MOV071: “What we have here..is a Dead Shark”

Join Jeff Steve and Myself as we take a trip back to 1977 to watch “Annie Hall” the movie that put Woody Allen on the map as a film maker in the late 70’s early 80’s. Has the 4 time Oscar winning glow faded from this movie or does it still hold up to today’s society? Next up we jump to the present to see the knock down drag out dramatically charged brawler “Warrior” Did Steve enjoy it for more than just Tom Hardy? Or did this one suffer a one punch knockout in the first round? Finally we slide into the not so distant future and look at “Dream House” the upcoming thriller starring Daniel Craig. Is this one a must see? Join us for all that plus some quick thoughts on Siamese butt twins! Netflix and Qwikster on this reel of COL Movies! “What we have here is a dead shark”!

News:

The Past: Annie Hall 1977

Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh 92% Audience

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton

Trivia:

  • Alvy’s (Woody Allen’s) sneezing into the cocaine was an unscripted accident. When previewed, the audience laughed so loud that director Allen decided to leave it in, and had to add footage to compensate for people missing the next few jokes from laughing too much.
  • Woody Allen originally envisioned this movie as a murder mystery, with a subplot about a romance. During script revisions, Allen decided to drop the murder plot, which he and Marshall Brickman later revitalized in Manhattan Murder Mystery.
  • During the lobster-cooking scene Annie runs and retrieves a camera to take pictures of Alvy dealing with the crustaceans. Later, when Alvy runs over to Annie’s house to smash a spider, the series of photos Annie took is on the wall in the background.
  • Diane Keaton’s real name is Diane Hall and her nickname is Annie.
  • Sigourney Weaver’s screen debut, in a non-speaking part as Alvy’s date near the end of the movie.
  • The jokes that Woody Allen tells in front of the audience at the University of Wisconsin and on The Dick Cavett Show are from his stand-up comic days.
  • Annie’s outfits, which caused a brief fashion rage, were Diane Keaton’s own clothes.
  • In the scene where Alvy questions people on the street about what makes a relationship, a large crowd can be seen in the background watching the filming.
  • Ben Stiller comments how he likes the scene when Alvy has to meet Annie’s family in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies: America’s Greatest Movies and how it relates to him personally because he always was very apprehensive meeting his girlfriends’ parents. Stiller starred in Meet the Parents, which revolved around that very idea.
  • The film’s working title was “Anhedonia” – the inability to feel pleasure. United Artists fought against it (among other things, they were unable to come up with an ad campaign that explained the meaning of the word) and Woody Allen compromised on naming the film after the central character three weeks before the film’s premiere. Other titles suggested were “It Had to Be Jew”, “A Rollercoaster Named Desire”, and “Me and My Goy”.
  • “That was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing” is a reference to the quote by H.L. Mencken in 1942 (and later Humphrey Bogart).
  • The first rough cut ran 2 hours and 20 minutes. Among the scenes later eliminated were: segments showing Alvy’s former classmates in the present day; Alvy as a teenager; a scene in a junk-food restaurant (featuring Danny Aiello); extensive additional scenes featuring Carol Kane, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst and Shelley Duvall; and a fantasy segment at Madison Square Garden featuring the New York Knicks competing against a team of five great philosophers. Christopher Walken’s driving scene was also cut, but was restored a week before the film was completed. New material for the ending was filmed on three occasions, but most was discarded. The final montage was a late addition.
  • One scene cut from the film is a fantasy sequence of Annie and Alvy visiting hell. This scene was rewritten 20 years later for Allen’s Deconstructing Harry.
  • Marshall McLuhan was not Allen’s first choice. Federico Fellini and Luis Buñuel were asked first.
  • Alvy never says “I love you” to Annie. The closest he comes is when Alvy says love isn’t a strong enough word for how he feels.
  • During the classroom flashbacks, one of the teachers writes, “Tuesday, December 1” on the chalkboard. December 1 is Woody Allen’s birthday, and Tuesday December 1, 1942 was his seventh birthday, tying in with the school setting.
  • On Late Night with Conan O’Brien (28 February 1995), Harvey Fierstein revealed that both he and Danny Aiello had bit parts in this classic, but their scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
  • Woody Allen originally filmed a scene in which a traffic advisory sign “urges” Alvy to go to Annie in California. Editor Ralph Rosenblum wrote that Allen was so disgusted by the scene’s cuteness that he took the footage and threw it into the East River. The traffic-sign motif was later used in Steve Martin’s L.A. Story.
  • The passerby Alvy refers to as “the winner of the Truman Capote look-alike contest” is in fact Truman Capote, who appears uncredited.
  • June 2008 Ranked #2 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Romantic Comedy”.
  • The movie’s line “Hey, don’t knock masturbation – it’s sex with someone I love!” was voted as the #78 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
  • Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time” in 2006.
  • An early appearance by Jeff Goldblum playing the party guest who “forgot his mantra”.
  • At 93 minutes, it is the second shortest film to win the Best Picture Oscar. The shortest film to win the Best Picture Oscar is Marty at 91 minutes.
  • The house under the rollercoaster where Alvy grew up is actually the Kensington Hotel in Coney Island, Brooklyn which was located underneath the Thunderbolt rollercoaster. Allen discovered it while searching locations during filming. The hotel and rollercoaster were demolished in 2000.
  • Average shot length: 14.5 seconds
  • Kay Lenz was offered the title role but her boyfriend David Cassidy made the offer turned down.
  • Shelley Hack’s film debut.
  • Shelley Duvall filmed her scenes in two days.
  • Alvy makes a joke about the political magazines Dissent and Commentary merging to form “Dysentery.” Dissent is a famous liberal magazine and Commentary is a famous conservative magazine.
  • The phrase “La Dee Dah” used often by Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), who grew up in the 1950s, was the title of a 1958 R n R standard – #9 US Pop, by Billy and Lillie and popular on “the oldie’s circuit” at the time of this film’s release.
  • The scene where Alvey and Annie are making up stories about people in the park is reminiscent of the Paul Simon song “America”. “Laughing on the bus/Playing games with the faces/She said the man in the gabardine suite was a spy/I said his bow tie is really a camera”. Paul Simon plays Tony Lacey in the film.
  • In the lobster scene in the kitchen, the door to the oven in the corner cannot possibly be opened.
  • The movie theater line-up scene is done on a long take. The shot starts when the man behind Alvy starts speaking.
  • Though based primarily on Woody Allen’s real-life relationship with Diane Keaton, the fact that Annie Hall comes from Chippewa Falls, Wisc. likely was inspired by Allen’s past relationship with folk singer Judy Henske, who was born in Chippea Falls, while Keaton was born in Los Angeles.

