popular, it sold over 500,000 copies and is credited with inspiring many explorers. However, in 2006 the BBC unearthed records (including some written by Rawicz himself) that showed he had been released by the USSR in 1942. In 2009 another former Polish soldier, Witold Glinski, claimed that the book was really an account of his own escape. However this claim too has been seriously challenged

Talking Points:

  • Did anyone find the switching between subtitles and non-subtitles confusing
  • Escape was anticlimactic
  • Was the passage of time adequately conveyed?
  • Was the Prison sequence itself too long? Could this movie been about.. an hour shorter?

What We Learned:

  • In Siberia, kindness can kill you
  • Grateful is for dogs
  • Snake Tastes like Chicken
  • This is a great movie to watch if you need to fall asleep.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Great movie, just suffers from extreme lag.
Ray: “yaaaaaaaawn” I think there was more walking in this movie than The Lord of The Rings movies.
Steve: Although I liked it, I did take about a 15 minute nap in the middle. It did feel very “epic” and the settings/locations were very authentic looking and gorgeous. Definitely made me feel for the characters.

The Future: Thor (5-6-2011)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman

Trivia:

  • Director Kenneth Branagh conceptualized this film as a Norse/comic-book twist on William Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’, which was about a young king who underwent trials and tribulations: fighting a war, courting a girl from another land, and basic character development.
  • The Original Screenplay written in 2006 would have taken approx 300 million dollars to make
  • Sam Raimi had planned to direct this movie after the film “Darkman” (1990)
  • Jim Carrey was a long time favorite to play the Role of Loki
  • Daniel Craig, Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Triple H were all considered for the part of Thor
  • Natalie Portman took the role of Jane Foster because she couldn’t resist the opportunity to do a comic book movie with Kenneth Branagh “I was just like Kenneth Branagh doing ‘Thor’ is super-weird, Ive Gotta Do it”
  • Anthony Hopkins signed on as Odin despite never reading a “Thor” comic or knowing anything about the Thor mythology. It was the concept of the father and son relationship that intrigued him about the role
  • Stan Lee claims he’d always wanted to play Odin, but was happy with Anthony Hopkins’s casting and performance in the role.

Talking Points:

  • Costumes? Anyone else think they look like Stargate + Power Rangers?
  • Anyone else thing Tom Hiddleston looks like Johnny Weir?
  • Thor = Dickhead?

Summary:
The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: The trailer is actually making me excited. I’m still concerned for two words, “Kenneth Branagh”
Ray: Not doing it for me.. Can we have the Avengers now?
Steve: I fell for the trailer. I think it looks good and so does Thor himself! Sir Anthony Hopkins can lure me in anytime because he’s not going to be associated with crap.

Coming Attractions:
The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV036: “I Done Yold You, I’m Strictly Dickly!”

The boys go back in time to resurrect Queen Latifah’s les-bionic performance in “Set It Off”. Seth Rogen gets to play superhero in “The Green Hornet”…was it a hit or should he just stick to schtik comedy? The boys also debate the highly anticipated “Green Lantern” – will the fanboys out there even give it a chance or is it dead before release? The Golden Globes, sequel news and much, much more in this exciting episode of COL Movies!

News:

The Past: Set It Off (1996)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Starring: Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, John C. McGinley

Trivia:

  • Many critics, both positively and negatively, refer to this movie a merging of “Dead Presidents” and “Waiting to Exhale”.
  • 61% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 85% audience approval rating.
  • A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on September 24, 1996 by Eastwest Records. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and was certified platinum on November 12, 1996.
  • Critic James Berardinelli wrote, “What sets this movie apart from the innumerable other entries into the action/caper genre is its social perspective. Set It Off doesn’t preach, but you’d have to be blind not to recognize that there’s a message here about the kind of desperation that can result from the familiar cycle of poverty, sexism, and racism.”
  • From scouring the internet for information, it is clear this film was either loved or hated.

Talking Points:

  • Queen Latifah’s performance (If this came out today, do you think she’d get nominated?)
  • Melodrama at it’s finest?
  • Compassion for the characters?

What We’ve Learned:

  • If you’re going to skip the country, throw on a sombrero and jump on a seniors’ bus to Mexico.
  • Don’t hide stolen money in the A/C vent.
  • Cover your face if you’re going to rob a bank!
  • Every bank robbery movie ends with only one member of the gang surviving. (The Town, Takers)

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Does every bank robbery movie have to end with all but one of the main characters getting killed?
Ray: I found it cliché, but props to Latifah for an awesome performance.
Steve: See this movie! OK, so it’s overly-melodramatic, but the acting is great and definitely reminds you that women can be just as hard as men! Queen Latifah was outstanding. If you’re a fan of her, this will only make you like her more.