Talking Points:

  • Won Best Picture, Best Actress,Best Director, Best Writing at the 1978 Oscars.
  • Did you feel the movie still speaks true about some relationships? i.e. does it hold up to today?
  • Techniques used in filming/storytelling…breaking the fourth wall…omniscient extras..animation use of extremely long shots

What We’ve Learned:

  • The universe is expanding, One day it will break apart and that will be the end of everything
  • It’s ok to be a bigot..as long as your on the left
  • Politicians are a notch below child molester
  • Life is divided into the two categories the horrible and the miserable.
  • Don’t take any college course that makes you read Beowulf
  • A relationship is like a shark.. it has to constantly move forward or it dies.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I think this movie was too clever for me. I didn’t really laugh at all, maybe a heh, here or there but just didn’t get me. Brilliantly put together and acted and everything, it just came off as meh to me. I probably won’t ever watch this movie again.
Ray: I think this is a still relevant, witty look at relationships and how they can evolve or devolve. Mostly holds up to the test of time. If your a Woody fan… and haven’t seen this one you should be ashamed.
Steve: I’m not totally a fan of Woody Allen’s comedy…sometimes he says his punchlines too quickly for me, so I lose focus. However, it is a cute movie…I like the “dreams” he has – they added a lot. And my favorite quote from the movie was “I’m into leather” by the little girl. HEE HEE!

The Present: Warrior
Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Fresh, 93% Audience

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Starring: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton

Trivia:

  • When the announcer is quoting Koba’s credentials, he states that he is an Olympic Gold medalist in wrestling. Kurt Angle, the actor playing Koba, won two gold medals in the 1996 Olympics in wrestling.
  • Co-writers Anthony Tambakis and Gavin O’Connor were introduced by comedian Bryan Callen, who plays himself in the movie alongside writer Sam Sheridan. Callen dated director Patty Jenkins for 9 years. She is now married to Sheridan.
  • The role of the promoter, played by director Gavin O’Connor, was originally written for TapouT founder Charles “Mask” Lewis. Lewis was killed by a drunk driver just before shooting began. O’Connor spoke at Lewis’ memorial service on April 14, 2009, six days before principal photography began. The film is dedicated to him.
  • The role of Paddy was written for Nick Nolte by Anthony Tambakis and Gavin O’Connor, who is neighbors with the actor in Malibu. The studio was resistant to casting Nolte, but the writers held firm and Nolte’s portrayal has won him universal critical praise.
  • Anthony Tambakis and Gavin O’Connor selected The National song “About Today” to close the movie before writing the final scene. The scene was written with the song playing on a continual loop at O’Connor’s house while the writers worked.
  • Joel Edgerton tore his MCL in the cage during production, halting fight scenes for six weeks. Tom Hardy suffered a broken toe, broken ribs, and a broken finger.
  • Frank Grillo based his character on famed MMA trainer Greg Jackson. Grillo and Joel Edgerton trained and lived with Jackson at his New Mexico gym during pre-production. All of Grillo’s fight scene dialogue while “cornering” Edgerton was suggested by Jackson.
  • The original script location for the Conlon family was Long Beach, CA. It was moved to Pittsburgh due to Pennsylvania tax breaks. The scenes set at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City were originally written for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Gavin O’Connor moved the action to New Jersey to fit with the gritty east coast aesthetic of the film.
  • Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle played the Russian fighter “Koba,” whose nickname was taken from the moniker given to ‘Josef Stalin’. In the original script, “Koba” was named “King Kong,” but it was changed for legal reasons. The brother of Gavin O’Connor’s assistant, Samantha Ellison, suggested the name “Koba.”
  • The location for the scenes in Iraq was actually an abandoned parking lot on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, dressed to look like the desert by Production Designer Dan Leigh.
  • Instead of going to his hotel after his flight from England, Tom Hardy appeared at director Gavin O’Connor’s door at midnight the evening before his audition. The pair ended up living together for five days.
  • While filming in Pittsburgh, Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Frank Grillo all lived together at the Cork Factory Lofts.
  • On the first day of shooting, the crew gave Nick Nolte a standing ovation after the first take of a scene shot at a local diner. The scene was later cut but appears as a DVD extra.
  • Writer Anthony Tambakis portrays a fight official in the film, and Gavin O’Connor plays the fight promoter. O’Connor agreed to play J.J. Riley only after his friend and co-writer Tambakis agreed to make a cameo himself.
  • An alternate opening shot at Moundsville State Prison in West Virginia and featuring Tom Hardy’s character cage-fighting in jail, was cut from the film.
  • One of the commentator’s references Kurt Angle’s character, Koba, as being a World Sambo Champion. Sambo is a martial art known for leg locks – Angle employed an ankle lock as a signature move during his wrestling career.

Talking Points:

  • Some people say this movie was a total cliche? agree?
  • Why is it not doing better in the box office?
  • Was this what you expected it to be? Comparison to “The Fighter”
  • MMA / Newscasts feel too commercial like?
  • Performances.
  • Who were you rooting for?

What We Learned:

  • It’s hard to find a girl who can take a punch these days
  • The Dude has 3 Laws
  • If you don’t move..you die.
  • The Tank don’t hit back

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: “Hello? Oh, Hi Tom. What? Your performance? Okay, yeah, thanks. I appreciate it. Wish you could be here.” Wait for the DVD.
Ray: I really liked this movie, a lot! I thought the story was engaging.. and the performances were top notch! Go see this one!
Steve: I liked it a lot more than I thought I would…and not just for Tom Hardy’s traps! Although he seemed to be channeling Sylvester Stallone, I felt the other performances were solid. Is it the best movie ever, no…but I was pulled in an just enjoyed it. Even found myself really getting into the fights because they were filmed so realistically, just like watching UFC. Still confused about Kurt Angle being the big bad Russian though.

The Future: Dream House

Director: Jim Sheridan

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts

Summary:

Daniel Craig is set to play a successful publishing executive who quits his job in New York City to relocate his family and two daughters to a beautiful house in a small New England town. They soon learn their home was once the murder scene of a mother and her children, believed to be at the hands of the husband who survived.