The Present: The Green Hornet

Director: Michel Gondry

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson

Trivia:

  • When the rights to the Green Hornet property were purchased by Mirimax, Kevin Smith was attached to write and direct this film. However, Smith pulled out of directing due to an insecurity of directing something with such a larger budget than he was used to. He stayed on as writer and wrote two drafts, but with no further progress with the script, the rights were let go and purchased by Columbia Pictures. Then, coincidentally, his Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) star, Seth Rogen, became attached to star and write the screenplay. Smith’s screenplay, however, would resurface later in the form of a comic book miniseries.
  • Seth Rogen shed 30 pounds to play the titular role.
  • In late 2008, Stephen Chow was set to direct and co-star as Kato. However, creative differences prevented him from doing so although, for a while, it seemed he was still set to play Kato when Michel Gondry became attached.
  • The film’s release date was originally the day that an adaptation of another emerald hero was to be released, Green Lantern (2011).
  • Nicolas Cage was in negotiations to play Chudnofsky, but dropped out.
  • ‘The Green Hornet’ was originally a radio show, first broadcast in 1936 and running to 1952. Although there were two serials in the 1940s (13 and 15 chapters, respectively), the last six chapters of the first one re-edited into a 100-minute feature and several episodes of the 1966 TV series were edited together into a pair of 90-minute films, this is the first original feature-length Hollywood treatment of the costumed hero.
  • James Wan was considered to direct before Michel Gondry came aboard.
  • Brit Reid (The Green Hornet) in the radio program was the grandnephew of The Lone Ranger. His father rode with The Lone Ranger on some of his adventures and they shared the family name of Reid.
  • Abbie Cornish was in early talks to play Lenore.
  • Jay Chou improvised the line “I don’t want to touch you” in the trailer.
  • Asian pop star Jay Chou got the role of Kato after a video conference with Seth Rogen was set up. He was invited to do a screen test – the filmmakers did not know he was a famous singer in Asia up until the last moments.
  • Seth Rogen’s first live action film not to be rated R.
  • One of the drawings in Kato’s sketchbook is of Bruce Lee, who played Kato in the 1966 TV series.
  • George Clooney, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Wahlberg and Vince Vaughn were previously considered to play the lead role.

Talking Points:

  • Is this another schizo movie?
  • Who should have played The Green Hornet/Britt?
  • Do we think this movie may have suffered from the star being executive producer?

What We Learned:

  • Kato is MUCH cooler than The Green Hornet.
  • Don’t hit on your employees.
  • Knock out gas guns can be very helpful to have around!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I want a sequel. Not because this was a good movie, but because I can see what a good sequel could be. Oh, and bring back Kevin Smith to at least write.
Ray: Had a couple laughs, but to me the best part of this movie will be that I will never have to watch the trailer for this movie again.
Steve: Well, my fears were realized. I’m not going say it was completely awful due to Kato, but it was otherwise a waste of time. Next.

The Future: The Green Lantern (releasing June 17, 2011)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong

Trivia:

  • Greg Berlanti signed on to co-write and direct the film in 2007, but he stepped down to instead direct This Is Where I Leave You (2011) and handed direction over to Martin Campbell. However, he remained on board as a writer and producer.
  • In the comics, there are currently six people who hold the title of the earth superhero Green Lantern: Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Jade (Scott’s daughter). While this film focuses on Hal Jordan as the primary Green Lantern, Alan Scott, Guy Gardner and John Stewart have cameo appearances to emphasize the ageless presence of the Green Lantern.
  • Sam Worthington and Chris Pine were in consideration for the role of Hal Jordan. Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake and Jared Leto also screen-tested for the role before finally, Ryan Reynolds was cast as Jordan.
  • The Green Lantern is one of the few regular DC Universe superhero that is not connected to Superman or Batman to have its own feature film. Other films, such as Catwoman (2004) or Steel (1997), and Supergirl (1984) are spin-offs of Superman and Batman. Watchmen (2009), although a DC Comics adaptation, takes place in a different universe than the regular DC heroes. Swamp Thing (1982) received two films (including the sequel The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) and John Constantine (who debuted in Saga of the Swamp Thing) also had a film with Constantine (2005); though people now associate these two with the Vertigo imprint, John Constantine and the Swamp Thing started in mainstream titles and occasionally still appear in mainstream titles.
  • The casting of Ryan Reynolds creates the rare occasion of an actor who has both played a Marvel Comics and DC Comics superhero. He had previously played Wade Wilson/Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity (2004)
  • Brian Austin Green, a fan of the Green Lantern, campaigned actively to get the role of Hal Jordan.
  • The movie was originally scheduled to be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia but the rising Australian dollar forced the studio and director Martin Campbell to seek relocation, New Orleans and various parishes around the city was chosen because it was it was perfect location from the scouts, the city has perfect aura for filming almost anything, many studio’s are being built in the city now known as Hollywood south and Louisiana tax incentive that many other cities have copied but still not as successful as Louisiana have help make it easy to film big and small budget movies in the State.
  • Keri Russell, Eva Green, Jennifer Garner and Diane Kruger were all considered to play Carol Ferris.
  • Peter Sarsgaard’s casting as Hector Hammond marks him the third actor from Kinsey (2004) to be appear as a character in a Batman movie. The previous ones were Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard in Batman Begins (2005), Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), and Sarsgaard’s wife Maggie Gyllenhaal also appears as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • The city of Oa will be designed based on the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Comic book writer Geoff Johns, who has worked on the “Green Lantern” comic and made it a resounding success, was signed on as a creative consultant on the film.
  • At one point Clark Kent/Superman was in the script (he had a cameo as one of the candidates considered to receive a power ring), but he was cut out because the filmmakers didn’t want to depend on another superhero for a success.
  • The scriptwriters drew inspiration from the Green Lantern comics ‘Emerald Dawn’ (which told the story of Hal Jordan’s induction into the Green Lantern Corps and how he became its greatest member) and ‘Secret Origin’ (a modern retelling of Hal Jordan’s early days as a Green Lantern), as well as the work of Denny O’Neil-Neal Adams and Dave Gibbons’ work on the “Green Lantern” comic.
  • A cameo was considered for the Green Lantern John Stewart, but he will instead appear in the film’s sequel as Hal Jordan’s successor/protégé (as seen in the comics).
  • Around June 2006, Robert Smigel had completed a script of the film, which was a comedy-adventure and was to star Jack Black in the lead role. However, the studio dropped the script idea due to EXTREME negative feedback from fans.
  • In early 1997, Warner Bros. approached cult filmmaker/comic book writer Kevin Smith to script the film. Smith turned down the offer, believing there were other suitable candidates to make a Green Lantern movie.
  • When Greg Berlanti was in charge, he hired comic book writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim to work on the script.
  • Zack Snyder was approached to direct the film, but he turned down the offer due to his commitment on Watchmen (2009).
  • A prop of the Green Lantern power ring and battery were constructed for the film.
  • Not counting the “The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure” or the “Superfriends” shows that were produced by Filmation and Hanna-Barbara, this is only the second D.C. feature where Hal Jordan has a major role. Previously, he only appeared in Green Lantern: First Flight (2009), and beyond that: – in a “Superman” (1996) episode he was only mentioned by name – in “Justice League” (2001) and “Duck Dodgers” (2003) he made cameo appearances in one episode each – and in Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) he played a supporting role.
  • This is the second D.C. feature starring Alan Scott in a minor role. Previously, he had appeared in “Smallville: Absolute Justice (#9.11)” (2001).
  • This is the second D.C. feature starring Guy Gardner in a minor role. Previously, he had appeared in a “Duck Dodgers” (2003) episode and in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2008).
  • This is the second D.C. feature where John Stewart appears. However, it is only in a minor role: he had previously had a major role in “Justice League” (2001).
  • The GL Corps uniform will be portrayed in computer-generated imagery: Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong will wear motion-capture suits, over which their uniforms will be rendered. The decision for a computer graphics uniform was a creative move by the filmmakers, who wanted the uniform not to be a real cloth outfit but a light construct generated by Jordan’s power ring.
  • A life-size prop of Abin Sur’s escape pod was constructed for the crash site scene.
  • Peter Sarsgaard had a prosthetic applied on his head to portray Hector Hammond in the initial stages of his mutation (a swollen brain). For scenes where Hammond’s head actually enlarges it will be done in CGI.
  • It took 4-5 hours to apply the prosthetic make-up to Temuera Morrison to make him resemble Abin Sur.
  • This is editor Stuart Baird’s third superhero film, having previously worked on Superman (1978) and Superman II: Restoring the Vision (2006) (the Zorro films are debatable).