Trivia:

  • Christian Bale and Brad Pitt were considered for the role of Will.
  • Erik Van Looy was originally set to direct.
  • Jim Sheridan (the director) supposedly lost control over the movie by the studio and was not pleased with the final result. Stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz were not pleased either, threatening to not make press rounds for it.

Talking Points:

  • Above Trivia Item..
  • Did they give too much away in the trailer?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Meh, it’s just another one of those Paranormal Activity/Insidious Movies with it’s own little twist but I’ve seen this before. Love you Daniel Craig, but I think I’d like to pass.
Ray: Somewhat Intrigued.. but feel the trailer is showing me everything in the movie.
Steve: Seems like just another haunted house/Grudge/People Under The Stairs/Sixth Sense kinda movie with high production value. I feel like we’re going to find out they’re already dead and Naomi Watts is a psychic telling them to move on. I would like to think it will be something unique. I’d go see.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV070: “You may know kung fu… but you’re still a fairy.”

The boys head back in time to do a little Axe-Kicking with Stephen Chow’s “Kung Fu Hustle”. After watching the town defend themselves by beating up on some bad guys, it was time to head to the theater to see Zoe Saldana do some of her own ass-kicking as a killer for hire in “Colombiana”. In the end, they check out the trailer for Guy Ritchie’s 2nd offering from his series, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”. In news, they chat about “Source Code” becoming a CBS series, what it may be like not to have Ash in Evil Dead, follow-up on some recent Facebook posts, and chat about Time Out London’s Top 100 Comedies of All Time! In intermission, it’s time to really talk about the impact Netflix’s decision to hike up prices may have had on the company. It’s the 70th, yup…70th Reel of COL Movies where “You may know Kung Fu, but you’re still a fairy!”

News:

The Past: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh 86% Audience

Director: Stephen Chow

Starring: Stephen Chow, Wah Yuen and Qiu Yuen

Trivia:

  • Surpassed Siu lam juk kau (Shaolin Soccer) in February 2005 to become the highest-grossing Hong Kong-made movie in Hong Kong.
  • As of 2005, this film had the widest cinematic release in the USA of a foreign language film.
  • Three scenes are not directed by Stephen Chow. One, the fight that reveals the three Pig Stye Masters, is directed by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo. The “Burly Brawl” parody where the One fights the thousand men in black suits, and the fight in the night, where the three masters face the two musicians were directed by Woo-ping Yuen.
  • Most of the names of the superpowers in the film are taken from the pulp novels of Louis Cha, a household name in Hong Kong often compared to Alexandre Dumas père and credited with the invention of modern martial arts swashbucklers.
  • The name “Pig Sty Alley” (Zhu Long Cheng Zhai) is a play on the Chinese name for the Walled City of Kowloon (Jiu Long Cheng Zhai), a Chinese ex-clave in Hong Kong for much of the 20th Century, and well-known as a breeding ground of crime, slums and disorder. It was torn down in 1993.
  • The literal translation of the name of “The Beast” is in fact “Dark God of the Fire Clouds”. The name was first used by the writer ‘Liu Canyang’ in his novels in the 50s and 60s, where his character was originally his protagonist’s mentor. Comparatively lax copyright laws in Hong Kong and the menacing sound of the name have since however, caused the name to be appropriated in many other films, novels and comics.
  • Bruce Lee Tribute: When the Landlady is seated between the Boss and his assistant, she faces the boss, and mimics the gestures Bruce Lee used while also facing a crime boss in Return of the Dragon. She wags her finger at him, then closes both fists, then just the right (while knuckles cracking can be heard), she jerks her head up, and the boss nods he understands, then she thumbs her nose, exactly like Bruce Lee.
  • The names of the Landlord and Landlady that they announce to the Beast are “Yang Guo” and “The Little Dragon Maiden” in the original Chinese, which is a joke nod to Louis Cha’s famous novel “Return of the Condor Heroes” that has been adapted many times for television and film. Part of the joke is that unlike the Landlord, the original Yang Guo was a handsome youth, and unlike the Landlady, the original “Little Dragon Maiden” was a beautiful, rarefied young woman.

Talking Points:

  • Kung Fu movie style…does this count?
  • Was it supposed to be funny?

What We’ve Learned:

  • The lion’s roar kinda rocks.
  • The “fat lady” isn’t really that fat in American culture.
  • Where can I get me one of those Bhuddist Palm manuals?

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: A comedy of martial arts awesomeness. If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out.
Ray: The humor is lost on me. I don’t really get it. It makes me smile, but I don’t find much of it funny. I can’t personally recommend it.
Steve: Enjoyable…if you like the genre, it’s fun. Don’t expect it to be a serious kung fu movie – more of a spoof by the people who know how to make kung fu movies well.

Intermission:
Higher Netflix prices equals fewer subscribers

Horror show: Netflix losing more customers than expected on price hike, stock plunges 19 pct

The Present: Colombiana
Rotten Tomatoes: 28% Rotten 59% Audience

Director: Olivier Megaton

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan and Callum Blue

Trivia:

  • The film has been criticized for stereotyping the Colombian culture, the president of the non-profit group PorColombia, Carlos Macias, depicting it as a proof of a “total lack of creativity” of “Hollywood”.
  • Several groups have rejected the film on the basis of the hypothesis that it was of a defamatory nature, changing the film’s slogan from “Vengeance is beautiful” to “Colombia is Beautiful”.
  • Filming began around August 20, 2010 in locations including Chicago, New Orleans, and Mexico.
  • The film was produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp company and the script was written by Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.
  • Colombiana debuted in second place in its first week at the U.S. box office with $10,408,176 behind The Help. It stayed #2 until August 31, 2011, when it went down to #3 behind The Help and The Debt.
  • The film itself was not screened to most critics in advance of its release until the day before its release, preventing opening day print reviews, but nevertheless, some critics reviewed the film.

Talking Points:

  • Controversy.
  • Did Zoe do well as an action star?

What We Learned:

  • Smart Girls always get what they want
  • Chicago’s not just down the street
  • Always make sure your shark tank is secure.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Kind of a fun movie but didn’t feel theater worthy to me. Wait for the DVD.
Ray: I had high hopes for it, but it just sort of fell flat. I would recommend waiting for Netflix or Redbox.
Steve: It was a decent movie. Nothing truly original about it – mostly just rehashings of other similar movies. However, Zoe did well and it was enjoyable to watch.

The Future: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

Director: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris

Summary:

Sherlock Holmes and his longtime trusted associate, Dr. John Watson, take on Professor Moriarty, with the help of Holmes’s older brother Mycroft Holmes and a Romani woman named Sim.

Trivia:

  • Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn and Javier Bardem were considered to play Moriarty.
  • Both Robert Downey Jr. (Holmes) and Jared Harris (Moriarty) had acted in the Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers.
  • Robert Morley and Stephen Fry have both played Oscar Wilde and Mycroft Holmes. In the Gyles Brandreth books where Oscar is a detective, his friend Conan Doyle states that Oscar was the inspiration for Mycroft.
  • Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou, Penélope Cruz, Juliette Binoche, Virginie Ledoyen, Eva Green, Marion Cotillard and Cécile De France were considered to play Sim before Noomi Rapace was cast.
  • Leslie S. Klinger, author of “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and a consultant on this film, said in an interview that he suggested “Sherlock Holmes: The Grand Game” as a title.
  • Stephen Fry (Mycroft) and Jared Harris (Moriarty) share the same birthday.

Talking Points:

  • Bullet time? really?
  • The actors didn’t seem to fit in the first movie. Will it be any better in #2?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: SOLD!
Ray: I can’t say I’m excited for it. The first one put me to sleep, literally.
Steve: Eh. Still haven’t seen the original. This doesn’t make me want to see it or this one, in particular. Rather spend my money on something else.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV068: “I Doubt Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion”

It’s an eventful 68th reel, as Steven’s on the road and Ray is out of power! Of course, Jeff is all comfy at home…boring! Anyway…let’s get to the “reel” (get it?) reason we’re here! The boys head back in time to hang out with a super-young and super-cute Jake Gyllenhaal, as he comes to terms with himself (no…not in that way!) in “Donnie Darko”. They head to the theater to see the ever-fabulous Helen Mirren playing a Nazi-hunter in “The Debt”, then check out the trailer for “Martha Marcy May Marlene” – an October release about a young woman escaping from a cult. It’s a very thought provoking week here at COL Movies…but even though…“I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion!”

News:

  • No news this week!