  • Geoff Johns tried to get the film produced in 2000, but the first question he was asked was whether the film could be made without the ring. This discouraged him so badly that he didn’t make another attempt until The Dark Knight (2008) released.
  • A mannequin of Abin Sur was constructed for Amanda Waller’s autopsy.
  • The comics vary on why the Green Lantern Abin Sur travelled in a spaceship when his ring could sustain him in space. The early comics say it was to prevent unnecessarily using the power on his ring; later versions presented him with a prophecy that his ring would fail him (which ironically came true at the moment his ship malfunctioned).
  • Martin Campbell’s favorite Green Lantern is Bzzd. He has also said that if he could become a Green Lantern, he would be Kilowog.
  • To prepare for Carol Ferris’s action scenes, Blake Lively underwent training on the The Matrix (1999)’s aerial stunt rigs, assisted by acrobats from the “Cirque du Soleil” and supervised by noted stunt coordinator Gary Powell. She described it as a great experience: “I’m 40 feet in the air, spiralling around. That’s the best workout you can ever do because it’s all core… You do that for ten minutes and you should see your body the next day! It’s so exhilarating, so thrilling – and nauseating.”
  • Taika Waititi got the role of Thomas “Pieface” Kalmaku due to his Maori-Jewish heritage: “There was an opening in the film for someone who was not-white or not-black.”
  • Peter Sarsgaard described Hector Hammond as an expression of what he keeps inside: “He’s the kid that licked a battery, or went on the roof during a thunderstorm with a coat hanger.”
  • Peter Sarsgaard loved his look as Hector Hammond so much he declared himself the “king of the prostheses!”
  • In the comics, Carol Ferris became the Star Sapphire, an anti-hero with abilities similar to the Green Lantern; she later became a soldier (and currently queen) of the Star Sapphire Corps, a all-female force parallel to the Green Lantern Corps . The Star Sapphire logo can be seen on Carol’s helmet as she flies her jet.
  • The filmmakers considered making this film about Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, whose powers were magical rather than cosmic. They decided to go with Hal Jordan as he was the most popular Lantern and the one on whom (most of) the GL universe was constructed around.
  • There will be about 133 VFX shots in the film.
  • Quentin Tarantino was considered to direct this film.
  • Carol Ferris says Hal has the ability to overcome great fear. In the comics this was an amendment of the Green Lantern Corps: one originally had to be without fear in order to be a Lantern, but this was later changed to being able to overcome their fears.
  • The films first teaser trailer borrowed the trailer score from The Last Airbender (2010), which is “Lonely Dusk” performed by Methodic Doubt.
  • Hugo Weaving, Jackie Earle Haley and Geoffrey Rush were considered to for the role of Sinestro.
  • The different Green Lanterns from Earth were created using real people: Alan Scott, created in July 1940 by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger, was based on Alan Ladd. In fact, his complete name is Alan Ladd Wellington Scott; Hal Jordan, created in October 1959 by John Broome and Gil Kane, was based on Paul Newman. His complete name is Harold ‘Hal’ Jordan; Guy Gardner, created in March 1968 by John Broome and Gil Kane, was based on Martin Milner. Although he has the same name that a NASA’s astronaut, his name became after fan Guy H. Lillian III and writer Gardner Fox. His complete name is Guy Darrin Gardner; John Stewart, created in December 1971 by Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil, was based on Sidney Poitier; and Kyle Rayner, created in January 1994 by Ron Marz and Darryl Banks, was based on Keanu Reeves. In addition, John Broome and Gil Kane created too Carol Ferris in September 1959 (after Elizabeth Taylor), Hector Hammond in March 1961 (after Burl Ives) and Sinestro in August 1961 (after David Niven).
  • As well as Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner, in September 1967 John Broome and Gil Kane created other Green Lantern from Earth called Charles ‘Charlie’ Vicker. He was an actor who portrayed Green Lantern in a TV show and that briefly had Jordan’s power ring, helping to this last one in a real adventure. Named Green Lantern honorary by the Guardians of the Universe, he was assigned to the Sector 3319. When the Green Lantern Corps were destroyed he joined other organization called Darkstars (created by The Controllers, a split from the Guardians), dying finally during the invasion of the planet Rann by Grayven, third son of Darkseid (July 1996). Vicker was based on Warren Beatty after the release of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) one month ago of Vicker’s first appearance. Due to his low popularity levels his appearances were always shorts along the years before the editors decided to kill him.
  • In the comics Jordan is a captain of the US Air Force, nicknamed “Highball”, who serves in the Edwards Air Force Base and that he’s helped by General Jonathan “Herc” Stone and his fellow pilot Jillian “Cowgirl” Perlman, that both know about Jordan as Green Lantern. In addition, Jordan and Perlman live a sporadic romance, making it a doubt in Jordan to choose between Perlman and Ferris, but all this have been vanished for the movie. Stone and Perlman were created in 2005 by Geoff Johns and they were based on Patrick Bauchau and Gwyneth Paltrow respectively.
  • In the comics, the Checkmate organization (of which Amanda Waller and Alan Scott are agents) is specializes in covert operations. In the film, it is seen as a supervising agency (similar to S.H.I.E.L.D. or Sector Seven).
  • Originally, the primary antagonist in the film was to be the Legion, an alien armored robot. The script, when revised, removed the Legion and substituted it with the fear entity Parallax. This was part of a long-term strategy for successive films: Sinestro would be corrupted by Parallax and form his own Corps with Parallax as its power source, while other entities of emotional power (the Butcher, Ophidian, Ion, Adara, Proselyte and the Predator) and their Corps would make their presence known.
  • The comics differ over what caused Abin Sur’s mortal crash-landing on Earth. The original story says his ship was rendered inoperative by yellow radiation that surrounded the Earth; later comics mention his ship was damaged from a battle with a Red Lantern. The film combines both versions (battle within a field of yellow radiation), thus enabling the possibility of the Red Lantern Corps appearing in future films.
  • In the comics, Hal Jordan was possessed by the fear entity Parallax and went on a rampage throughout Earth. In the film this happens to Hector Hammond.