The Past: Donnie Darko (2001)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh, 77% Audience

Director: Richard Kelly

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swaze, Noah Wyle

Trivia:

  • Richard Kelly said that the movie had a very difficult time finding a US distributor. Since the film embodied myriad genres and tones, distributors were confused by the movie’s message, and how to market it. Additionally, Kelly also claims that “Darko” was very close to premiering on the Starz network until Newmarket Films picked up the film for theatrical distribution.
  • Despite persistent rumors, Richard Kelly insists that none of the characters in this film are based upon USC teachers or students.
  • Someone at the house party jumps on a trampoline, wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. This is taken from a photo of Hunter S. Thompson doing the same.
  • During conversations about sex with his therapist, the script had Donnie’s fantasies be about Alyssa Milano. This had to be changed to Christina Applegate due to legal reasons.
  • In the movie theater scene, Richard Kelly originally intended to have Donnie and Gretchen going to see C.H.U.D.. However, there were problems with finding out who owned the rights to the movie. Finally, Sam Raimi came to the rescue by allowing Kelly to use and distort footage from The Evil Dead, free of charge. This scene was filmed at The Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. The Aero closed in 2003 but re-opened in early 2005.
  • Noah Wyle’s character, Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff, is seen eating hard candy in some scenes because Wyle decided his character would be diabetic.
  • The black-and-white poster in Donnie’s room, of an eye reflecting a skull, is a reproduction of an etching by the artist M.C. Escher.
  • EASTER EGG: The DVD contains several Easter Eggs, or hidden items. Two are visible in the “Philosophy of Time Travel” book in the Special Features. On each of the appendix pages, press the up arrow on your remote and press enter. For Appendix A, the viewer gets a deleted scene about the flooding of the school, and Appendix B, the viewer gets a different trailer for the movie. Another can be found after selecting the “Cunning Visions” menu screen. At the bottom of the screen, highlight the Special Features menu entry, press the right arrow on your remote to highlight the icon, and press enter. This will allow you to enter a Web site gallery.
  • The original poster art for the movie had used an Arabic-style font, but this was changed to the more common Trajan typeface for the video release after the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001. However, the font retains its original style in the film itself.
  • The first edit of the film ran 165 minutes. The director’s cut is very close to the version that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2001.
  • The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: “Not until 8th grade.” Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham’s house was extinguished “sometime after 8:00 last night.” The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 11/08/88. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US$5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director’s cut of this film.
  • The scene where Donnie corrects Gretchen was improvised because the actress could not say the name Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff, correctly.
  • According to the commentary by Richard Kelly, the Man in the Red Jogging Suit is an agent from the FAA, which was so confused by the jet engine event that they sent agents to monitor the family members. The Mystery Woman, seen during Sparkle Motion’s talent show performance, was a talent scout from Star Search.
  • Voted number five in the list of Australia’s 10 favorite movies.
  • When Donnie tells Gretchen he accidentally burned down a house, they are walking directly in front of Jim Cunningham’s house. The Life Line Exercise Card that Donnie reads is about a girl finding a lost wallet. Later, Donnie finds Jim Cunningham’s wallet on the sidewalk outside his mansion.
  • In the “Cunning Visions” infomercial, Jim Cunningham pats a child on his behind. The young boy who wants to learn how to fight at the school assembly is the same boy in Jim Cunningham’s infomercial (Larry Riesman).
  • Voted #9 in Film4’s ’50 Films To See Before You Die’
  • The main bully is named Seth Devlin, which sounds like devil. A sticker inside his locker reads: “What would Satan do?”
  • Adapted by director Marcus Stern into a live stage production that was produced in October and November 2007 by the American Repertory Theatre’s Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Some songs featured in the movie were substitutes for songs which the makers wanted but were denied the rights to. The dance performance was performed to “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe), and Duran Duran’s “Notorious” was re-dubbed in post-production. U2’s “MLK” in the final scene is substituted Gary Jules’ cover of the Tears for Fears song “Mad World” instead.