Talking Points:

  • Comparisons between film and comics – will they be justified or should we just let it be a feature film that stands on its own?

Summary:
A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
Ray: I’m not digging the comedic tone of the trailer, but Ill go see it.
Steve: Definitely interested in seeing it. Visuals look great! Just hoping they don’t try too hard to throw in catch phrases or cutesy lines.

Coming Attractions:
The Past

The Present

The Future


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MOV035: “We’re going to need more holy water!”

Should “The Neverending Story” be put to bed?  Should we collectively dance in hopes of quickly ending “The Season of the Witch”?  Should we just let the aliens blow up LA in “Battle: Los Angeles”?  Are our childhood Atari wet dreams coming to life in a live-action Missile Command movie?  Also, Bond, Trent Reznor, and the Bible are all in movie news!  This and much, much more in this episode of COL Movies!!

News:

  • Missile Command Movie?
  • Bond 23 on again! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/11/james-bond-23-new-007-film-announced_n_807556.html
  • Trent scores another movie http://www.slashfilm.com/trent-reznor-scoring-david-finchers-version-the-girl-dragon-tattoo/
  • Turning the Bible into soft core gay porn? http://www.cinemablend.com/new/New-David-And-Goliath-Movie-Will-Basically-Turn-The-Bible-Into-300-22506.html

The Past: The Neverending Story (1984)

Director: Wolfgang Peterson

Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver and Tami Stronach

Trivia:

  • Author Michael Ende decided that he was unhappy with the film’s version of his story, and refused to have his name placed in the opening credits. A small credit appears at the end with his name.
  • The nighthob says a profanity in the opening scene where the rockbiter appears running down all in its path. This profanity is often dubbed over by the grumble of the rockbiter’s scooter, so that it can be shown as a children’s film.
  • Most of the film was shot in Germany in the summer of 1983. It was Germany’s hottest summer in 25 years.
  • The original Auryn for this film now hangs in an enclosed glass display in Steven Spielberg’s office.
  • Was the most expensive film ever produced in Germany at the time it was made.
  • Noah Hathaway was hurt twice during the making of the movie. During his horse riding training he was thrown off a horse which then stepped on him. Then during the shooting of the drowning sequence in the “swamp of sadness” his leg got caught on the elevator and he was pulled under water. He was unconscious by the time he was brought to the surface.
  • “The Childlike Empress” wasn’t just child-“like”. She was portrayed by Iranian born dancer Tami Stronach who was only 11 years old when the production started.
  • The film itself actually “ends” about halfway through the book.
  • The name of the mystical land in (the English translation of) the original novel was Fantastica, not Fantasia, but the original German name Phantásien translates more accurately into English as Fantasia.
  • The theme song was sang by Limahl, who was the lead singer of the pop band Kajagoogoo.
  • The makeup team on the movie tried to paint Noah Hathaway green, just as Atreyu is in the book. “It wasn’t believable. I looked like fungi!” Hathaway said.
  • Noah Hathaway almost lost an eye during the fight-scene versus Gmork. One of the claws on his giant paws poked him in the face. The robot was also so heavy that he lost his breath as well when he was hit to the ground by it. They only made one shot due to the risk that he would get seriously wounded.
  • You can “ride” on Falcor’s back on location at the Bavaria Filmplatz Munich, Germany.
  • The name that Bastian screams almost indecipherable into the night is “Moonchild”.
  • During filming in Germany, because it was an unusually hot summer one of the statues of the Ivory Tower actually melted. On other days, the crew were forced to shut down production because the blue backgrounds for the matte work refused to operate properly.
  • Falkor is actually a 43-foot long motorized creature with 6,000 plastic scales and pink feather-fur. His head his three feet tall and long, and has a long tongue in the mouth.
  • Tami Stronach was attending theatre classes in San Francisco when she got the audition to be The Childlike Empress. Her acting teacher was friends with the production executive and talent scout Anna Gross. Tami initially believed she was auditioning for a little play and had no idea it was to be for a major motion picture.
  • Noah Hathaway was due to appear in the Broadway show “Chaplin” alongside Gene Kelly and Ann Margaret, but opted to do “The Neverending Story” instead. He had been cast in the film, then the original director was fired, and when Wolfgang Petersen was hired, Noah was immediately re-hired.
  • Only the scenes in the city and at Bastian’s home were not shot in the Bavaria Studios in Munich, Germany, but in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) now owns and operates a tattoo parlor in Los Angeles, California with his wife.
  • Tami lost both front teeth shortly before filming and they made her fake teeth which caused her to lisp until she learned to compensate for them.

Talking Points:

  • Could you consider this the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” of the 1980s?
  • Is this a depressing movie for kids or what?
  • Which character left you with the biggest impression – and why?

What We’ve Learned:

  • It’s ok to steal books! (as long as you leave a note that you’ll return it)
  • Schools in the 80s didn’t take attendance
  • Oompa Loompa’s ride racing snails
  • Limestone Rocks have a delicious bouquet
  • Ancient Turtles are pretty Emo.. and allergic to youth
  • People who have no hope are easy to control.
  • Who wouldn’t want a luck dragon?

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Always a classic. Childhood flashback movie that is good for anyone of any age.
Ray: Its a favorite movie of mine, but can be a bit dark.. use your discretion before showing it to your kids
Steve: Definitely one of the most memorable movies from my childhood. It’s great to revisit as an adult, but you get a whole new perspective with adult eyes.