  • When casting for the role of Donnie’s sister, it came to Richard Kelly’s attention that Maggie Gyllenhaal (who had few film credits at the time) would be available for the shoot. The agent who proposed her casting reminded Kelly of her scene in Cecil B. DeMented, where she drank urine. Though Kelly was slightly hesitant towards the idea, he did like the way she drank urine – and knew he wouldn’t have to work hard at creating a sibling rivalry between her and her brother, star Jake Gyllenhaal.
  • The song that plays as Donnie is riding his bike home in the theatrical version is “The Killing Moon” by Echo & The Bunnymen. As Gretchen waits for the school bus, a Volkswagen Rabbit vehicle quickly passes in front of her. When Elizabeth Darko is sleeping on the recliner, there is a stuffed rabbit next to her. As Donnie reaches for the car keys, there is a Polaroid picture of him and his sister in Halloween costumes on the desk. Donnie is dressed as a rabbit. When Donnie is talking to his sister after his mom leaves near the end, a “jack o lantern” bunny is seen on the table. Frank, the rabbit, often appears near a water source (sprinklers, water main, faucet).
  • The words “Cellar Door” are written on the chalkboard in Karen Pommeroy’s classroom. When Donnie asks about their meaning, she replies that “This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful.” In the director’s commentary Richard Kelly mistakenly attributes the phrase to Edgar Allan Poe, but it was actually J.R.R. Tolkien who, in his 1955 essay “English and Welsh”, said that “Most English-speaking people . . . will admit that cellar door is ‘beautiful’, especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful.”
  • Newmarket Films, the movie’s US distributor, approached Richard Kelly about doing a director’s cut. He accepted the offer and did the re-edit with editor Sam Bauer in a swift nine days.
  • Well out of his teens, Vince Vaughn reportedly turned down the part of Donnie due to his age. Mark Wahlberg was interested in the part, but apparently was only willing to play the part with a lisp. Jason Schwartzman was also strongly considered for Donnie, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Tim Robbins was the first choice for the role of Eddie Darko.
  • Drew Barrymore’s character Karen Pomeroy is named for sex researcher Wardell Pomeroy of the Kinsey Institute.
  • Seth Rogen’s feature film debut.
  • Richard Kelly grew up in Midlothian, VA. This was used in one of the original scripts, but was later changed to Middlesex, VA.
  • There are many comic book references that show up through the film. Gretchen comments on Donnie’s name as sounding like a superhero, to which he replies “What makes you think I’m not?” Many characters have alliterative names (Donnie Darko, Cherita Chen, Frankie Feedler, Daye Dennis, Joanie James, Sean Smith, Donnie Dickson) like many comic book heroes (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Susan Storm etc.). Also, it is believed that Donnie is a superhero, as he has powers and he uses them to save others.
  • The short story ‘The Destructors’ (which Karen Pomeroy discusses in her class that seemingly parallels the events occurring at the time in the “real” world, and was discussed as inappropriate at the PTA meeting ultimately leading to Pomeroy’s dismissal) was written by Graham Greene. Graham Greene’s birthday is October 2nd (1904). October 2nd, 1988 is the day Frank the Bunny tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.
  • At the start of the movie, when Donnie rides his bicycle back into town, right after he passes the two ladies out “powerwalking”, its actually Frank passing by in his red Trans Am.
  • Frank says the world will end in “28 days 6 hours 42 minutes 12 seconds.” That figure is not random: it comes from adding or subtracting 1 from each part of the figure 27d 7h 43m 11s, which is the precise length of one lunar month (by one of the less-used definitions – sidereal instead of the usual synodic).
  • When Donnie’s mother asks Kitty if she has heard of Graham Greene, she replies that she has, since she’s seen “Bonanza”. However, Kitty is getting him confused with Lorne Greene, who appeared in the series. There is also a native Canadian actor, Graham Greene who has appeared in many films portraying native Americans including “Dances with Wolves”. Graham Greene, the author, had many of his books adapted for films, including, “The Quiet American” (twice), “Brighton Rock” and “Our Man in Havana”.
  • Jim Cunningham depicts drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex as “instruments of fear.” In the movie, Donnie smokes a cigarette, drinks alcohol, and engages in premarital sex. The climax of the movie occurs after he surrenders to all three temptations.
  • Jim Cunningham ends “Cunning Visions” with his lifespan; 1944-1988. “Philosophy of Time Travel”, by Roberta Sparrow was published in 1944.
  • Early in the film when Donnie is riding his bike home, he passes Frank’s car traveling in the opposite direction. This car later kills Gretchen, prompting Donnie to shoot Frank in the right eye (which Donnie had also stabbed through the water-mirror). Soon after, when time is “reset” and everybody wakes up to the Mad World song, Frank is wiping a tear from this eye.
  • Judging by what is seen and heard of The Evil Dead in the movie theater scenes, it takes the better part of an hour for Donnie to go from the movie theater to Jim Cunningham’s house, start the fire, and go back to the theater, just in time to catch the end of the film (listen for Bruce Campbell’s scream).