Intermission: Jeff’s Brief BearCity Review

The Present: Season of The Witch

Director: Dominic Sena

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and Claire Foy

Trivia:

  • Development on the film began in 2000 when the spec script by screenwriter Bragi F. Schut was purchased by MGM.
  • The film had a budget of approximately US$40 million, and much of the budget was covered by Relativity with pre-sales to distributors outside the United States.
  • Filming took place in Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Most of the principal photography took place in practical locations, with several days committed to filming on greenscreen.
  • Principal photography was completed by April 2009, but the cast and crew re-gathered a few months later to film additional battle sequences, filming on greenscreen to save on travel.
  • The art directors researched woodcuts and other artwork for classic demonic appearances. The filmmakers requested an entity “lithe and feminine”, and the visual effects crew designed a demon that had “cloven feet, a dog ankle and a fawn leg”. Designing visual effects for the demon’s wings was the biggest challenge since wings tend to get in the way or do not move convincingly. The filmmakers also requested holes in the demon’s wings, so the crew designed holes that appeared worn instead of ripped since ripped holes would require an added billowing effect.
  • The crew’s final visual effects shot was the death of the demon, and they researched previous films and terminology for how demons’ deaths have been designed.
  • Lionsgate scheduled Season of the Witch to be released on March 19, 2010, but five weeks before the date, the studio decided to pull the film from release. Lionsgate originally had an output deal with Relativity Media, but Relativity formed its own marketing and distribution arm in 2010. Relativity chose to release the film itself and in October 2010 set the film’s new release date for January 7, 2011. Season of the Witch will be Relativity’s first in-house production.

Talking Points:

  • Did it deserve the 5% on Rotten Tomatoes?
  • Odd acting – did it seem like the leads were present day Americans in period clothes, while the supporting cast was in actually performing in period?
  • Was this movie intended to be a farce or serious?

What We Learned:

  • Ron Perlman sports a pretty epic moustache
  • It doesn’t matter if your movie is set in the 14th century, and one of your actors speaks with a new york accent
  • If you’re going to be holding a giant rope to support the weight of anything, wear gloves!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Not a bad movie, not great either, but not half bad.
Ray: Not Shakespeare but not as bad as airbender!
Steve: Enjoyed the visuals of the movie, but the writing and acting was “off”. Liked the concept, just didn’t come together well.

The Future: Battle : Los Angeles

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan

Trivia:

  • The film is inspired by the real life incident known as the Battle of Los Angeles, during World War II. On the night of 24-25 February 1942, unidentified aircraft were allegedly spotted in the airspace above Los Angeles. Suspecting it to be the Japanese, a blackout of the city was ordered and over 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition was fired. Upon finding no evidence of the existence of any enemy aircraft, the incident was declared to be a “false alarm”. The event has since been chalked up to as being a result of “war nerves”, likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining anti-aircraft batteries.
  • Very little of the film was actually shot in Los Angeles. Tax incentives brought the production to Louisiana where sets of Los Angeles streets were constructed.
  • The movie will be released on 03/11/11. 0311 is the Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) for Infantry Riflemen.
  • Don’t be fooled by the direct to DVD release “mockbuster”: Battle of Los Angeles – it’s not the same movie!

Talking Points:

  • Better than Skyline?
  • Is this just “V” in the movie theater? Original concept?
  • Use of Music in trailer

Summary:
A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

Trailer 3:

Excitement:
Jeff: Yawn
Ray: Excited! Excited! Excited! Especially after seeing the newest trailer.
Steve: I really like how the trailer feeds on our fears. The music is great. I just really hope it holds up. I will see it, but don’t have any expectations.

Coming Attractions
The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV034: “Ain’t That A Little Honey?”

Can DeNiro really drive a taxi? What was your favorite DeNiro movie? Did Marky Mark send out Good Vibrations in The Fighter, or should he taken a dive? Can James Cameron save the people trapped in the Sanctum? And what do these three movies have in common? All these questions will be answered plus the boys discuss whether you really need a Netflix button on your remote on this “very special” 100th review episode of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodi Foster, Cybill Shepherd

Trivia:

  • De Niro worked as a cab driver for a month, pulling 12 hour shifts to prepare for the role.
  • Connie Foster, Jodi’s 19 year old sister had to play as Body Double for the then 12 year old Jodi for scenes that were too “Explicit” for her to be on set.
  • The Restaurant used in the movie is a real life cabbie hangout. The Belmore Cafeteria is on 28th and Part Ave South
  • The Girl Scorsese studied to prepare for the role of Iris played her friend on the street
  • The line “You talking to me?” was voted as the #10 movie quote by the American Film Institute, and as as the #8 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
  • Robert De Niro has claimed that the “You talkin’ to me?” scene was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s banter with his audience at a mid-’70s gig
  • When Brian De Palma was attached to the project, he wanted Melanie Griffith to play Iris, but after two weeks of casting, both Griffth and De Palma were fired. Martin Scorsese replaced Griffith with Linda Blair. However, Blair also withdrew, and Scorsese later replaced Blair with Jodie Foster, but there were more than 200 applicants for the role. Scorsese said that Jodie had the ability to play a 12-year-old prostitute.
  • The story was partially autobiographical for Paul Schrader, who suffered a nervous breakdown while living in Los Angeles. He was fired from the AFI, basically friendless, in the midst of a divorce and was rejected by a girlfriend. Squatting in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment while she was away for a couple of months, Schrader literally didn’t talk to anyone for many weeks, went to porno theaters and developed an obsession with guns. He also shared with Bickle the sense of isolation from being a mid-Westerner in an urban center. Schrader decided to switch the action to New York City only because taxi drivers are far more common there. Schrader’s script clicked with both Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro when they read it.