Talking Points:

  • Was this the first movie you can think of to sort of have….viral marketing (for its home video release)
  • Time travel… real or just the imaginings of a psychotic kid?
  • Anyone think it was an odd choice to set this move at the end of the 80’s?

What We’ve Learned:

  • When you’re famous, you gotta have a cigarette
  • Destruction is a form of creation
  • Soap is apparently the greatest invention of mankind
  • Smurfs are asexual
  • Cellar Door is the most beautiful phrase in the English language
  • Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Crazy Bizarre movie which is worth seeing once. Maybe seeing the regular one and the directors cut and trying to see the differences.
Ray: This movie kinda broke my brain when I first saw it. It still holds some fascination after repeat viewings. If you like sort of smart, very bizarre subject matter.. this is for you.
Steve: Hurts my head. But worth seeing with people who like wacky movies. Definitely a “let’s discuss” type movie rather than to pop in at a party.

The Present: The Debt
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Fresh, 70% Audience

Director: John Madden

Starring: Helen Mirren/Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkenson/Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds/Sam Worthington, Jesper Christensen

Trivia:

  • Originally scheduled for a December 2010 release, the release was rescheduled to August 31, 2011.
  • The 2010 American version is based on the 2007 Israeli movie of the same name (Ha-Hov or HaChov, in Hebrew). It was directed by Assaf Bernstein, and co-written by Bernstein and Ido Rosenblum. It was released in Israel November 29, 2007.
  • The central character of Rachel Berner was played by Gila Almagor (1990s “present day” scenes) and Neta Garty (in flashbacks to the 1960s).
  • The Israeli film was never released to theaters in the United States, although it aired on American television on the Sundance Channel in October 2010.
  • Before the official December 29, 2010, U.S. premiere, it was shown December 4, 2010, as part of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival.
  • The film was one of two films that had their official opening dates delayed until 2011 as a result of a “transaction between [Miramax] owner Disney and soon-to-be new owners, construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula).”
  • Israeli papers reported that Helen Mirren was “immersing herself” in studies of the Hebrew language, Jewish history, and Holocaust writings, including the life of Simon Wiesenthal, while spending time in Israel in 2009 to film scenes in the movie. My character is carrying the memory, anger and passion of [the Holocaust],” she has said.

Talking Points:

  • Was it what you expected?
  • Pacing
  • Sam Worthington… acting or no?
  • Matching of Older to younger actors..
  • Sound
  • Word of warning before seeing this movie…be prepared for Hitler atrocities

What We Learned:

  • Never argue with an armed woman
  • You are supposed to pursue your goals in your 20’s
  • Always ALWAYS have your papers ready
  • God doesn’t plant car bombs

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I was expecting more action in this movie but got something different. The balance of going from the past to the present was a little weird but worked well.
Ray: While sort of predictable, I enjoyed this movie. I went in expecting a plodding political movie, and got a well paced political thriller.
Steve: Enjoyed it, even though it was so predictable. Thought the acting was very good! Helen Mirren…that’s enough to get me there.

The Future: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Director: Sean Durkin

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes

Summary:
The film focuses on Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), a young woman who flees from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains that is led by an enigmatic leader, Patrick (John Hawkes). Lucy (Sarah Paulson), Martha’s older sister, receives a call from a pay phone one day from Martha, asking her to come and get her. Martha, who has been missing for months, slowly begins to assimilate into her sister’s family, but her increasing paranoia leads her to believe that Patrick and his cult may still be watching her every move.

Trivia:
It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January, with Durkin winning the festival’s U.S. Directing Award for Best Drama. It also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
The film is set for a limited release in the United States on October 7, 2011.

Talking Points:

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Another psychological thriller. Just another psychological thriller.
Ray: I hope it’s a good psychological thriller. I’m all for movies that mess with your brain.
Steve: I don’t get it. But the synopsis makes it sound like it would be something I’d be interested in watching at home.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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