Talking Points:

  • Anyone think that Rorschach from The Watchman might have been influenced by this character?
  • This movie was really “wet” was there a reason?
  • Do you think this movie is more social commentary for the times when it was made or just an interesting story?
  • Did anyone else think the music at the end of the movie.. the crane shot of the crime scene outside the hotel.. was a little over dramatic?

What We’ve Learned:

  • All the animals come out at night
  • In California, when two fags break up, one’s “got to pay” the other one alimony.
  • WE are the people is not the same as we ARE the people.
  • If a mob kills a stool pigeon they leave a canary on the body.
  • Porn Theatre is probably not the best place to take a date… well depending on the date..
  • women are like a union
  • Cybill Sheperd was really cute when she was younger.
  • OMG….Harvey Keitel was jacked in the 70s!
  • Only in NY can a cabbie almost kill a Presidential candidate, whack a bunch of mobsters, save a child prostitute and recover from a coma…then go right back to driving his cab!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Classic, this should be in your DVD Library.
Ray: If your into gritty modern film noir, its a must see. especially for De Niro’s performance.
Steve: Intriguing look into mid-70s New York and the issues faced by Vets returning from Vietnam. Well acted and very interesting characters. Definitely worth a look.

Intermission: Top De Niro movies

The Present: The Fighter

Director: David O. Russel

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams

Trivia:

  • Mickey O’ Keefe is a Sergeant for the Lowell police department in massachusetts and was the mentor of “Irish” Mickey Ward
  • Art Ramalho’s gym is the actual Lowell West End Gym and not a set. This is in fact where Micky trained and is still a functioning boxing gym to this day.
  • Mark Wahlberg sent the script to Martin Scorsese in hopes he would direct, but he turned it down.
  • Wahlberg started training for the role back in 2005
  • Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct, but left to work on Black Swan

Talking Points:

  • Who do you think gave the best acting performance?
  • Was it just me.. or were there a lot of UGLY people in this movie?
  • The sisters…good, bad, or (and) ugly?
  • The different style of shooting.. out of the ring was more cinematic.. in the ring was very documentary style

What We Learned:

  • Mtv Girls are into 3 ways
  • Dude, its just easier to use the front door, mom knows your in there.
  • The fancy art film, isn’t always the best place to take your date.
  • If you’re a drug addict and someone calls you to do a movie about you…say no!
  • Witness the power of denial….

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Great movie. Unexpectedly enjoyable, must see in my opinion.
Ray: I went into this movie expecting to Hate it.. and I was really entertained.
Steve: Typically do not like this type of film, but I found myself really into it. It was engaging, almost like watching documentary. Definitely enjoyed and recommend it.

The Future: Sanctum

Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Allison Cratchley, Christopher Baker

Trivia:

  • Based on the true story of co-writer Andrew Wight. He once went cave diving and became trapped with fourteen other people in a cave for two days. Their entrance collapsed and they had to look for another way out.

Talking Points:

  • Does James Cameron being attached to this film provide any draw or excitement for you?
  • Based on the trailer, do you think 3D will be good for it?

Summary:

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Freaks me out.
Ray: Not very excited to see this movie.
Steve: Doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Sets look really good, though…and I like the Australian accents!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV033: “Shall we play a game?”

This Reel we take a look at WarGames, True Grit, and the trailer for The Rite. We also take a look at Cinema Blends Most Disappointing movies of 2010 and what’s coming up in 2011.

News:

The Past: WarGames

Director: John Badham

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy

Trivia:

  • The studio had a Galaga and a Galaxian machine delivered to Matthew Broderick’s home, where he practiced for two months to prepare for the arcade scene.
  • The computer used to break into NORAD was programmed to make the correct words appear on the screen, no matter which keys were pressed.
  • When David comes home the day after the NORAD computer break-in, the newscaster on the television is talking about a prophylactic recycling center.
  • The NORAD command center built for the movie was the most expensive set ever constructed up to that time, built at the cost of one million dollars. The producers were not allowed into the actual NORAD command center, so they had to imagine what it was like. In the DVD commentary, director John Badham notes that the actual NORAD command center isn’t nearly as elaborate as the one in the movie; he refers to the movie set as “NORAD’s wet dream of itself.”
  • NORAD HQ set was built in the Cascades, the “Oregon” airport was really Boeing Field, “Goose Island” is really Anderson Island in the southern part of Puget Sound (all in Washington). The last ferry off the island really is at 6:30, and you really are stuck there if you miss it.
  • The delegation from the city of Birmingham, Alabama, visiting NORAD is a tribute to director John Badham’s hometown.
  • The original director was Martin Brest, and several of the scenes he shot are still in the movie. Martin Brest was fired as director a short while into production due to creative differences. He has stated that he took NORAD’S control center layout and did a scaled down version of it for “Beverly Hills Cop”‘s police control center.
  • When John Badham took over as director he changed the photographic process. It’s possible to see changes in the frame lines between old and new footage.
  • According to John Badham, the scene of the jeep trying to crash through the gate at NORAD and turning over was an actual accident. The jeep was supposed to continue through the gate. They added the scene of the characters running from the jeep and down the tunnel and used the botched jeep stunt.
  • The writers’ main inspiration for the character of Professor Stephen Falken was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn’t want the producers exploiting his disability.
  • When the message for the tour group in NORAD is activated, the sound effect that plays is actually used in the video game Galaga, and can also be heard if you listen carefully when David is playing it in the beginning of the movie.
  • The part of Prof. Falken was originally written with the idea of John Lennon playing the part.
  • First cinematic reference to a “firewall” – a security measure used in computer networking and Internet security. This does not predate the existence of the Internet, however, which is considered to have started in 1969.
  • The WOPR, as seen in the movie, was made of wood and painted with a metal-finish paint. As the crew filmed the displays of the WOPR, Special Effects Supervisor Michael L. Fink sat inside and entered information into an Apple II computer that drove the countdown display.
  • A video game version of this movie was made in 1984 for the ColecoVision, Commodore 64 and Atari 8-Bit Computer. The game started out greeting you as Professor Falken and you would play a game of Global Thermonuclear War. Your objective was to stop nuclear war from occurring by protecting the country with various military vehicles and weapons in a set time limit without reaching Defcon 1.
  • The NORAD Computer System (NCS) used 1950’s-era systems in 1983. After WarGames, visitors for the NORAD tour constantly asked to see the modern computer rooms. Partly driven by this, in coming years color displays (mostly on Sun workstations) started replacing the much older equipment. Incidentally, NORAD only detected threats. Strategic Air Command, until 1992, handled responses to threats.

Talking Points:

  • This film definitely set the trend for many technologically-based films in the future.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Given the chance to change grades, even the good girl will.
  • Yes, there was a time when you could smoke inside government buildings.
  • Everything goes back to Tic-Tac-Toe.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Classic movie. Honestly, don’t know how this past me by in my childhood.
Ray: This movie is one of the most influential of my childhood.
Steve: Love it! Classic movie. The technology is what I grew up with.

The Present: True Grit

Director: The Coen Brothers

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Trivia:

  • The original True Grit (1969) featured Robert Duvall. Duvall appeared with Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009). His cousin Wayne Duvall appeared in the Coen Brothers’ earlier film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
  • The original True Grit (1969) starred John Wayne in the role of Marshall Reuben J. ‘Rooster’ Cogburn which is played by Jeff Bridges in this film. Both actors have very similar nicknames. Wayne is also known as Duke while Bridges is known as The Dude.
  • Michael Biehn auditioned for the role of ‘Lucky’ Ned Pepper but lost out to Barry Pepper.
  • Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin have both played the character of Wild Bill Hickok in separate productions before starring in this film together. Bridges played Hickok in Wild Bill (1995) and Brolin played Hickok in The Young Riders (1989).

Talking Points:

  • Did this come off more as a period film than a “western”?

What We Learned:

  • Sleeping in a coffin for free is better than being out on the street.
  • Texas Rangers think they’re better than US Marshalls.
  • You’re not Labeef

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Very well done movie, loved the entire cast, but like alot of westerns, I myself got bored. Still think that should win some Oscars.
Ray: I enjoyed it, and im not a fan of westerns. I think Mattie deserves some sort of award for this, gonna keep an eye on her in the future for sure!
Steve: Enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Mattie was annoying, but Matt Damon made up for it. 🙂 I’d be shocked it if it’s not nominated for Best Picture.

The Future: The Rite

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alice Braga, Ciaran Hinds & Rutger Hauer

Trivia:

  • The first trailer for the film features music from Wojciech Kilar’s score of Dracula (1992), which also starred Anthony Hopkins.
  • Supposedly based on a true story.
  • The film is based on the book The Making of a Modern Day Exorcist by Rome based Matt Baglio, which was released in 2009 over Doubleday. To research the book, Baglio participated in a seminar on exorcism by the Vatican.
  • The book follows Father Gary Thomas, an parish priest from Saratoga, California, who is tasked by the local bishop in San Jose, California, with becoming the exorcist for the diocese. Skeptical and reluctant, Father Gary becomes an “apprentice” to a Rome-based exorcist and his skepticism is soon replaced by the cold reality of evil and the ways it sometimes takes the form of demonic possession.

Talking Points:

  • This seems to be an interesting spin on the exorcism genre…what do y’all think?

Summary:

  • The Rite centers on a disillusioned young American priest. In the Vatican, he learns to carry out exorcisms and finds his faith renewed through encounters with demons.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: A new type of exorcism, I’d kinda like to see it.
Ray: I love anything that messes with or puts a spin on church history or theology.. im there.
Steve: With all the exorcism movies of late, this one seems to be one they are going to get right! I’m liking that it has a deeper “meaning”.

The Past

The Present

The Future

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